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2018 NFL Futures – Every Division Value Bet Still Worth Backing

By Noah Davis
Published on October 17, 2018
NFL Division Winner Betting

The NFL is a fickle beast. Just when you think you have teams pegged, they surprise you. My stance on a number of teams seems to change each week. Maybe that’s because I’m believing in the wrong franchises; I don’t know.

In week six alone, however, the Miami Dolphins beat the Chicago Bears, the Jacksonville Jaguars got housed by the Dallas Cowboys, and the San Francisco 49ers almost beat the Green Bay Packers.

This doesn’t tell us anything for sure. What it might tell us is that Green Bay isn’t really the title contender everyone wants them to be, the Jaguars’ elite defense isn’t unbeatable, and the Dolphins (somehow 4-2 now) are a legit playoff threat.

I tend to believe Miami is a fraud, the Bears just fell victim to a trap road game after a bye, and Jacksonville needs Leonard Fournette back. As for the Packers, I really haven’t a clue.

All of this sets you up for one thing: trying to gauge which teams look like locks to win their divisions, make a title run, or make the playoffs might ultimately fail you.

There are a lot of pretenders out there, and there are a number of sleeping giants, too. Instead of eating a bunch of cash by backing the obvious division winner favorites, why not aim a little higher and soak up some elite betting value?

These picks might not be right at the end of the year, but they’re fun to target and have some upside to them.

Odds Disclaimer Box 1

AFC East – Miami Dolphins (+600)

New England (-800) housed Miami when they faced them a few weeks back, and they’re the obvious favorite here.

The Dolphins are even down to Brock Osweiler at quarterback, so there’s an argument their price should be even better than this.

That being said, Miami has shown some fight, and a 4-2 start can’t be ignored. Neither can an overtime win over the Bears. Miami has question marks on offense, but their defense has largely looked pretty good.

As the only viable threat to the Pats in this division, the Dolphins are worth a cursory glance at this price.

AFC North – Cincinnati Bengals (+250)

Cincinnati easily beat the Ravens and lost to the Steelers in the waning seconds in week six. They don’t have a very reliable defense this year, but they’re 4-2 and have a very dynamic offense.

Already looking sharp inside the division, the Bengals are being disrespected here.

They could start regressing as soon as a week seven tilt in Kansas City, but they do offer stellar value at this price.

AFC South – Tennessee Titans (+350)

I don’t particularly trust Tennessee, but every single viable team in this division is 3-3. They’ve all been inconsistent at best, and half the time, they’ve all looked truly horrible as well.

The Titans don’t escape that label, but they are still very much in position to take the division crown and already hold the tiebreaker over the Jaguars.

In a wide-open division, a team with a solid defense like the Titans has a shot.

AFC West – Los Angeles Chargers (+275)

Everyone has crowned the Chiefs. I get that, but the Bolts are down some key players, yet here they are at 4-2, waiting to surprise us all.

KC still has the division lead and holds the tiebreaker, but they’re led by a young quarterback who still could cave under the pressure.

It’s not likely, but LA is talented and competitive. They’re also in striking distance and get another crack at the Chiefs. You could do a lot worse than them at their +275 price tag at SportsBetting.ag.

NFC East – Dallas Cowboys (+225)

This is another wide-open division, much like the AFC South. I tend to lean in favor of the Eagles, but they have been banged up, and I don’t think they’re yet a true lock.

The only team you can write off here is the Giants, while Dallas looked quite impressive last week in a complete dismantling of the Jaguars.

Dallas needs to learn to win on the road (0-3), but if they can show they’re capable of that this week against the rival Redskins, they could quickly heat back up as the division favorite.

NFC North – Green Bay Packers (+250)

This figures to be a three-team race for first place, and as much as the Packers try to eliminate themselves from it, they’re still very much in it.

Nothing has been decided here, as Green Bay beat Chicago and tied the Vikings.

Those second showdowns – as well as a rematch with the Lions – will decide Green Bay’s fate.

However, betting against Aaron Rodgers is dangerous, and as the team with the third best odds in the NFC North, Green Bay offers elite betting value.

NFC South – Carolina Panthers (+400)

The Saints are without a doubt the favorite to claim the NFC South title this season, but their biggest threat in the division remains Carolina.

The Panthers have been exposed a bit on defense, but they still have a balanced offense.

If things break just right, they could have a shot at the division, and they’d be a steal at their current +400 price.

NFC West – Seattle Seahawks (N/A)

The Los Angeles Rams are undefeated at 6-0 and are probably winning Super Bowl 53.

The last time I saw NFC West division odds, they had some obnoxious price like -1500. That makes sense, as the only team in that division that can sniff them for the rest of the year appears to be Seattle.

The Seahawks already lost the first head-to-head battle, but they kept it tight and are still hanging around at 3-3.

Although a lot has to happen to go their way, the Rams tripping up in tougher matchups (see: week 11 vs. Chiefs) and then Seattle scoring a win in their second showdown could give them a shot.

It’s probably the biggest reach on this list, but depending on what the updated NFC West odds end up looking like (they’re not out at the moment), Seattle could become an attractive flier bet.

Summary

To be perfectly clear, I still think the Rams, Patriots, Chiefs, Saints, and Steelers are winning their respective divisions.

The other divisions are up for grabs, though, while there’s nothing wrong with hedging your bets a bit and taking 1-2 shots at a high upside pivot play in any of these divisions.

Green Bay, Carolina, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and Dallas are probably my favorites. They have all looked good enough to compete for their division, and they have the talent to get the job done.

The Panthers need to be better defensively, the Chargers need to get healthy, Dallas needs to find a way to win on the road, Green Bay needs to start games faster, and the Bengals just need to not get beat in the final seconds, apparently.

Everyone has something to work on in the NFL, and that could go for the top NFL division favorites, too. After all, if they’re not careful, some of these fun flier bets might turn into awesome value picks that simply work out in your favor.

Whether you bet on any of these teams is up to you, but note the logic, value, and upside associated with all of them. Thanks for reading, and happy betting!

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2018 NFL Futures - Every Division Value Bet Still Worth Backing
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2018 NFL Futures - Every Division Value Bet Still Worth Backing
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As we head into week 7 of the 2018 NFL, I break down the best division winner wagers that offer some betting value at this stage.
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