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NFL’s Biggest Surprises: Back the Pack When Betting in 2023

One of the biggest challenges in NFL betting is finding the surprise teams. We can stack up on these teams’ futures and then sit back and smile while the money comes pouring in late in the season. We make it sound easy, but it’s not whatsoever.

Last season, the Seattle Seahawks were one of the big winners. They entered the 2022 season with a projected win total of 5½. Seattle soared to a 9-8 finish with a playoff appearance. Who could follow suit in the 2023 season? Let’s break down potential surprise teams and their Las Vegas NFL odds.

Howell Answer for Commanders?

Since Kirk Cousins signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2018, the Washington Commanders’ quarterback room has been a revolving door. Even when they won the NFC East in 2020, the Commanders still lacked solid QB play.

Sam Howell gives Washington the most hope it’s had in years. The second-year QB has flashed through the preseason. He had a standout performance in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens with 188 passing yards and a 123.4 passer rating in one half of play. Howell was throwing dimes at the highest level.

The Commanders continue to gush about Howell. Coach Ron Rivera discussed how he fits in the offense, “Well, I think the biggest thing, more so than anything else, is really just his whole football acumen. Everything from how good a student he is to a guy that can take what’s being called and translate it in his mind as to how to execute,” Rivera said. “His skillset, I think, is very conducive to a lot of the stuff that we want to do because of his arm talent and then his athletic ability, I think helps and adds on to some of the things that Eric wants done.”

At this point, there are realistic expectations for his first year as a full-time starter. If Washington truly has solid QB play this season, it will be a surprise team. The over for the Commanders’ win total of 6½ is a favorable NFL lines. If you’re feeling bold, a third-place finish in the NFC East is enticing (+210).

Seahawks Sneaky NFC West Pick

What defines a surprise team? Is it a squad that goes zero to a hero like Hercules? The Seahawks have already established themselves as a potential playoff team. However, my NFL picks has some spice.

I love Seattle to win the NFC West, priced at +200. Is this really that surprising?

Well, the San Francisco 49ers are the reigning divisional champions and come off back-to-back NFC Championship appearances. The 49ers are once again Super Bowl contenders as the fourth choice to win it all (+1000). San Francisco is -180 to win the NFC West. Taking down the Niners is no easy feat.

I expect Seattle to go over its 8½ win total (-170), and it could even make a deep postseason run. The roster took a big step forward with the additions of linebacker Bobby Wagner, defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, and first-round rookies Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Why would the Seahawks not take another step in the right direction?

Green Bay Stays Relevant

My big surprise of the 2023 season: The Green Bay Packers. I know many fans are tired of the Packers. They rejoiced in Green Bay missing the postseason in 2022 and trading Aaron Rodgers in the offseason. I’ve got bad news; this team is going nowhere.

I’m officially bought into quarterback Jordan Love. I liked what I saw in limited action last season. Following the preseason, I love where the third-year QB is headed (no pun intended).

Some of the throws Love made in the offseason are just ridiculous. These are not dumb luck. Clearly, Love is oozing with talent.

Why make it all about the QB, though? The Packers have good pieces in place. The offensive line is sound, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are an elite one-two punch, and the young receiving corps of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs made major strides toward the end of the 2022 season.

The defense shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Cornerback Jaire Alexander and edge rusher Rashan Gary should be healthy. The unit could meet expectations in 2023. It has top-10 potential.

With that said, Green Bay going over 7½ wins could be the easiest sport bet of the upcoming season. The Packers are capable of reaching double-digit wins and competing in the NFC North. The Detroit Lions and Green Bay could be the best bets for the North. Ultimately, I like the Packers to come out on top.


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