Wednesday, August 30, 2017

NFL futures bets I'd make if I was a betting man

The 2017 NFL season kicks off Thursday, September 7th, when the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs. To the surprise of no one, the Patriots are the odds-on favorites to take home the title once again, despite a now 40-year-old Tom Brady having just lost his No. 1 wide receiver for the season (Julian Edelman tore his ACL in Friday's exhibition victory in Detroit).

New England is currently listed at +400 to capture the sixth championship of Brady's career next February in Super Bowl LII (that's 52 for those who aren't Roman-numerically inclined). The Pats are also +225 to win the AFC.

The teams with the next-best odds to take home the Lombardi Trophy are a pair of NFC clubs, the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers, both listed at +1000. In the AFC, the Patriots' greatest challenger is expected to be the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are +450 to represent the conference in the Super Bowl and +1100 to win it all.

After the Steelers, the Oakland Raiders (+800), Denver Broncos (+900) and Chiefs (+1000) round out the list of top contenders for the AFC title. With the Patriots such an overwhelming favorite, the other three teams in the AFC East all rank among the bottom six in terms of conference title odds: The Miami Dolphins are +2200, the Buffalo Bills are +4000, and the New York Jets are +6600.

So who is a good bet in the AFC? Honestly, nobody. There's not much money to be made on the Pats at +225 and there aren't any teams out there that have a compelling case to unseat New England. If I had to put $100 on somebody to win the conference, I might take the Raiders at +800 or even the Indianapolis Colts at +1800.

For me, it all comes down to the quarterback. Derek Carr emerged as budding star last year and even though he doesn't have much behind him, I like Andrew Luck's chances at +1800 better than a lot of other guys'.

Here are some other football odds I like heading into the 2017 season:

Green Bay Packers at +500 to win the NFC: Aaron Rodgers has guided Green Bay to the playoffs in eight straight years, but only reached one Super Bowl. He's due.

New Orleans Saints at + 2000 to win the NFC: I'll take a 38-year-old Drew Brees over most of the other QBs in the conference, but only five squads have worse odds than the Saints.

Minnesota Vikings at + 2500 to win the Super Bowl: The Vikings are +1200 in the NFC, which suggests their expected to lose Super Bowl LII if they get there--despite the fact that it's going to be played in their own stadium.

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