- 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.
In this article we’ll continue looking at NFL futures, this time focusing on the markets to win each division. We ran down the AFC in a previous article so now we’ll head over to the NFC. Odds from BetOnline.ag.
NFC DIVISIONAL FUTURES
Dallas Cowboys +135 Washington Football Team +210 New York Giants +350 Philadelphia Eagles +650
In 2020 the NFC East was clearly the worst division in the NFL–if not the worst division in NFL history. Washington won the division and made the playoffs with a 7-9 record ahead of the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys who tied with a 6-10 record. The Eagles brought up the rear at 4-11-1. The conventional wisdom is that last year was an anomaly and that the Dallas Cowboys will bounce back this season en route to a divisional win. They did upgrade their defensive coordinator with former Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn replacing Mike Nolan. Personally, I’m not sold on Mike McCarthy who has always seemed like a poor fit for the franchise and the personnel on hand. I’d rather go with the team with the best coach and best defense in the division. Mindful of the fact that there hasn’t been a repeat winner in the NFC East in 16 years (Philadelphia won the division from 2001 through 2004) I’ll back the WFT.
BET WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM +210 TO WIN NFC EAST
Green Bay Packers -120 Minnesota Vikings +240 Chicago Bears +375 Detroit Lions +1600
You won’t very often see a defending divisional champion off of back to back 13-3 seasons priced as such a short favorite over a field of teams that all finished at or below .500 last year. Then again, you’ll seldom see a situation such as the one that exists in Green Bay where reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers is in what appears to be an irreparable feud with GM Brian Gutekunst and by proxy team CEO and President Mark Murphy. Rodgers has no interest in returning to Green Bay to the point that he’s threatening retirement should the Packers continue to refuse his trade demands. Utah State product Jordan Love is going to be an excellent NFL QB but that won’t negate the huge dropoff from Rodgers if he has indeed played his last game in a Green Bay uniform. Best strategy looks to be backing the Vikings and Bears which will net a profit should either team win.
BET MINNESOTA VIKINGS +240 TO WIN NFC NORTH
BET CHICAGO BEARS +375 TO WIN NFC NORTH
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -175 New Orleans Saints +325 Atlanta Falcons +600 Carolina Panthers +1000
Very intriguing division. Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl but didn’t win the NFC South–that distinction went to the New Orleans Saints at 12-4 to the Bucs’ 11-5. The dynamic in New Orleans has changed significantly now that Drew Brees has retired and while it’s obvious that he won’t be able to be replaced by Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston (or maybe even rookie Ian Book) how big will the dropoff be? Still a lot of talent at the skill positions for whichever quarterback gets the nod. The Saints also had the #4 total defense and #5 scoring defense last year. Given the long history of Super Bowl winners starting slow the following year it’s hard *not* to expect some regression in Tampa Bay. Falcons and Panthers won’t be a factor. Saints look to be the play here.
BET NEW ORLEANS SAINTS +325 TO WIN NFC SOUTH
Los Angeles Rams +200 San Francisco 49ers +210 Seattle Seahawks +250 Arizona Cardinals +500
A wide open division with so many unanswered questions about all four teams and scenarios that run the gamut. Rams have an excellent defense and led the league in both total defense and scoring defense last season. Matthew Stafford is a huge upgrade at quarterback. Arizona was just 8-8 last year but their offense should put up big numbers and their defense should be better with the addition of J.J. Watt. San Francisco is coming off a ‘lost season’ as they arguably took a harder hit from the COVID-19 pandemic than any team in the league. Jimmy Garoppolo is nominally the starter for now but it won’t be a surprise if he’s supplanted by #3 overall pick Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. Niners play the easiest schedule in the NFL this year. Pete Carroll’s Seahawks have put up double digit wins in 8 of the past 9 years and will play a pretty easy schedule as well. We’ll back the Niners and Seahawks.