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August 16th, 2021
NFL Futures Bets from a Former Sports Reporter
By Dan Koob
It’s that beautiful time of year where the air gets increasingly more crisp, the pumpkin beer and PSL’s start filling our cups and the pads come on.
Which means too many fantasy football drafts and staring at Over/Under NFL bets, which is now part of my job (Thanks Sporttrade!).
I’ve spent nearly 10 years as a sports reporter across the country, covering the Green Bay Packers for four seasons and the Philadelphia Eagles for three. Sprinkle in some time spent with the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals for good measure. The best part about this job at Sporttrade is I no longer need to remain an objective observer of the media -- I can finally dish out my betting insight and plans.
FYI - There are varying degrees of value in these NFL bets. Some are no-brainers and others are simply gut feelings based on the current NFL odds. Regardless, I’m making them.
Sure fire winners
Mark ‘em down. Put my name on them. I’m calling this set the ‘Jack-Nicholson-In-The-Departed Gif’ section. When I push the ‘bet’ button, I’ll be nodding incessantly and grinning like an idiot marking the days until the cash hits my account.
- Green Bay Packers Over 10 wins $55.50 on Sporttrade (-125)
I don’t understand this line. $55.50 is a very exploitable number. What am I missing? Back to back 13-win seasons. Same quarterback playing with virtually the same offense and coaching staff. Corey Linsley has gone to LA (more on that momentarily) and Green Bay signed Dennis Kelly to play left tackle while David Bakhtiari recovers from his torn ACL. BREAKING NEWS: They also still play 6 games in a division with 3 rivals who habitually underwhelm.
Pay me now.
- Los Angeles Chargers Over 9 wins $52.50 on Sporttrade (-110) or 9.5 wins $46.50 on Sporttrade (+115)
I love what the LA Chargers did this offseason to protect Justin Herbert. Signing an All-Pro center in Linsley and drafting Northwestern LT Rashawn Slater 13th overall. I’m so high on the Chargers this year, I’m grabbing the over 9.5 at plus money because I truly believe with a real coaching staff and a real offseason for Herbert this team will win 10+ games.
This is why sports betting on Sporttrade will be so fun. LA’s schedule opens this way:
1. @ Washington
2. vs Dallas
3. @ KC
4. vs Las Vegas
5. vs Cleveland
6. @ Baltimore
8. vs New England
This is the perfect test case for buying the dip on a team on a ‘Will They Make The Playoffs’ trade. It’s possible the Chargers will start 3-4. But look at the back half:
9. @ Philly
10. Vs Minnesota
11. vs Pittsburgh
12. @ Denver
13. @ Cincy
14. vs New York Giants
15. vs KC
16. @ Houston
17. vs Denver
18. @ Las Vegas
Other than Kansas City, not one game on that schedule scares me. You’re telling me you wouldn’t throw some shekels on the LA Chargers to climb back into the playoff race if their price on Sporttrade were in the $25-$30 range sitting at 4-5 after the Minnesota game?
Back to O/U: Remember - There are 18 weeks this season. LA Chargers may not win their division, but 10 wins is very possible with that back end schedule. I’m all in.
- Cleveland Browns to win AFC North $39 on Sporttrade (+155)
Another market I don’t get. At $39 Cleveland has the 3rd best odds of winning its own division. I can only imagine this is because they finished 3rd last season, despite going 11-5.
So - Cleveland, ravaged by injury and COVID at the end of last year, rallies around the NFL Coach of the Year, Kevin Stefanski, wins a playoff game without him ON THE ROAD against the Pittsburgh Steelers and then nearly upsets Kansas City… and has worse odds than Pittsburgh? A team that cratered last season behind no offensive line and 38 year old Big Ben.
Look at the schedule: Based on 2020 winning percentages, the Browns have the 9th most difficult schedule in the NFL. The most difficult? The Steelers.
2nd? The Ravens.
The Cleveland Browns will play a 3rd place schedule with the NFC North as their cross-conference opponent this year. Great offensive line, a great head coach and the best running back combo in the NFL. 11 wins is a lock. This trade may come down to Week 18.
