NFL Futures betting and odds: Athletic model makes best bets for 2022 NFL season



The NFL season is right around the corner, which means the rosters are basically set; the most vital pieces on each team’s roster will be healthy to start the season, and that gives us a clearer picture of the futures market. I’m not a big futures bettor as I don’t like having money tied up for a long time, but some spots are just too good to pass up.

My model tends to find value on win totals and playoff and divisional futures more than conference or Super Bowl futures, and that’s where I’ll focus. There will be plenty of opportunities throughout the season to get back into the future market if value presents itself, as was the case last season with the Cincinnati Bengals winning the AFC at +900. My simulator will run every week of the season and will be directly compared to the BetMGM futures market. Let’s see what value remains on the board a few weeks before the start of the season.

AFC East

Crew Won Playoffs Victory Division

11.6

89.3%

72.9%

8.9

44.9%

14.8%

8.6

38.5%

12.0%

4.7

1.2%

0.2%

New York Jets under 5.5 wins +130 (risk 0.5 units)

Zach Wilson’s recovery from knee surgery looks good for Week 3, but things aren’t looking great with him behind center. My model upgrades the Jets with replacement Joe Flacco in the lineup instead of Wilson. Wilson is definitely the long-term option and should play when he’s healthy, but he wasn’t very good in his rookie season. My model expects a boost in Year 2, but even so, Wilson projects himself as the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. The factor in the rest of the AFC East will be playoff contenders, and there aren’t many wins on this Jets schedule.

AFC North

Crew Won Playoffs Victory Division

9.9

63.6%

38.6%

9.5

57.5%

32.4%

8.2

36.4%

23.2%

7.1

15.3%

5.9%

Pittsburgh Steelers under 7.5 wins -115 (to win 0.5 units)

Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett will be battling for the starting quarterback position and while Pickett looks good in the preseason, it’s only the preseason. The Steelers offense was bad last year, and even with a possible upgrade from Ben Roethlisberger, it’s not expected to be good this year. Not only do I not expect the quarterback game to be good, but the offensive line also seems to be a liability heading into the season. Poor quarterback and offensive line play is a recipe for disaster, and my model reflects that as the Steelers rank among the NFL’s bottom 10 forwards. On the other side of the ball, yes, TJ Watt and Cam Heyward are fantastic, but the rest of the defense is not. Linebacker’s play should be below average and the secondary isn’t much better. Bad offense and an average defense spell disaster for a team playing a tough schedule.

AFC South

Crew Won Playoffs Victory Division

10.0

74.2%

64.1%

8.6

44.5%

30.1%

6.2

8.1%

4.7%

4.8

2.0%

1.1%

Indianapolis Colts to make the playoffs -190 (to earn 0.5 units)

The Colts played at quarterback on a team that took a win over the Jaguars short of making the playoffs last year. The addition of Ryan can move this offense into the NFL’s top 10, while the defense has added Stephon Gilmore at cornerback. Both units should be improved from last season, and 10 wins should be enough to get them through to the playoffs, possibly as division winners. If Ryan can boost his game with the best rushing offense in the league, the Colts will definitely be a factor in a deep AFC.

AFC West

Crew Won Playoffs Victory Division

10.6

76.5%

44.5%

9.8

61.4%

26.2%

9.4

54.3%

20.4%

8.3

32.3%

9.0%

Kansas City Chiefs to make the playoffs -225 (to gain 0.5 units)

I’m dropping the juice here because I think the improvement in the rest of the division allowed the Chiefs to come into the season a bit undervalued. Patrick Mahomes is still the quarterback, and despite losing Tyreek Hill, they have plenty of weapons to get the ball to him. The defense will likely be the downfall, just like years past, but if they can get any input from George Karlaftis it would do wonders. Yes, the Chargers tackled their defense, the Broncos added Russell Wilson, and the Raiders just made the playoffs last season, but this is an offense led by Patrick Mahomes. I’ll drop the juice.

