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2014 NFL Predictions

2014 National Football League Predictions
The Race to Super Bowl 49 In Arizona Is On
by Badger, Football Handicapper,

Bet your 2014 NFL futures picks at an online sportsbook where your credit card WILL work for depositing, where you know they'll be in business at season's end and where you'll get to bet on games at -105 reduced odds, not the more expensive -110 that your bookie is socking you with! ---> 5Dimes.

With NFL training camps due to start the last week of July, it's once again the time of the year to start digging through team rosters and schedules in order to try and get ideas on how the 2014 season will unfold.

This year's prize is a birth into Super Bowl 49 (Super Bowl XLIX), which will be played on February 1, 2015, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

How will the Seattle Seahawks handle the "distractions" of being the defending champions? Can Peyton Manning get the Denver Broncos back into the Super Bowl for a shot at redemption? Which team will make a breakthrough in the regular season and be the surprise of 2014? The storylines are endless, and all of us degenerates can't wait to put our money where our mouths are based on predictions on how it will all play out over the next six months.

Since there have yet to be any season-ending training camp injuries, the odds on all of the NFL proposition and futures bets are likely the best you'll find all season. So let's look across the league at the regular season win totals odds for each team. All of the odds listed are available at 5Dimes.

Arizona Cardinals
2013 Record: 10-6
2014 Season Total Wins: 7.5 (over -140/under +120)

The ARIZONA CARDINALS have to be considered one of last year's surprise teams, as the Cards took a new QB in Carson Palmer and a new coach in Bruce Arians all the way to 10 wins last year. But they won't "sneak" up on teams this year, and for Palmer to make progress in year two of the new offense he'll have to cut down on his 22 interceptions. Issues along the offensive line (former Raider Jared Veldheer was signed as a free agent to play LT, but RT and RG are up for grabs in camp) could hinder that progress. And losses at linebacker (lost Karlos Dansby in free agency, Daryl Washington year-long suspension) are going to make getting back to 10 wins a hard sell. Overall I think they get over the 7.5-win mark, but barely.

Atlanta Falcons

2013 Record: 4-12
2014 Season Total Wins: 8.5 (over +115/under -135)

Last year's ATLANTA FALCONS could also be considered a surprise team, only for all of the wrong reasons as they slid to a disastrous 4-win season. Star WR Julio Jones broke his foot, RB Steven Jackson never showed up and the Falcons completely fell apart. The good news is their collapse allowed them to draft offensive tackle Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) early in the first round to try and fix their biggest weakness. A quick rebound is certainly possible, but defensively the Falcons will have holes to fill at linebacker (Sean Weatherspoon torn Achilles) and in the secondary if they hope to contend in the NFC South again in 2014.

Baltimore Ravens

2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Season Total Wins: 8.5 (over -110/under -110)

The BALTIMORE RAVENS finished at 8-8 last season and out of the AFC playoffs for the first time in coach John Harbaugh's tenure at the helm. With issues scoring points the past few seasons, the Ravens brought in former Texans coach Gary Kubiak to be the new offensive coordinator, so learning a new system always seems to take time. With RB Ray Rice only suspended for two games, the Ravens offense should be better with another weapon opposite Torrey Smith with the addition of Steve Smith from Carolina. The defense continues to turn over talent every year, this year adding LB C.J. Mosley (Alabama) into the youth movement. Baltimore will certainly be in the NFC North race all year, but improving on an 8-win season could be a tough ride in a stacked division.

Buffalo Bills

2013 Record: 6-10
2014 Season Total Wins: 6.5 (over -160/under +140)

One of the teams that could breakthrough the chase pack and become a surprise in 2014 is the BUFFALO BILLS, providing the youngsters continue to develop in second-year coach Doug Marrone's system. The offense with QB E.J. Manuel, WRs Robert Woods and first-round draft pick Sammy Watkins and RBs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson could be a very formidable one if and when they put it all together. The defense brought in the ageless LB Brandon Spikes to roam behind its stellar defensive line, but it could depend on how many games DT Marcell Dareus is suspended for his offseason drug bust … if it's more than four games it could be a deal breaker.