- Cincinnati Bengals Over 6.5 wins $47.50 on Sporttrade (+110)
Throw out the two losses to the Baltimore Ravens last year (27-3 and 38-3) and the Bengals were surprisingly competent.
Cincy was 1-5-1 in games decided by 7 points or less in 2020, including 2 close losses to Cleveland and a 4 point loss to Indy. Ya ya, that record isn’t great. But that’s nearly half their schedule in tight games with QB2 and QB3 on the field.
They also beat playoff teams Tennessee by 11 and Pittsburgh by 10.
They still don’t have an offensive line (see Chase, Ja'marr), but in year 3 under Zac Taylor it’s put up or get fired time. I think there’s a chance they sneak to 7 wins in a 17 game schedule.
- Washington Football Team NFC East Winners $28 on Sporttrade (+260)
WFT brought in a professional quarterback to pair with a fantastic defensive line in a bad division. Antonio Gibson figures to take a big leap, Logan Thomas is coming on as a tight end as the Football Team finally has weapons to help free up Terry McLaurin. Even if the offense goes through Fitzmagic-indused swoons (as Fitzmagic teams are one to do), that defense will keep them in games. Last year they were 5th and 6th in yards allowed and points allowed, respectively.
Like every single season ever, the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL betting choice in this division at +135 ($41). The Boys have gone at least 8-8 in every season that Dak Prescott is behind center for a majority of their snaps, dating back to 2016. But Prescott can’t cover wide outs and he doesn’t pressure the opposing quarterback.
The Cowboys defense ranked 21st in sacks per game (1.9) and allowed 473 points in 16 games last year. I’ll save you the math: That’s 29.5 points per game allowed. That is Hashtag Bad.
They drafted Micah Parsons and CB Kelvin Joseph and signed S Malik Hooker. I just don’t think that’ll be enough.
(Quick aside: Here’s the magic of what betting on futures markets will look like on Sporttrade. Just like a stock, if your WFT Division Winner bet enters Week 18 and the Washington Football Team enters with a chance to win the division, it’s likely your position has risen from $28 to maybe $50. You made money. Sell your bet and watch the game or just let it ride. Power to the bettors.)
Turn Your Key and Look Away
- Jacksonville Jaguars to Win AFC South $14 on Sporttrade (+600)
You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts.
“Dan, Jacksonville’s defense is terrible!”
“They just won 1 game last year!”
“With a rookie quarterback and head coach?”
Hear me out. Urban Meyer will either sink or swim as a NFL head coach and we’ll find out very quickly which it is.
Trevor Lawrence, James Robinson and D.J. Chark won’t be confused for The Triplets when they walk into Myth Nightclub (IYKYK), but there’s real potential for that offensive group to score some points this season, presuming they’ll have to throw a lot again.
And remember, I’m just looking for a bit of movement to the upside here. If the Jaguars start 2-0, 3-1, etc that $14 price could easily go up a few bucks.
Plus, let’s look around at the rest of the division. Indianapolis has no quarterback to start the season and Carson Wentz isn’t the model of good health. Tennessee has no defense. Am I going to brag to my friends that I bet the Jags Over 6 ($57.50, -135) and division winner? No. But if it hits, they’ll never hear the end of it.
It’s mid-August. I get it. Any NFL bet this far out is subject to be altered by injuries to key players on these rosters, but this is also where we’re digging up the best value. So, I’m making them anyway.
Do you agree with these NFL picks? Disagree? Let me know on social media @Sporttrade_app and @SporttradeKoob.
Dan Koob is an employee at Sporttrade and a recreational sports bettor. He spent 10 years as a television sports reporter, covering the Packers, Eagles, Bengals and Giants. While Dan may place some of the discussed wagers with licensed sports betting operators, Dan's advice is purely for entertainment purposes only. Dan's opinions are not gambling advice and do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of Sporttrade. Dan does not have access to any non-public information. Trades described above are similar to options trading and are illustrative (i.e. not real) and absent any commission Sporttrade will charge on winning trades.
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