- Sportsbooks have started to post futures odds for the 2021 NFL season.
- Futures odds to win the Super Bowl are the most popular though markets are available for conference and divisional winners as well.
- Futures bets can be difficult to handicap due to unknown factors like injuries and potential trades.
Yesterday we took a look at the ‘First NFL head coach to be fired’ betting markets and came up with a few positions. Today we’ll continue looking at NFL futures, this time focusing on the markets to win each division. In this article we’ll run down the AFC and hit the NFC separately. Odds from BetOnline.ag.
AFC DIVISIONAL FUTURES
Buffalo Bills -140 New England Patriots +300 Miami Dolphins +375 New York Jets +1600
I’ve been big on Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott ever since he was hired and now the rest of the world is starting to catch on. Back to back double digit win seasons will do that. Bills added quarterback depth with the acquisition of former Chicago starter Mitchell Trubisky–he might not be the guy to build a franchise around but he’s a capable and experienced #2. Miami could regress this year without heady veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick running the show. Tua Tagovailoa showed some promise last year but with expectations through the roof–Miami’s win total went from 6 to 9 for the largest increase in the NFL–he’ll be feeling pressure that he didn’t experience last year. New England is a question mark with a roster revamped through free agency. Jets should show some improvement as losing head coach Adam Gase was ‘addition by subtraction’ but won’t be a factor here.
BET BUFFALO BILLS TO WIN AFC EAST -140
Baltimore Ravens +135 Cleveland Browns +145 Pittsburgh Steelers +380 Cincinnati Bengals +1400
The Pittsburgh Steelers looked like a juggernaut starting the season 11-0 last year before losing five of their last six games including their first round playoff game to the Cleveland Browns. Mike Tomlin hasn’t had a losing season in 14 years in Pittsburgh but this could be a tough season. Pittsburgh plays a brutally tough schedule this year and there are plenty of questions about Ben Roethlisberger playing behind a porous offensive line. Baltimore also plays a tough schedule particularly in the second half (opponent winning percentage of .635) with 7 of their final 9 games coming against playoff teams from last year. That being said, Lamar Jackson has been money in the bank during the regular season with a career 30-8 SU mark. Cleveland could be the most improved team in the league–particularly on defense where they added talent through the draft and free agency, the big prize being pass rushing monster Jadeveon Clowney. Bengals should be better if they can keep Joe Burrow healthy but won’t be a factor this season. We’ll back the Ravens and Browns and take a small profit should either team win.
BET BALTIMORE RAVENS TO WIN AFC NORTH +135
BET CLEVELAND BROWNS TO WIN AFC NORTH +145
Indianapolis Colts +110 Tennessee Titans +110 Jacksonville Jaguars +700 Houston Texans +2500
Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. Houston has become the biggest grease fire in the NFL and will be hard pressed not to regress from a 4-12-0 season last year. Jacksonville is intriguing and Trevor Lawrence is the truth but they won’t be a factor this season. Once Lawrence finds his legs as a pro they’ll be a dangerous opponent though. Indy has to hope that Carson Wentz shows improvement over his form from last year though he’s playing behind a much better OL than in Philly and that should help. Tennessee’s offense was nasty last year and they still managed to upgrade significantly during the offseason bringing in former Atlanta Falcons’ receiver Julio Jones. Now you can make a compelling case that the Titans have the best running back *and* the best receiver corps in the NFL. The bad news is on defense where they ranked #27 in total defense, #28 in passing defense and #23 in scoring defense. If they get any improvement from the defense they’ll be tough to beat. At any rate, they’re the most proven commodity in this division and we’ll back them to win the AFC South.
BET TENNESSEE TITANS +110 TO WIN AFC SOUTH
Kansas City Chiefs -250 Denver Broncos +500 Los Angeles Chargers +600 Las Vegas Raiders +1200
Not much to say about the AFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs ran away from the other three teams last year going 14-2. None of their divisional foes could do better than 8-8. Despite their glossy record KC didn’t dominate week end week out–including the playoffs they went 7-11-1 ATS. Part of that is the inherent overvaluation that comes with being not only a huge ‘public’ team but the defending Super Bowl champions. KC went 1-5 ATS against divisional foes last year (4-2 SU) after going 6-0 SU/ATS in 2019. Chiefs did a decent job beefing up the offensive line during the offseason and that was their biggest liability. Just can’t see Denver, LA or Vegas mounting a serious challenge against the KC divisional domination.