Carolina Panthers

2013 Record: 12-4
2014 Season Total Wins: 8.5 (over +150/under -170)

Franchise quarterback Cam Newton and the CAROLINA PANTHERS finally broke through the hype and cashed in one of the best season's in the NFC last season with a 12-4 record and an NFC South division title. But it was one-and-done in the playoffs for the Panthers, and then they shook up the team by giving a lot of familiar faces their walking papers. Newton had offseason ankle surgery, and their top threat outside is now Jerricho Cotchery or Jason Avant … I'm not sure where or how the Panthers have improved over last season. I doubt they get to 12 wins again this year, but the over of 8.5 for +150 looks like a very nice value.

Chicago Bears

2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Season Total Wins: 8.5 (over -150/under +130)

The once Monsters of the Midway CHICAGO BEARS defense was pretty ordinary last season, so new GM Phil Emery took the Bears checkbook and went shopping in the offseason. Defensive ends Jared Allen (Minn.), Lamarr Houston (Oak.) and Willie Young (Det.) were all brought in to try and bring more pressure, and safeties Ryan Mundy (NYG), M.D. Jennings (G.B.) and Adrian Wilson (S.F.) to try and shore up a porous secondary. Alshon Jeffery's rapid accent to dangerous weapon opposite Brandon Marshall makes the Bears offense legit, so if they can get anything out of their revamped defense the chances that Chicago will contend for an NFC North title and 10-plus win season a real possibility.

Cincinnati Bengals

2013 Record: 11-5
2014 Season Total Wins: 9 (over +100/under -120)

Judging by the fact that 5Dimes is offering even money on the over wager for nine wins, oddsmakers expect the CINCINNATI BENGALS to regress a little in 2014. With running back Giovani Bernard taking over as the featured runner, I expect the Bengals offense to be improved over last year, unless free agent Marshall Newhouse (G.B.) cannot protect Andy Dalton's blindside at left tackle. Defensively, the Bengals are still strong in the front seven headlined by Carlos Dunlap, Domata Peko, Wallace Gillberry and LBs Ray Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict. Heck, the Bengals even drafted an insurance policy (Michigan St. CB Darqueze Dennard) in case CB Leon Hall can't come back from a second Achilles surgery in three seasons. They play in a very competitive AFC North, but I like the Bengals to stay at or near the top for at least another year.

Cleveland Browns

2013 Record: 4-12
2014 Season Total Wins: 6.5 (over -135/under +115)

With a new leader in Mike Pettine and a new offensive coordinator in Kyle Shanahan, there's more unknowns with the CLEVELAND BROWNS then with most NFL teams. You've got jobs up for grabs at all of the skill positions, with quarterback (Brian Hoyer/Johnny Manziel), running back (Ben Tate/Terrance West) and receiver (Miles Austin/Nate Burleson and whats the deal with Josh Gordon?) all full of question marks. The Browns will be in games because their defense should be strong, with the additions of LB Karlos Dansby (Ariz.) and SS Donte Whitner (S.F.) bolstering an already solid unit. But a rookie first rounder (Justin Gilbert, Okla. St.) at corner could be flirting with danger. With the NFC part of the schedule against the NFC South (N.O., at Car., T.B. and at Atl.), it could be a stretch that the Browns get to seven wins right away in year one of a new project.

Dallas Cowboys

2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Season Total Wins: 8 (over +155/under -175)

Once again the DALLAS COWBOYS proved they are trying to protect Tony Romo by drafting for an offensive lineman in back-to-back years, picking Notre Dames Zack Martin to play guard inside in this year's first round. But offense never has been the Cowboys issue, it's the defense that has been a roller coaster of inconsistency. Dallas signed DT Henry Melton (Chi.) and drafted Boise St.'s Demarcus Lawrence to help replace DeMarcus Ware in the trenches, but other than a (fingers crossed) return to health of former first-rounder CB Morris Claiborne to add depth in the secondary, I don't see improvement in the Cowboys and as enticing as +155 is on the over of 8 games, I'm not sure if the Cowboys can outscore teams every week and win nine.

