The Las Vegas MGM sportsbook became the first Nevada or offshore sportsbook to release NFL season win totals Tuesday.
"It's all people are talking about right now," Jay Rood, MGM Mirage director of race and sport, told Covers.com Tuesday afternoon. "I figured I'd strike while the iron was hot."
Being the first to post season win totals is an aggressive move considering the prop bet is a popular choice with the professional bettors. But Rood figures the handle he hopes to take will outweigh the risk of being exposed.
"It's not like we're paying out losing bets next week," Rood said. "We'll have a five-month hold and, if we can get a seven-figure handle for them, the interest alone should make it worthwhile."
But there are other dangers. NFL insiders are calling for a record amount of player transactions over the next two weeks with many Pro Bowl-caliber stars switching teams. Rood says he doesn't see "2-game adjustments" from the players that are expected to be on the move.
"We'll be able to adjust on the fly," Rood said.
Rood, good to his word, upped the juice on the under for the Seattle Seahawks' win total (7) from -120 to -130 after word that quarterback Matt Hasselbeck would not be returning to the club.
Two other quarterbacks will be watched closely by Rood and the MGM Mirage oddsmaking team: Kevin Kolb and Kyle Orton.
Rood said he would move Arizona's win total from 6 to 7.5 if the widely speculated trade between the Cards and Eagles for Kolb happens. While Kolb doesn't have many career starts under his belt, it's fair to say he'd be a huge improvement over any of the three quarterbacks (Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton) Arizona has on its roster now.
"[Kyle] Orton is someone I think could really help the right team," Rood said of the current Denver signal caller. "I mean, if he went to Minnesota, I'd see that as a big improvement for that club."
There are a few teams Rood says he went back and forth on when trying to come up with the right number for their win totals: The Lions (7.5) and Ravens (10).
"Detroit's going to be a hot team," Rood said. "I contemplated putting them at 8 but went with 7.5 instead. They've got a lot of potential but they've got to prove it on the field."
The Lions were one of the heaviest bet team in the MGM's Super Bowl futures market, going from a 75-1 long shot down to 20-1 in only a few weeks.
Rood took extra time trying to come up with the Baltimore Ravens' number as well. Although he said he sees 13 wins on their schedule, Rood decided to open the Ravens at 11.
"They let all these offensive weapons go," Rood said. "And that defense is a year older. They're not getting any younger."
Reports indicate Baltimore will cut ties with RB Willis McGahee, TE Todd Heap and WR Derrick Mason.
Rood expects other shops to open with a lower number than the 11.5 he chose for the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. He said he expects to draw some sharp action on the under for Green Bay but reasoned that the Pack also seem to be supported heavily by the public.
Here's a complete look at the win totals:
2011 NFL season win totals
(odds courtesy the MGM Mirage)
New Orleans Saints 10 (Over +105, Under -125)
Atlanta Falcons 10.5 (Over -105, Under -115)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8.5
Carolina Panthers 4.5
Green Bay Packers 11.5
Chicago Bears 9.5
Detroit Lions 7.5 (Over flat, Under -120)
Minnesota Vikings6.5 (Over -120, Under flat)
New York Giants 9.5 (Over -105, Under -115)
Dallas Cowboys 9 (Over flat, Under -120)
Philadelphia Eagles 10 (Over -120, Under flat)
Washington Redskins 6.5 (Over -120, Under flat)
Seattle Seahawks 7 (Over flat, Under -120)
St. Louis Rams 7 (Over -120, Under flat)
San Francisco 49ers 8 (Over -120, Under flat)
Arizona Cardinals 6 (Over -120, Under flat)
Indianapolis Colts 10 (Over flat, Under -120)
Houston Texans 8 (Over -115, Under -105)
Jacksonville Jaguars 6
Tennessee Titans 6.5 (Over -115, Under -105)
Pittsburgh Steelers 11 (Over flat, Under -120)
Baltimore Ravens 11
Cleveland Browns 6.5
Cincinnati Bengals 7.5 (Over -120, Under flat)
New York Jets 10 (Over flat, Under -120)
New England Patriots 11.5 (Over flat, Under -120)
Buffalo Bills 5 (Over -130, Under +110)
Miami Dolphins 8 (Over -105, Under -115)
Denver Broncos 6 (Over flat, Under -120)
San Diego Chargers 10
Oakland Raiders 7
Kansas City Chiefs 8 (Over flat, Under -120)