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It’s never too soon for rabid football fans and degenerate gamblers to start poring over betting lines for the upcoming NFL season. And the odds are truly early this year: One can already place a bet on any game in the first 16 weeks of the 2013 regular season, if one were so inclined.

Dying to get money down on that Nov. 17 Chargers-Dolphins game? Miami’s favored by three. Go nuts.

For those of us less inclined to place bets on a football season still nearly four months away, the interesting early lines are the season win totals. These are “over/under” odds; meaning that bettors put money on whether a team will be over or under a given win total. If you wanted to bet on how many games, say, the Seattle Seahawks will win this year, you would bet that they are either going to win more or less than 11 games.

Season win odds are interesting because oddsmakers are paid well to predict these things. There’s a lot of money at stake for the sports books and casinos. Since their own jobs are at stake, it’s reasonable to assume that a fair amount of math and science, and not a lot of personal bias, goes into the predictions.

“May is when desperation sets in for the hardcore football fan,” U-T San Diego’s Tom Krasovic wrote Monday. “Sports books’ win totals for the next NFL season are another fix for football fans experiencing cold sweats.”

Krasovic provided a few of his own “early leans” (picks), but inexplicably left out any mention of our own local NFL concern, the Chargers. Let’s step into that void and check out the early season-wins odds for the Bolts, and while we’re at it, their divisional rivals in the AFC West.

These odds emanate from the Atlantis sports book of Reno, Nev., as written up by Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post.

San Diego Chargers: 7 wins

The Chargers posted a 7-9 record in 2012 so it’s not difficult to see how the oddsmakers arrived at the same number. San Diego’s offseason is seen as a snoozer thus far, and new general manager Tom Telesco’s team still has a yawning vacancy at the starting left tackle spot.

I have an uneven history of predicting such things, but I don’t see the Chargers being entirely mediocre this year. Manti Te’o will be a non-pretend linebacker, sparkplug running back Danny Woodhead should breathe new energy into the offense and Philip Rivers can’t throw 15 interceptions again, can he? Don’t answer that. Bet the house on the OVER.

Kansas City Chiefs: 6.5 wins

The Chiefs won all of two games last year and looked particularly bad doing it. The heads of the coach and GM rolled, but the addition of new head coach Andy Reid, of ex-Philadelphia Eagles fame, is enough for bookmakers to predict a few more wins. Former Helix High and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith will be taking snaps for KC this season, and hopefully not get his brain knocked around any worse in the process. Throw money away on the UNDER.

Oakland Raiders: 5.5 wins

The Raiders were terrible last year as well, winning only four games in the first season after their late owner Al Davis’ passing. Del Mar resident Carson Palmer engineered a trade to the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason, leaving Oakland’s quarterbacking duties to be fought over by newly arrived Matt Flynn, project Terrelle Pryor and rookie Tyler Wilson.

Longtime front-office executive Amy Trask resigned as Raiders CEO this past weekend, and there are rumblings that the team may be for sale, so who knows what’s going on up there in the East Bay. I have a personal bias against the Raiders, so maybe don’t listen to me when I say to take the UNDER.

Denver Broncos: 12 wins

Behind the strong arm and healed neck of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, the Broncos romped to a division title last year with a 13-win season. It’s pretty hard to win 13 games in the NFL, but Manning is that good and the rest of the division is that underwhelming.

Despite a contract snafu that saw star defensive lineman Elvis Dumervil end up with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, the Broncos stocked up in the draft and once again are the team to beat in the AFC West. It ain’t rocket science: Take Denver with the OVER.

Beau Lynott is a contributor to Voice of San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @lemonverbena_ or email

Beau Lynott

Beau Lynott is a contributor to Voice of San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @lemonverbena_ or email

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