Denver Broncos

2013 Record: 13-3
2014 Season Total Wins: 11.5 (over +110/under -130)

Training camp is only a few days old and already several of the DENVER BRONCOS players are already talking about 2014 being a "Super Bowl or Bust" season. The Broncos signed several of the offseason's "biggest names" in free agency including end Demarcus Ware (Dallas) to bring pressure opposite Von Miller, and CB Aqib Talib (N.E.) to make up for losing veteran Champ Bailey. One overlooked aspect of whether or not the Broncos reach the 12-win mark or not is their schedule, which has hem up against the tough and deep NFC West (at Sea., Ariz., S.F. and at Stl.).

Detroit Lions

2013 Record: 7-9
2014 Season Total Wins: 8.5 (over +100/under -120)

In order for the DETROIT LIONS to get past the teams ahead of them in the NFC North they need to improve and upgrade across the bench, and when looking at this team its hard to find out anywhere where they've done it. The Lions STILL don't have anybody opposite stud WR Calvin Johnson, so Megatron will continue to be Matthew Stafford's main (i.e. only) focus of the passing game. The defense signed SS James Ihedigbo (Balt.) to add depth to a weak secondary, but that's it. Just Ihedigbo, which means they will likely rely heavily on rookie draft picks OLB Kyle Van Noy (BYU) and DE Larry Webster (Bloomsburg). For this team to reach the 9-win mark to cash in on the even-money over wager will be a lot to ask from the team I'm looking at on paper.

Green Bay Packers

2013 Record: 8-7-1
2014 Season Total Wins: 10.5 (over +110/under -130)

The GREEN BAY PACKERS still made it to the playoffs last season despite missing QB Aaron Rodgers for half the season, so now that he's back to health the Packers are once again considered a threat to win it all. After years of using high draft picks to try and find someone to play opposite OLB Clay Mathews and balance the pass rush, the Packers went out and signed DE Julius Peppers from their rival Bears to fill the need once and for all. The Pack also addressed a weak spot by drafting FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama) to try and shore up the back end. With AFC games against the AFC East, namely Buffalo, Miami and the Jets, I like the chances that Green Bay gets to 11 or 12 wins.

Houston Texans

2013 Record: 2-14
2014 Season Total Wins: 7.5 (over -135/under +115)

The whole world around the HOUSTON TEXANS football team imploded last season, and the fallout from a two-win season means the Texans will be sporting a new quarterback this year (Ryan Fitzpatrick) and a new head coach in Bill O'Brien (Penn St.). The Texans added some help on defense in the draft getting OLB Jadeveon Clowney (S. Car.) and DT Louis Nix III (N.D.), and signed FS Kendrick Lewis (K.C.) in the secondary, but with a new offense and a quarterback that's more of a manager of the game and less of a playmaker, the Texans will likely struggle again in 2014 in their attempt to rebuild quickly.

Indianapolis Colts

2013 Record: 11-5
2014 Season Total Wins: 9.5 (over +105/under -125)

The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS have shown us in two short seasons just how vital a franchise QB like Andrew Luck is to a team's success. Luck has taken the Colts to back-to-back 11-win seasons and almost instantly the Colts have become the class of the AFC South. Indy didn't make tons of offseason moves, but the moves they did make should bring solid and immediate returns. WR Hakeem Nicks (NYG) gives Luck another weapon on the outside and LB D'Qwell Jackson (Clev.) will help stiffen a Colts run defense that at times was suspect. In a division where they get to place the Jaguars, Texans and Titans twice, I think the Colts getting to double-digit wins is a good wager despite the juice.

Jacksonville Jaguars

2013 Record: 4-12
2014 Season Total Wins: 4.5 (over -215/under +178)

It seems like it was only a few seasons ago when the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS stripped everything down to the studs and tried to rebuild it back into a formidable franchise, but that's what they did again this last winter. Gus Bradley (Broncos) was brought in to be the fall guy … er, I mean head coach and the Jags are trying to hit the reset button by taking Blake Bortles in the first round. Former Vikings RB Toby Gerhart gets the first chance at replacing Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags defense raided the Seahawks in the offseason, signing Red Bryant and Chris Clemons away in the hopes that some of the Super Bowl magic wears off on the Jags. Getting to five wins will be a huge task for Bradley, especially if they go with Bortles from day one.

