2015-16 NFC West Preview

NFC West

This is the first of eight division previews for the 2015-16 NFL season.  Unlike other NFL previews, I won’t be looking at key free agency acquisitions or projecting new draft picks’ impact on their new teams.  These previews are strictly going to be based on numbers.

If you are interested in the mathematical details, head over to our new community to discuss, but I’ll spare most of you the gory details.  Here is what you need to know: Given the strength of all 32 NFL teams, I simulated the upcoming NFL season 10,000 times and tracked the results.

Let’s first take a look at the defending NFC Champion Seahawks:

2014 Record: 12-4  |  Home Games: CHI, DET, CLE, PIT, CAR  |  Away Games: GB, MIN, BAL, CIN, DAL

seahawks

The most common result for Seattle is an 11-5 season which happened in 21.8% of simulations.  Out of 10,000 simulations, the Seahawks’ worst result was a 4-12 season (3 times) while their best result was an undefeated season (11 times).  While the narrative is that the team that loses in the Super Bowl suffers from a “hangover”, the data expects Seattle to be back in title contention next season.

We can also use the simulation results to compare to season win totals:

Seahawks O/UOver %Under %Implied Odds
10.5 wins58.7%41.3%-142 / +142
11 wins36.9%41.3%+112 / -112
11.5 wins36.9%63.1%+171 / -171

If you were to bet Over 11 wins, you would want to get a line of +112 or better.  If you were to bet Over 10.5 wins, you would want to get a line of -142 or better to have a positive expected value.

 

Next up are the Arizona Cardinals:

2014 Record: 11-5  |  Home Games: GB, MIN, BAL, CIN, NO  |  Away Games: CHI, DET, CLE, PIT, PHI

cardinals

The most common result for the Cardinals is a middling 8-8 or 9-7 season which both happened in 19.8% of simulations.  The Cardinals are an above-average team (especially if they don’t have to use 7 quarterbacks) but they play a tough schedule which limits their opportunities to make a playoff run.

 

Cardinals O/UOver %Under %Implied Odds
8 wins48.3%31.9%-151 / +151
8.5 wins48.3%51.7%+107 / -107
9 wins28.5%51.7%+181 / -181

Next up are the Los Angeles St. Louis Rams:

2014 Record: 6-10  |  Home Games: CHI, DET, CLE, PIT, TB  |  Away Games: GB, MIN, BAL, CIN, WAS

rams

Nearly a perfect bell curve with 7-9 landing right in the middle as the most likely result.  The Rams don’t have a lot of upside but are unlikely to be terrible as well.  St. Louis ended with 11+ wins in only 3.8% of simulations which is likely what it would take to secure a playoff spot in the NFC.  Looks like another middling season in what could be the Rams’ last in the Midwest.

 

Rams O/UOver %Under %Implied Odds
7.5 wins43.0%57.0%+133 / -133
8 wins24.3%57.0%+235 / -235
8.5 wins24.3%75.7%+312 / -312

While the other Over/Under tables didn’t provide much value thus far, Rams Under 8 is the first bet that offers a positive expectation.

Bringing up the rear are the San Francisco 49ers:

2014 Record: 8-8  |  Home Games: GB, MIN, BAL, CIN, ATL  |  Away Games: CHI, DET, CLE, PIT, NYG

49ers

Just three seasons ago, the 49ers were in the Super Bowl.  It seems like their entire defense has retired since then.  The most likely result of 6-10 would be a disappointing season for rookie head coach Jim Tomsula. (Seriously, that’s the new coach and yes I had to google it.)  Perhaps if they were in a different division, the outlook wouldn’t be so bleak but they are stuck in the NFC West which doesn’t have a doormat to help pick up a couple of wins.

 

49ers O/UOver %Under %Implied Odds
7 wins24.3%57.3%+236 / -236
7.5 wins24.3%75.7%+312 / -312
8 wins11.4%75.7%+664 / -664

Another team that looks good to go under the total.  San Francisco appears to be a team heading in the wrong direction and 49ers Under 7.5 is another bet I will be looking into.

 

Finally, we have the divisional odds based on the simulations.  Note that if two teams tied with the same record in a simulation, then I gave them both one half of a division title and assumed that they would both win the division tiebreaker 50% of the time.

 

TeamDivision %Implied Odds
Seahawks73.7%-280
Cardinals17.2%+483
Rams6.3%+1480
49ers2.8%+3448

I appreciate you reading this far!  If you would like to discuss this post, use the button below to visit our new easy-to-use forum.  Tomorrow, I’ll post the NFC North preview. (Hint: the Packers are good.)

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