NFC East

Crew Won Playoffs Victory Division

10.6

78.9%

59.4%

9.0

48.5%

23.3%

8.2

33.3%

13.7%

6.6

11.0%

3.7%

Dallas Cowboys to win NFC East +140 (risk 0.5 units)

The Cowboys will undoubtedly have the best quarterback game in the division, which goes a long way in my model. Yes, the wide receiver position is slim to start the year, but CeeDee Lamb is very good as a WR1. Prescott was playing perhaps the best ball of his career before a calf injury, and I expect Dak to play in the top 10 while 100% in 2022. The Cowboys defense should take a step back as a much of their fortune was due to turnovers, but they will always have an elite passing rush, with Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence being one of the best duos in the league. The Cowboys will certainly make things harder than necessary, often with penalties, but looking at the rest of the quarterbacks in this division, I can’t pass up that award.

Philadelphia Eagles under 9.5 wins +110 (risk 0.5 units)

The Eagles have built a fantastic roster over the past few years. One of the best attacking lines in all of football, with good players and solid defence. The problem is that their weakest link is at quarterback. I love Jalen Hurts, and I hope he proves me wrong. But from what we’ve seen of him, he’s not an average quarterback. My model projects it as such. I can’t buy into a team that’s questionable at quarterback, and that’s the case with the Eagles. According to rbsdm.com, Hurts was 16th in EPA/Play, but when removing foul weather (any part of a game with

NFC North

Crew Won Playoffs Victory Division

11.4

89.9%

70.3%

9.7

64.4%

26.0%

6.9

13.5%

2.7%

5.9

5.9%

1.0%

Green Bay Packers to win NFC North -155 (to gain 0.5 units)

According to my model, despite the DeVante Adams trade, the Packers are the big favorites in the NFC. Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, if not the best. And this Packers defense, if it can stay healthy, has what it takes to be one of the best units in the league. Rashan Gary hosted a coming out party in the second half of 2021, pairing him with Preston Smith to give opposing quarterbacks throughout the season. Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amos should also be one of the best secondaries. A good pass rush and a good secondary? Sign me up. Oh, and Rodgers is still an elite quarterback. I will pay this price all day.

Minnesota Vikings to make the playoffs -115 (to earn 0.5 units)

I know Kirk Cousins ​​gets a lot of bullshit because he’s not good enough. My role model doesn’t think Kirk is an elite quarterback, but I think his perception went a bit too far. Cousins ​​is very good at leading this Vikings team to the playoffs. Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are a great group of playmakers, and Kevin O’Connell’s offense should bring that offense back to life. On the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings ranked 13th in EPA/Play last season, which I think would surprise some people. If the offense can produce in their new landscape, the defense should be good enough to make the playoffs. Also, my pattern isn’t as high on the Lions and Bears as the market is, and it looks like the Vikings are reaping the benefits.

NFC South

Crew Won Playoffs Victory Division

10.5

78.6%

58.7%

9.4

58.8%

31.3%

7.5

23.3%

8.5%

5.8

5.3%

1.6%

New Orleans Saints on 8.5 wins +100 (risk 0.5 units)

I wrote a few weeks ago about how my role model considered Tampa Bay the most overrated team in the NFL, despite Tom Brady returning from his short retirement. Despite being overvalued, the rest of the division is getting a boost because of it and looking no further than the New Orleans Saints. The Saints should have one of the best defenses in the NFL — my model currently ranks them second — that should hold their offense in most games. Jameis Winston is behind center, and while Winston doesn’t excite a lot of people, he may have had the best season of his career last year before getting injured. According to rbsdm.com, Winston placed second; you read correctly. Among quarterbacks with 200 games in EPA/Play, behind only Rodgers. While I don’t expect him to post those numbers again, if Winston can play an above-average clip, the Saints will be right in the thick of it for an NFC South crown.

Carolina Panthers on 6.5 wins -105 (to win 0.5 units)

Baker Mayfield was announced as the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers in what was a mock quarterback battle, in my opinion, and it’s almost entirely a gamble on Baker redeeming himself as a quarterback of the NFL. Mayfield showed he could be an above-average quarterback, but battles with injuries and inconsistencies derailed his career in Cleveland. The Panthers managed to win five games with Sam Darnold as the leading passer. Mayfield will almost certainly be an upgrade (Darnold is considered one of the worst quarterbacks of the past decade, by my model), and all we need is a two-win improvement. Oh, and if Christian McCaffrey stays healthy, that should help Mayfield even more on his redemption tour.

NFC West

Crew Won Playoffs Victory Division

10.1

72.1%

44.4%

9.7

64.8%

34.9%

8.7

45.3%

19.1%

6.0

6.4%

1.6%

Unfortunately, my model doesn’t see anything worth playing in the NFC West.