Kansas City Chiefs

2013 Record: 11-5
2014 Season Total Wins: 8.5 (over +150/under -170)

I don't think anyone outside of the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS front office expected them to break off an 11-win season in new coach Andy Reid's debut. But now the Chiefs have to deal with the fallout of a successful campaign … QB Alex Smith wants more money and a long-term deal … RB Jamaal Charles wants more money and a longer deal and is willing to holdout to get it. The defense should continue to keep the Chiefs in every game they play, but if you're looking for areas where they have improved over the winter you may have to keep looking for quite awhile.

Miami Dolphins

2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Season Total Wins: 8 (over +160/under -185)

On paper it looks as if the MIAMI DOLPHINS are poised to breakthrough the mediocre 8-win plateau one of these seasons, but with an offensive line that is in turmoil I'm not sure if 2014 is the year. The Dolphins best player along the line C Mike Pouncey is still recovering from hip surgery and the team is playing musical chairs with players in all sorts of positions to try and fill the void. Miami's defense will also have new faces in the secondary (CB Cortland Finnegan (Stl.), FS Louis Delmas (Det.)., and both of them are on the downside of their careers, so again its hard to argue that there's been enough improvement on either side of the ball that moves them up the ladder in the AFC and the tough AFC East.

Minnesota Vikings

2013 Record: 5-10-1
2014 Season Total Wins: 6 (over -125/under +105)

We all know that the NFL is a league built around the quarterback position, and since the most important spot is essentially up for grabs for the MINNESOTA VIKINGS, its hard to figure out the Vikings chances in 2014. Teddy Bridgewater is the future obviously, but how quickly the Vikings jump ship from Matt Cassel to the rookie and shorten his learning curve will directly affect the bottom line of wins and loses. Even with Bridgewater playing the Vikings offense is solid (i.e. Adrian Peterson) and dynamic enough (i.e. Cordarrelle Patterson/Greg Jennings/Kyle Rudolph) on the perimeter to win games. The NFL's worst defense however, may be asking too much from first-rounder LB Anthony Barr and free agent CB Captain Munnerlyn to be the only answers to all of the Vikings questions on that side of the ball.

New England Patriots

2013 Record: 12-4
2014 Season Total Wins: 10.5 (over -160/under +140)

All of the most important pieces of the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS franchise, namely coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady, are back again so there's really not much change in the Patriots prospects in the new season. The Patriots continue to turnover the roster little by little every year, but 12-win seasons later not much really changes. Belichick gets to design schemes for newcomer CB Darrelle Revis this year, and the offense has its fingers crossed for a full season from TE Rob Gronkowski, but otherwise an 11 or 12 win season is almost worth the huge juice attached to it.

New Orleans Saints

2013 Record: 11-5
2014 Season Total Wins: 9.5 (over -165/under +145)

For awhile this winter it looked like the only thing we were going to hear from the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS was potential contract squabbles with franchise TE Jimmy Graham, but with a deal signed there's not much standing in the way of the Saints and a return to the top of the NFC South. With Drew Brees and Sean Peyton together again the Saints offense will once again be explosive, but it's the defense that has limited the Saints in recent years. New Orleans brought in CB Champ Bailey and FS Jairus Byrd to try and strengthen the secondary, but Byrd's slow to recover from back surgery, so a weak early-season schedule (only one team over .500 in first seven weeks) will help the Saints get off to a fast start.

New York Giants

2013 Record: 7-9
2014 Season Total Wins: 8 (over -130/under +110)

There will be a lot of change surrounding the NEW YORK GIANTS this season, starting with a new "West Coast" style offense courtesy of new coordinator Ben McAdoo (G.B.). The skilled payers you've grown used to in New York will also change, with Rashad Jennings (Oak.) as the new running back and youngsters Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU) and TE Adrien Robinson opposite incumbent WR Victor Cruz. On defense they brought in a whole host of players (DT Cullen Jenkins, LB Jameel McClain, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and FS Quintin Demps) to try and change their fortunes on that side of the ball, but none of those names jumps out at you and says "he's the answer" either. Unless I'm missing something, the G-men could have a struggle to get to .500 this season.

