2014 NFL Schedule and Primetime Games

With the draft two weeks away and the kickoff to the regular season less than five months away, the NFL released its schedule for 2014 on Wednesday night.

Taking a quick look at the schedule shows that both the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons are beneficiaries of home games for primetime scheduling.

Atlanta hosts a game on Thursday night for the fifth consecutive season, while Baltimore is hosting one for their fourth straight year.

In both games, Atlanta and Baltimore are hosting rivals from their division, as Pittsburgh visits Baltimore in Week 2 and Tampa Bay visits Atlanta during Week 3.

Thursday games are tough for the visiting team. Since 1990, data from Bovada and sportsbook.com shows that, the host team won 61 % of games played on Thursday.

Furthermore, the home favorites in Thursday games have won 79% of those games. That amounts to 11% higher than the fate for favorites in games played on either Sunday or Monday.

Favorites on Thursday night also cover the point spread 60% of the time compared to just 49% in games not played on Thursday, according to data taken from betonline and topbet, two online sportsbooks.

Atlanta in Thursday night games at home is 3-1 SU as well as 4-0 ATS, while Baltimore is 3-0 SU but just 1-2 ATS in their last three home games on Thursday.

New Orleans has hosted seven primetime games that were not on Thursday while playing on the road in only two of the same type games over the past three seasons. In those nine games, the Saints were 7-0 straight up and against the spread in their home games, while going 0-2 both SU and ATS while playing on the road.

This season, New Orleans has four primetime games that are not scheduled for Thursday with two at home and two as visitors. The Saints must also travel to play the Carolina Panthers on a Thursday.

Seattle, the defending champions of the Super Bowl received a bit of just treatment in the schedule this season. The Seahawks have played four primetime games (non-Thursday) at home and traveled only once to play the same type games during the last three seasons.

This season however Seattle must travel to Washington and Arizona and are hosting only one primetime game, which is the opening game of the 2014 NFL season against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

Of late, Houston has not been at or even near the top of the list of those who make the schedules. The Texans have hosted only two games in primetime over the past three seasons, while playing on the road in eight.

This season the Texans will host Indianapolis in Week 6 on Thursday and visits Pittsburgh the next week on a Monday night.

Statistically the hardest schedule has been dealt to the Oakland Raiders, while the loser of Super Bowl 48, the Denver Broncos, also have a tough 16-game schedule this season.

Total Wins for 2014 NFL Season Posted on Futures Boards

The NFL regular season does not start for another six months, but odds makers released the win totals for the upcoming 2014 regular season. Bovada and betonline have nearly all of the teams that made the playoffs last season projected to win fewer games this season.

Free agency in the NFL is just getting underway as of this week, which means there could be some changes to this as the weeks move forward and top players are signed by different teams. Nevertheless, win totals have been given an early posting on sportsbook.com and topbet bet as well as many other online sites and across Vegas.

Seattle, San Francisco and Denver are tied for the lead at the top of the futures boards for total wins with 11 each. All of the three teams ended the 2013 NFL regular season with more wins than the 11 they are projected to win this coming season.

Odds makers also project that teams such as New England, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Carolina, San Diego and Kansas City will all step back from their total wins from the 2013 regular season.

Bovada has 11 of the 12 playoff teams from the 2013 NFL season opening with total wins lower than what they accumulated last season.

Green Bay, whose record this past season of 8-7-1 won the NFC North this past season, is the odd ball. The Pack has been given a win total of 10 for the upcoming 2014 NFL regular season.

Teams that odds makers believe will make substantial improvements this season over last include the Houston Texans. Topbet has the Texans win total at 10, when last season they won just 2 games. Atlanta’s wins last season were just 6 but odds makers at betonline have them at 10 for the upcoming season.

One team not many odds makers are impressed with is the Arizona Cardinals. Last season they ended the season with a run of 7 wins in their last 9 games. However, Arizona has been given a win total for the 2014 regular season of just 6, after winning 9 of 16 games last season.

The top 10 NFL win totals for the 2014 NFL Season (2013 regular season wins in parenthesis)

Denver 11 (13)

San Francisco 11 (12)

Seattle 11 (13)

Green Bay 10 (8)

New England 10 (12)

New Orleans 9.5 (11)

Cincinnati 9 (11)

Indianapolis 9 (11)

Pittsburgh 9 (8)

Chicago 8.5 (8)