With the ascension of Lamar Jackson to the ranks of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, the Baltimore Ravens have become perennial contenders the last few seasons. They have won the division twice, 10+ games the previous three seasons, and won the most regular-season games in the league in 2019.

While they have not been great bets to win the AFC or Super Bowl (one playoff win the last three seasons), they can be counted on to win games. But can they be counted on to win more games than anyone else?

Oddsmakers seem to think the Ravens have a good shot at being that team in 2021:

Best Regular Season Record: 2021/22 PointsBet FanDuel William Hill
Kansas City Chiefs +400 +450 +400
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +600 +600 +500
Buffalo Bills +1000 +1000 +900
San Francisco 49ers +1100 +1100 +1300
Baltimore Ravens +1200 +1200 +1000
Green Bay Packers +1500 +2500 +2500
Los Angeles Rams +1600 +1600 +1300
Cleveland Browns +1600 +1600 +1600
Seattle Seahawks +1700 +1700 +2500
Dallas Cowboys +2500 +2500 +3000
Indianapolis Colts +2500 +2500 +2500
Los Angeles Chargers +2700 +2700 +4000
New Orleans Saints +3200 +3200 +4000
Miami Dolphins +3200 +3200 +3000
Tennessee Titans +3500 +2400 +4000
New England Patriots +3800 +3800 +4000
Denver Broncos +4500 +4400 +5000
Washington Football Team +4500 +5000 +6000
Arizona Cardinals +5000 +5000 +6000
Minnesota Vikings +5000 +4900 +5000
Atlanta Falcons +5000 +4600 +5000
Pittsburgh Steelers +6500 +6500 +6000
Chicago Bears +7000 +7000 +8000
New York Giants +10000 +10000 +10000
Carolina Panthers +12500 +13000 +15000
Philadelphia Eagles +12500 +12000 +15000
Las Vegas Raiders +15000 +18000 +15000
Jacksonville Jaguars +15000 +17000 +20000
Cincinnati Bengals +20000 +22000 +25000
Houston Texans +20000 +25000 +50000
New York Jets +25000 +25000 +50000
Detroit Lions +25000 +25000 +25000

Kansas City is a good choice, of course. If Tampa Bay can pick up where they left off in the Super Bowl, they would not be a bad bet, either. As for the Ravens, they are only two years removed from a 14-win regular season. If the team can remain relatively healthy throughout the season, they could do it again.

But will they?

How To Predict Who Will Win The Most Regular Season Games

Many people probably think it is easy to at least make a good guess at who will have the best regular-season record. Just pick one of the top teams (Kansas City, Baltimore, Green Bay, etc.) in the league, and you should have a good shot.

If you were to bet on the Kansas City Chiefs this season, no one would blame you. They had the best record last season. With their offense, they can outscore anyone this season (assuming their new and improved offensive line remains intact).

But taking the favorite means winning the least amount of money possible—and favorites do not always win. So, how can we narrow down the field and predict who will have the best record in the NFL?

It’s tedious work, but you crunch the numbers.

For instance, with several seasons seeing multiple teams finish with the best record, 20 total teams did so over the last ten seasons (2011-20). Of those 20 teams:

  • 15 of 20 had winning records the year before; only two had losing records, and three had finished at .500. All 15 won 10+ games.
  • The most common win differential compared to the year before was +2.
  • Four teams won 11 games the previous season; three won 13, 12, and ten games the year before.
  • Four teams had a top ten offense in total yards, passing yards, rushing yards, and scoring the year before; only one of those four teams also had a top ten defense (total yards and scoring).
  • The ability to score and keep other teams from scoring was the most common denominator. Fourteen teams had offenses in the top ten in scoring (nine in the top five) the previous season. On the defensive side, 11 had units in the top ten in points allowed (six in the top five).
  • Top ten passing offenses in the season before (12) were more common than the top ten rushing offenses (10).
  • Eleven teams had offenses ranked in the top ten in total yards and scoring the year before; eight teams had defenses ranked accordingly.
  • An average of seven games the year before were settled by seven points or less; most won 3-4 of those games and lost 3-4.
  • There were more No. 1 scoring offenses (five) the year before than No. 1 scoring defenses (4), No. 1 total yards, offense or defense (three each), and No. 1 passing or rushing units (two each).
  • Only four teams had offenses and defenses ranked inside the top ten in total yards and scoring.
  • Only three teams had offenses ranked outside of the top ten in total yards and scoring; seven teams had defenses ranked accordingly.
  • Teams won the same or fewer games than the year before five times.

Based on all of this, who should you bet on?

After a thorough study of the stats and records from last season, the two teams most likely to finish the regular season with the best record in the NFL is…drum roll, please… the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

However, if you only wanted to bet on one team, take the Buccaneers. Had Philip Rivers stuck it out for one more season with the Colts, Indianapolis would be the better pick. But he did not, and there is no telling how Carson Wentz will play this season.

Of course, if you’re. Ravens fan, they’re certainly a good bet. And the timing is perfect, because Maryland sports betting could launch in time for the 2021-22 NFL season.

Other teams worth considering (in this order) are the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers (but only if Aaron Rodgers starts), Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, and Los Angeles Rams. You could throw New Orleans into the mix, but since Drew Brees is gone, you probably should not.

So, yeah—the Ravens are a good bet to have the best regular-season record this season. But other teams are better bets.