New York Jets

2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Season Total Wins: 7 (over -165/under +145)

Despite playing a fairly inconsistent rookie at quarterback last season in Geno Smith, the fact that the NEW YORK JETS made it to 8-8 should be considered a success. So how do the Jets build on that success in year two of the Smith project? The Jets brought in some veteran skilled players in RB Chris Johnson (Tenn.) and WR Eric Decker (Den.) to try and give Smith more options on offense. The defense will hope to slide first-rounder Calvin Pryor (Louisvile) in at strong safety and keep doing the voo-doo that Rex Ryan and the defensive side of the ball seems to always keep doing every season.


Oakland Raiders

2013 Record: 4-12
2014 Season Total Wins: 4.5 (over -165/under +145)

Stop me if you've heard this one before but the OAKLAND RAIDERS will be playing this season with a new quarterback … the Raiders, who have a history of taking cast-off quarterbacks and reviving their careers (Jim Plunkett, Rich Gannon) are hoping to play it again one more time with former Texans reject Matt Schaub. But Schaub isn't the only new face, as he's joined by WR James Jones (G.B.), RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Jack.) and LT Donald Penn (T.B.) on offense; and the defense has been remade with the free agent additions of ends Justin Tuck (NYG) and Lamarr Woodley (Pitt), CB Carlos Rodgers (S.F.) and first-round LB Khalil Mack (Buffalo). Oakland has improved and win likely go over the 5-win mark to cash in on the over wager, even if they have to play through the tough AFC West twice.

Philadelphia Eagles

2013 Record: 10-6
2014 Season Total Wins: 9 (over -125/under +105)

Ten wins and an NFC East division title for the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES has to be considered a success in year one under new coach Chip Kelly, so the million dollar question going into year two is whether or not the Eagles make progress or if the league catches up to them and their scheme quickly. I must admit, I think QB Nick Foles had a career year last year with nowhere to go but down. But I'm excited to see how Kelly gets new all-purpose back Darren Sproles involved in the offense. Philly added safety Malcolm Jenkins (N.O.) at the back of the secondary in free agency and LB Marcus Smith (Louisville) in the draft for much needed depth. Nine to 10 wins is right where this team will be at the end, so there's little to know value on a wager here.

Pittsburgh Steelers

2013 Record: 8-8
2014 Season Total Wins: 8.5 (over -140/under +120)

The PITTSBURGH STEELERS are still considered a legit threat in the AFC every year, and this year shouldn't be an exception. While some of the faces of the team like Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu are getting older, the Steelers have actually gotten a little younger through attrition over the years. Le'Veon Bell is poised to be a classic Steelers running back pounding it on the ground, and the defense has slowly remade itself too with first round picks last year (Jarvis Jones from Georgia) and this year (Ryan Shazier (Ohio St.) focusing on getting younger and faster at linebacker. The Steelers are always a great "sleeper" pick because, well … they're the Steelers. The Steelers should reach 9 wins to qualify as over, but the juice may be just enough to scare away the faint of heart outside of Pittsburgh.

San Diego Chargers

2013 Record: 9-7
2014 Season Total Wins: 8 (over -155/under +135)

It's hard to believe that a 9-win season in your debut at the helm gets overshadowed in the NFL, but that's exactly how its been for Mike McCoy and his SAN DIEGO CHARGERS. For years now the Chargers have flashed potential, and back-dooring their way into the playoffs last year is a sign that this team is finally buying into McCoy's "program." Offensively the Bolts are finally getting something from RB Ryan Mathews, and the defense will be better talent-wise in the secondary with additions Brandon Flowers (K.C.) in free agency and Jason Verrett (TCU) in the draft, in order to compete better against the Broncos and Manning. To much juice to warrant a futures bet, but I do think the Chargers and Chiefs switch spots this year behind the Broncos and maybe even get to 10 wins when its said and done.

