The Rams and Seahawks were regarded as the two most popular teams in their markets before the season began. Many people anticipated that the Rams would struggle in the absence of their popular former quarterback, Sam Bradford. He had started every game for the Rams since the 2013 season and was their all-time passing leader. In Week 1, Bradford suffered a season-ending injury in the first half against a tough Kansas City team. Before his injury, Bradford had completed 29 of 38 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns.
This didn’t stop betting interest. Before the season began, the over/under for the Rams was set at 7.5 wins a season. However, after Bradford’s injury, oddsmakers adjusted his win total to 8.5. This year’s win total was adjusted to 7.5 before the start of the season.
How Much Did The Rams Win Expected Vs. Realistic?
According to FootballOutsiders’ win probability calculator, we can see that, before Bradford’s injury, the Rams were expected to go 7-9 and win 48% of their games. After his injury, that number fell to 5-11 and 41%.
The most realistic outcome for the Rams, based on their talent level, was a 6-10 record with 38% odds of winning. Even at those odds, this still seems like a generous projection given the circumstances. This number could still end up being very optimistic if Bradford regresses to his pre-injury form.
How Much Did The Seahawks Win Expected Vs. Realistic?
Similar to the Rams, the Seahawks were also expected to make a lot of noise in the NFC this year. With a new found appreciation for defensive football under new head coach, Pete Carroll, Carroll’s charges were set to bring their talent and new approach to a fan-friendly, Seattle-based team. The question becomes: did they live up to expectations?
According to FootballOutsiders’ win probability calculator, the Seahawks were expected to go 6-10 and win 46% of their games. This was actually a little bit better than before the season began, as their win total was adjusted down from 7.5 to 6.5. This number also takes into account their improved defense in 2018, which should boost their win total heading into 2019.
However, the most realistic projection for the Seahawks is 5-11. This is mainly due to the improved play of their divisional rivals, the Rams. The Seahawks’ divisional rivals improved as well, which took a little bit of the sting out of the blow to their win total. Despite all that, the Seahawks are still regarded as one of the best teams in the NFC and proved that with their 34-30 win in Week 1. Even against a very average Cardinals team, this was one of the more entertaining games of the year. The question is: will this continue in 2019?
What Does This Mean For NFL Odds?
It’s fair to say that both the Rams and the Seahawks disappointed some people by not living up to their pre-season billing. According to oddsmakers, this disappointment had a domino effect on the rest of the NFL, as the under became favored in almost every game. For example, before the season began, the over/under for the 2019 season was set at 6.5 wins per team. After Bradford’s injury, this number fell to 4.5. With the exception of two games, the under has been the favored side in every game.
Looking at FootballOutsiders’ win probability chart, we can see that the most notable underdog wins were: