Betting News & Analysis

NFL Betting 2023: Market-implied power rankings and ELO strength of schedule

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) during his pregame ritual prior to the AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

  • New Orleans Saints: Their win total appears high at first glance, but they seem like the clear team to run away with the NFC South division. 
  • Buffalo Bills: Buffalo is priced as the second-best team based on the betting market, but PFF’s season-long simulation and a difficult schedule expect the team to finish short of its current win total. 
  • New England Patriots: New England has the most difficult strength of schedule based on its current PFF ELO rating. New England didn’t identify enough replacements to have any hope of improving from its 2022 performance. 
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

The 2023 NFL schedule release set off a chain of events, culminating in DraftKings offering spreads for every 2023 NFL regular-season game leading up to Week 18. Last year, Westgate blessed us with spreads and totals for every regular-season game, allowing us to reverse-engineer betting market power rankings to see how bookmakers evaluated each team heading into the season. This is the best and most accurate way to power rank teams and provides us with a framework to evaluate both offensive and defensive team strength. 

Without totals, some of the top-defensive units are down ranked using this particular approach, with the expectation being that those teams are slightly undervalued in this type of power ranking right now. As more totals trickle and Week 1 approaches, these power rankings will become more and more accurate.

Betting market-implied power rankings

The power rankings provide relatively clear tiers on the market assessment of each NFL team’s outlook in 2023. 

Taking some cues from the betting market, we can attempt to assess how the order of games could impact a team's record in 2023 and highlight the most difficult stretches on each franchise’s schedule. We do this by calculating a moving average of each opponent’s preseason ELO rating and factoring in rest differential and net travel distance.

Below is a box plot of each team’s opposing ELO for each game of the 2023 regular season, sorted by the team’s mean ELO rating faced. The box shows the teams' first-quartile opposing ELO, median opposing ELO and third-quartile opposing ELO.

For a top-level view, this gives an initial idea of each team's strength of schedule in 2023. It highlights how difficult certain schedules will be and how they may impact outcomes in the win total market

Let’s take a closer look at each team’s market-implied power ranking by assigning a spread-point value over an average team on a neutral field. We can then examine the most difficult stretches, along with some points on why it will impact whether that team goes over or under their current win total and how best to approach betting teams against the spread to start the 2023 NFL season.


ARZ | ATL | BLT | BUF | CAR | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | DAL | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LVR | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

1. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Spread Points Above Average: 5.86
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 11.4 
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 10th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 14-18

Kansas City seems to be working with a cheat code that no other team in the NFL can utilize, as there has never been this big of a separation at the top of power rankings. The Chiefs' championship window remains wide open for the foreseeable future. The final weeks of the regular season are their most difficult schedule stretch, but they will probably have a playoff berth and the division title wrapped up by the middle of this stretch.

2. Buffalo Bills

  • Spread Points Above Average: 4.09
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 9.7 
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 4th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 9-12

Buffalo finds itself as the second-ranked team based on the betting market but will have a difficult time going over their win total from PFF’s projections based on its difficult strength of schedule. They get a mini-bye week before their Sunday night showdown with Cincinnati in Week 9, which sets off a four-game stretch that will determine their seeding in the AFC playoff race.

3. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Spread Points Above Average: 3.39
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 10.9
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 18th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 8-11

Cincinnati is set up for another season of success with a bottom-half strength of schedule in 2023. Coming out of their bye, the Bengals travel across the country to face the 49ers before returning home to take on the Bills in a primetime matchup. Things lighten up in Week 10 with a home game against Houston, but they then go to Baltimore on a short week for a rivalry game. Winning the AFC North could come down to that matchup. PFF is right in line with the current betting market expectation on their win total, and the price on under 11.5 wins is the key to locking in this bet or not.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Spread Points Above Average: 3.3
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 10.2 
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 11th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 11-15

The clear top tier of the NFC, most are projecting the Eagles to once again run away with the conference. Based on PFF’s game simulation, this could prove to be more difficult than currently expected. Coming out of their bye, they have a Monday night showdown against the Chiefs before taking on the Bills on short rest. Things don’t get any easier after that, as they stack a game against the 49ers with trips to Dallas and Seattle in subsequent weeks. Expect a few more slip-ups than the market projects, and the Eagles finishing under their win total is one of the better bets from PFF’s simulation perspective.

5. Miami Dolphins

  • Spread Points Above Average: 2.44
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.7 
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 2nd
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 7-9

No team has more polar outcomes than the Dolphins. They had a relatively quiet offseason, adding Jalen Ramsey as their one legitimate move to an already solid secondary unit. Still, questions surrounding the quarterback position in addition to a difficult schedule will continue to arise throughout the season.  They have a three-week stretch bookended by road games against the two prior Super Bowl contenders, with a home matchup against division rival New England sandwiched in between. If they drop all three games, they could have a difficult time making up enough ground in a stacked AFC conference playoff race.

6. New York Jets

  • Spread Points Above Average: 2.37
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 9.3
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 9th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 1-4

Blame the Aaron Rodgers effect, but the Jets have a brutal start to an already difficult schedule. They're immediately on short rest after playing on Monday night football in Week 1, so there is a very real chance that they start off the season 1-3. Things don’t get a lot easier after that, as the Jets could be looking at 2-4 with must-win games against the Giants and Chargers.

7. Dallas Cowboys

  • Spread Points Above Average: 2.28
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 10.8
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 13th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 14-17

Dallas is set up for another potential slide down the stretch, as it seemingly has to win at home against the Eagles in Week 14 before road matchups against the Bills and Dolphins in back-to-back weeks. PFF’s simulation is optimistic about their outlook, and the over on 9.5 wins is one of the better opportunities on the board. 

8. Detroit Lions

  • Spread Points Above Average: 1.66
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.2
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 17th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Unknown

Last year at this time, the Lions ranked 30th in market-implied power rankings and have improved the most among teams that didn’t even make the playoffs last year. A mid-range strength of schedule sets up well, as the schedule makers helped out the “Restore the Roar” with well-timed breaks after difficult matchups.

9. Baltimore Ravens

  • Spread Points Above Average: 1.53
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.3
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 25th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 15-17

Bettors seem interested in backing an under-the-radar Ravens squad that has quietly improved at key positions and expects a healthy and rejuvenated Lamar Jackson to return. Their schedule also sets up really well, as they have the easiest strength of schedule among AFC teams not in the south division. The end-of-season wrap-up could be difficult for their playoff hopes. Back-to-back road games against tough opponents in spotlight games before returning home to face a Dolphins team could be the reason they don't get into the playoffs. PFF’s simulation isn’t bullish on their outlook, as the under on their win total is one of the best bets to make right now.

10. San Francisco 49ers

  • Spread Points Above Average: 1.2
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.8
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 26th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 8-13

San Francisco has internal questions at the quarterback position, but everything else seems set up for success in 2023. The 49ers have one of the easiest schedules in the league, and their most difficult stretch has the perfect bye week built in. If their quarterback concerns receive positive summer news, we should see them rocket up these market-implied rankings before the start of the NFL season.

11. Seattle Seahawks

  • Spread Points Above Average: 1.04
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.2
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 16th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 12-15

Seattle seems headed in the right direction with young players at key positions but still has a quarterback question based on how far Geno Smith can take the team. Through the first nine games last season, he was absolutely dynamic and if Seattle gets a full season close to that performance, it could end up as one of the top three teams in the NFC.

12. Denver Broncos

  • Spread Points Above Average: 0.95
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.6
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 12th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 5-6

Denver seems overvalued by the betting market and looks like a below-average team based on PFF ELO. The Broncos don’t have an easy schedule and showed how difficult it is last year to have a new head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback be immediately successful. We will know just how good they are after their Week 6 game in Arrowhead on a short week after facing off against the Aaron Rodgers-led Jets at home the week before. If they stumble out of the gate, it will quickly turn into another disappointing season in Denver.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Spread Points Above Average: 0.72
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 9.7
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 20th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 13-15

Jacksonville made the leap to contender last season and now has to achieve the more difficult task of gaining ground on a stacked AFC conference. Thankfully, the Jaguars' division is one of the worst in football that provides a bottom-half strength of schedule while still playing the first seeds from other divisions. They could conceivably have the division wrapped up by the midpoint of their most difficult stretch, but playoff seeding will be an important consideration at that point in the season.

14. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Spread Points Above Average: 0.65
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 9.7
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 3rd
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 6-9

The Chargers are set up for another disappointing season with the third most difficult schedule in football. The middle of their season is the most difficult with a primetime game against Dallas leading to a short week in Kansas City. Massive improvement from their prior offseason acquisitions defensively and an offense hitting on all cylinders behind new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is a requirement for the Chargers to finally land in the playoffs.

15. Minnesota Vikings

  • Spread Points Above Average: 0.36
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.3
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 8th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 2-5

No team epitomizes the definition of “mid” like the Vikings. No one knows if they are actually rebuilding, but all signs point to this being the final season for Kirk Cousins in purple, which seems destined for a disappointing end.

16. Cleveland Browns

  • Spread Points Above Average: 0.21
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 10.0
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 23rd
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 1-5

Cleveland continues to find discounted assets that can allow them to build around Deshaun Watson’s massive contract. However, Watson actually returning to his Houston high-end range of outcomes is the only way the Browns find themselves in the playoffs.

17. New England Patriots

  • Spread Points Above Average: 0
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 7.4
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 1st
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 1-4

The rest of the AFC improved, and New England got Bill O’Brien. The Patriots also have the most difficult schedule in football and aren’t eased into it. A mid-tier team with a brutal schedule typically doesn’t end well.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Spread Points Above Average: -0.11
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 9.3
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 21st
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 16-18

Pittsburgh’s hope lies in Kenny Pickett improving on his top 15 PFF passing performance from last season. If that happens, they should be relevant in the AFC playoff race heading into their most difficult stretch of the season.

19. New York Giants

  • Spread Points Above Average: -0.4
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.4
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 5th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 15-18

Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley got paid. Now, offensive mastermind Brian Daboll gets to run it back for a second season. The problem is the schedule is unforgiving, ranking as the most difficult schedule in the NFC. New York has a non-division stretch starting in San Francisco on a Thursday, which is followed by a home game on extended rest against Seattle before traveling to Miami and Buffalo on the road.

20. New Orleans Saints

  • Spread Points Above Average: -0.87
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 10.3
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 32nd
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 10-12

The Big Easy never felt better. New Orleans is set up well, with the easiest schedule in football and a veteran-laden roster improving the quarterback room. The 2021 version of Derek Carr would win 11 games with this schedule.

21. Green Bay Packers

  • Spread Points Above Average: -1.02
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.4
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 22nd
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 11-13

The Jordan Love era begins in Green Bay, and the betting market provides bearish pricing. The PFF simulation is a bit more optimistic, as it thinks the plus price on over 7.5 wins is a worthwhile bet given the schedule considerations.

22. Chicago Bears

  • Spread Points Above Average: -1.05
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 6.7
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 24th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 6-9

Chicago’s easy schedule is also spaced well, with winnable games surrounding the more difficult matchups. The betting market is more optimistic about the Bears' win total than the Packers, with a -135 price on over 7.5 wins.

23. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Spread Points Above Average: -1.13
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 7.0
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 6th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 2-4

Things are quickly looking dire in Las Vegas, as Jimmy Garoppolo is being sold as an upgrade to Derek Carr. The problem is the Raiders are too close in proximity to the best teams in football and have the seventh-lowest win total expectation when factoring in price. 

24. Los Angeles Rams

  • Spread Points Above Average: -1.23
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 8.9
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 15th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 1-3

Fans will find out quickly if the Rams are for real in 2023, as they have an immediate two-game division start that is followed by a trip to Cincinnati. Los Angeles seems on the verge of complete collapse and would need the best version of Matthew Stafford to come close to the playoffs. 

25. Washington Commanders

  • Spread Points Above Average: -1.6
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 6.9
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 7th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 2-4

Washington will find out quickly what it has with Sam Howell, which is the best way to approach the quarterback position. If things go well, the Commanders have a viable long-term option at quarterback and if not, they are in line for a top draft pick. 

26. Atlanta Falcons

  • Spread Points Above Average: -2.23
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 6.5
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 31st
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 2-4

An 8.5-game win total seems high, but this offense seems poised for a breakout. If it happens, the schedule is set up to take advantage. Atlanta sitting at .500 after Week 4 will bring meaningful games down the stretch.

27. Carolina Panthers

  • Spread Points Above Average: -2.56
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 7.3
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 28th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 2-6

Carolina projects to still be a full year away, but a promising finish to the 2023 season should be all bettors need to buy into the Panthers long-term. 

28. Tennessee Titans

  • Spread Points Above Average: -3.04
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 6.0
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 29th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 1-4

A difficult early stretch could lead to an appearance from Will Levis sooner than currently projected.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Spread Points Above Average: -3.55
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 7.74
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 19th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 15-17

Tampa Bay sits directly at a crossroads for 2023. The Bucs are in a winnable division, but they have the most difficult schedule based but no longer have Tom Brady to carry them.

30. Arizona Cardinals

  • Spread Points Above Average: -4.14
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 6.6
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 14th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 15-18

Arizona sits in an envious position when looking at the team with a wide enough time frame. Unfortunately, this season isn’t included in it.

31. Indianapolis Colts

  • Spread Points Above Average: -4.32
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 7.5
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 30th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 14-16

The betting market seems unimpressed with the Colts, valuing them as the second-worst team in football. They offer a surprisingly easy schedule and could stay relevant in a struggling AFC South. 

32. Houston Texans

  • Spread Points Above Average: -4.78
  • PFF Win Total Projection: 5.8
  • Opponent ELO Ranking: 27th
  • Toughest Schedule Stretch: Weeks 1-4

The Texans are praying for immediate returns after doubling down on the 2023 draft class.

Betting Featured Tools

  • PFF's Best Bets Tool reveals the bets PFF's data and algorithms give the biggest edge to within spread, total, player prop, and moneyline markets.

    Available with

  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NFL game.

    Available with

  • PFF's Player Props Tool reveals betting opportunities within player prop markets.

    Available with

  • Power Rankings are PFF’s NFL power ratings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season.

    Available with

  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NCAA game.

    Available with


Unlock all tools and content including Player Grades, Fantasy, NFL Draft, Premium Stats, Greenline and DFS.

$9.99 / mo
$79.99 / yr