San Francisco 49ers

2013 Record: 12-4
2014 Season Total Wins: 10.5 (over -+105/under -125)

The SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS have been at the top of the NFC now for so many consecutive years, that eventually you know the law of averages is going to knock them down a peg or two. The league kind of "caught up" to QB Colin Kaepernick last year, and without any real significant additions the 49ers offense will be ground and pound with Frank Gore behind their bread-n-butter offensive line. However, the defensive unit was gutted when it lost stud LB NaVorro Bowman, and losses in the secondary of the 49ers make me think that this year just might be the year San Francisco gives back a few close games like the kind they used to win down the stretch.

Seattle Seahawks

2013 Record: 13-3
2014 Season Total Wins: 11 (over -125/under +15)

The SEATTLE SEAHAWKS proved once again last season that the clichι "defense wins championships" still holds true in the NFL. QB Russell Wilson is smart, but let's not kid ourselves when we consider the Seahawks offense revolves around RB Marshawn Lynch grinding out 25 to 30 carries every game. Lynch isn't happy and wants Mo' Money, and considering there's a large drop in talent from Lynch to his backup Robert Turbin, the turmoil has to be concerning. Like most Super Bowl teams the defense got picked a little along the line in the offseason, but with FS Earl Thomas and CB Richard Sherman in the secondary signed and back, the Hawks defense isn't going away in 2014.

St. Louis Rams

2013 Record: 7-9
2014 Season Total Wins: 7.5 (over -130/under +110)

If only the ST. LOUIS RAMS didn't play in the NFC West, then maybe I'd be a lot more excited about their chances in 2014. But considering they have to play the gauntlet of Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona twice each, it's hard to get too excited even though I think the Rams are poised to finally take that next step at play above .500 football. The Rams instantly got more talented on draft day this May, picking OG Greg Robinson (Auburn) and DT Aaron Donald (Pitt.) as bookend first round picks to address both lines on both sides of the ball. The Rams have a strong enough defense to turn the corner and break the 8-win plateau, but the offense will need someone from the cast of characters (Chris Givens, Kenny Britt, Tavon Austin, Austin Pettis) to have a breakout year to help the Rams get there.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2013 Record: 4-12
2014 Season Total Wins: 7 (over -135/under +115)

It was only a few years ago when the TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS were hiring a coach from a mid-major college team to run the show in Tampa, so it shouldn't be to surprising that they went with a re-tread this time when they hired former Chicago coach Lovie Smith in January. Smith brings formers Bears QB Josh McCown with him to Tampa, but perhaps the most interesting development for the Bucs on offense will be the fact that former Cal coach Jeff Tedford is the new offensive coordinator. WR Mike Evans (Tex. A&M) and Vincent Jackson give McCown tall weapons on the edge, but the return to health of RB Doug Martin is determine how far the Bucs can get toward a goal of .500 in 2014.

Tennessee Titans

2013 Record: 7-9
2014 Season Total Wins: 7 (over -115/under -105)

I'm not sure if you can find a team stuck in mediocrity for longer than the TENNESSEE TITANS have been in the NFL over the years. The result of all that average-ness is another head coach in Tennessee with former Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt getting another chance to captain the ship. Jake Locker is still the Titans best option at QB, and with CJ2K now a long and distant memory, Shonn Greene, Nate Washington and Kendall Wright will all have to step up their game to help Locker carry the load. The Titans did go out and try to improve on defense, getting LBs Wesley Woodyard and Shaun Phillips from the Broncos. The AFC South is a division the Titans should be able to compete in, I'm just not sure they have enough talent to get them over the hump of .500.

Washington Redskins

2013 Record: 3-13
2014 Season Total Wins: 7.5 (over -110/under -110)

The WASHINGTON REDSKINS were in the headlines more this offseason because of the controversy surrounding the offensive nature of the team's name, not because the team itself did anything noteworthy. Washington did add a solid weapon for RG3 when they swooped in and took Desean Jackson from Philly. They added a solid piece on defense too, picking up safety Ryan Clark (Pitt.) to patrol the back of the secondary in the modern-day, pass-happy NFL. Washington seriously underachieved last year with three wins, and getting back to the 8- or 9-win mark isn't as hard in the NFC East this season since the Giants and Cowboys appear to be headed for down years.

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