With the football season about to start, we will look at NFL team or player futures betting odds each Monday. This week, I am looking at the best and worst teams in the regular season.
Note: All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
TEAM TO WIN THE MOST GAMES
It shouldn’t come as a shock that the Patriots (+500) are the favorites to win the most games. In the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, New England has been a monster in just about every regular season. Last season, the Pats won 11 games, their 16th consecutive season with double-digit wins. Not only have the Patriots been a great team, they also benefit from playing in a weaker division. This season isn’t expected to be any different since New England is the only AFC East team with a win total projecting them to finish over .500. The only issue I have with the Pats is they are fairly big favorites to finish with the best record and all it takes is a couple close loses to miss out on best record. At this point in his career, it’s possible Tom Brady is rested down the stretch of the season if the Patriots’ lead in the division is as large as odds suggest.
In the AFC West, the Chiefs (+700) and Chargers (+1400) are expected to be two of the best teams in the league. Between the two, I think the Chargers make for the better bet. Led by MVP Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs were last season’s breakout team. They won the division, causing the Chargers to go slightly overlooked. This is a team that matched KC with 12 wins and only lost the division because of a tiebreaker. I have concerns with the Kansas City defense, while the Los Angeles defense should be better this season. Even though it was strong last season, Joey Bosa missed more than half the season with a foot injury. Now healthy, the Los Angeles defense should be one of the best units in the NFL.
While there are no long shots I really love, the Vikings (+2200) are a high-upside team getting overlooked. Public sentiment is against Kirk Cousins after Minnesota missed the playoffs last season. While he was inconsistent, it was his first year with a new team. He put up strong numbers during his time in Washington with much less talent around him. It’s not like the Vikings were awful last season; they won eight games and narrowly missed out on the playoffs. Two seasons ago they won 13 games, tied for the best record in football and did so with Case Keenum as the starting QB. I expect the Vikings to bounce back and have one of the league’s top passing attacks.
TEAM TO WIN THE LEAST GAMES
I might be somebody who wants to watch the world burn. Most people want to figures out who the best teams will be, while I find it more fun trying to single out the worst team. This season, there is going to be stiff competition for the moniker of worst team in the league.
The assumed worst team and overwhelming favorite to win the fewest games is the Miami Dolphins (+300). As bad as Miami projects to be, the odds aren’t quite long enough for me to place a bet on it. The primary reason; the division is weak. Just like how the Patriots benefit from playing in the AFC East, the Dolphins could get an extra win or two from the four games they play against the Jets and Bills. Even though Josh Rosen was terrible last season during his time with the Cardinals, I think his ceiling is higher than its perception. He’s only 22 and was highly regarded coming out of college. Even though his most likely scenario is that he busts, he wasn’t given much chance to succeed in Arizona. Rosen played behind an awful offensive line, and QBs often make a leap from rookie to sophomore season. Miami won seven games last season, and I don’t think it got significantly worse in the offseason.
The Giants’ (+600) fanbase was energized by a good first preseason game from Daniel Jones. Even though he looked much better than expected, the reality is the Giants likely are going to be a bad football team. The expectation is for Eli Manning to start the season as the starter, and it’s well established he’s washed up at this point. A compounding issue is: Who is he going to throw to at the start of the season? Sterling Shepard has a finger injury, Golden Tate is suspended and Corey Coleman tore his ACL. With Odell Beckham Jr. traded to Cleveland, this could be the worst passing game in the league. The defense ranked 24th in DVOA and figures to be worse this season. If New York is giving up points and can’t throw the ball to get back into games, this could be an ugly season for the Giants. Even if Saquon Barkley is a generational talent, the Giants might not be in many situations where running the ball makes sense playing from behind.
Looking at odds, my gaze keeps going to the Raiders (+800). They are coming off winning four games and play in an extremely difficult division. Oakland should be underdogs in all six games played in the AFC West. On the positive side, the roster is improved from last season. On the negative side, the biggest improvement came from the addition of Antonio Brown, and early indications are he could be a distraction. I expect him to play and get his odd helmet and frostbite issues behind him, but I could see him causing chemistry issues. The Raiders have been the laughing stock of the league since hiring Jon Gruden, and the worst still could be to come if the Brown trade blows up their faces.
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