NFL Conference Futures

NFL Conference Futures

Even after a loss in Week 2, the New England Patriots remain the favourites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Rams are now the favourites to represent the NFC. Although a Super Bowl XXXVI rematch is the top betting option through two weeks of the NFL season, there are other franchises who make legitimate cases they will be the last team standing from their Conference come late January. 

NFL Conference Futures

The Dreaded 0-2 Start

Although it is difficult to rule out any team after only two weeks (except the Buffalo Bills, do not bet on the Bills), a 0-2 start to the season significantly decreases a team’s chances of making the postseason. Between 2007 and 2017, 91 teams started 0-2. Of those 91 teams, ten made the playoffs.

Of the ten teams to make the playoffs, only two advanced as far as the Conference Championship (2007 New York Giants and 2014 Indianapolis Colts), and only the Giants represented their Conference in the Super Bowl.

While you rarely want to rule out teams after only two weeks, the seven teams to start this season 0-2 are historically speaking bad wagers. Avoid betting on these teams and focus on the six teams below when wagering on NFL Conference futures. 

Best Bet to Win AFC: New England Patriots (+275)

Even after losing quite handily to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New England Patriots remain the best bet to win the AFC. The Patriots have played in seven consecutive AFC Championship games, winning four.

The seven straight appearances are more than ten AFC franchises have made in their entire existence.

The level of sustained success in New England is just too much to bet against. Until Tom Brady and Bill Belichick show a reason why they cannot win, they are the best bet to win. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (+400)

If Blake Bortles can put together a few more games as he did in Week 2 (377 passing yards and four passing touchdowns), then the Jacksonville Jaguars could supplant the Patriots as the best bet to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Even if Bortles is only league-average this season, the Jaguars have the best defence in the AFC.

The Jaguars had six Pro Bowl players on defence last season (three defensive linemen, two defensive backs and one linebacker). Early in the season, their defence looks as good as it did last season.

If they can grab home-field advantage for the playoffs this year, the Jaguars can make their first Super Bowl in franchise history. 

Los Angeles Chargers (+900)

Even though the Los Angeles Chargers are likely to start their season 1-2, once the team gets Joey Bosa back from injury, they have the least holes of any AFC roster.

Unlike Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers remains in his prime, putting up 680 passing yards, six passing TDs and a 119.1 quarterback rating.

If Rivers can continue to put up strong numbers, the Chargers are one of the best offences in the league.

The defence should round into form over the season. The Chargers were a top-five defensive unit in 2017.  As mentioned earlier, once Joey Bosa is back, the Chargers have a complete roster, capable of hanging with anyone in the AFC. As long as injuries do not plague the Chargers, they have a chance at making the franchises first Super Bowl in 25 years. 

Best Bet to Win NFC: Los Angeles Rams (+330)

Through two weeks of the NFL season, it is hard to argue any team in the NFL looks better than the Los Angeles Rams. While their competition to start the year were pedestrian (Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals), they took care of business, winning each game by 20 points or more.

The Rams look like they will only get better over the season. Reigning “Offensive Player of the Year”

Todd Gurley just touched the ball 45 times through two games, yet he already has four touchdowns.

The defence for the Rams looks just as good as the offence. The group is allowing a league-low 6.5 points per game through their first two games. That is with Aaron Donald not having played all preseason. Expect the Rams to continue to improve this season and enter the playoffs as the team to beat in the NFC. 

Minnesota Vikings (+450)

Two games into the Kirk Cousins era and the Minnesota Vikings look like they have a realistic shot at representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. Cousins is on pace to set career highs in yardage and passing touchdowns this season.

The Vikings also have one of the deepest defences in the NFL. While the group did allow 29 points to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers in Week 2, that game was a bit of an anomaly and not too much weight should be placed on it. While the Vikings are right now a bit behind the Rams, they have the talent and coaching to beat anyone in the NFC. 

New Orleans Saints (+1000)

Despite a below-average showing in their first two weeks of the season, the New Orleans Saints are still one of the best teams in the NFC.

The Saints were one play away last year from joining the 2007 Giants and 2014 Colts as the only teams to start 0-2 in a season and make the Conference Championship game.

Once the team gets Mark Ingram back from suspension in Week 5, they will employ a more-balanced offensive approach. That approach last year allowed the Saints to become the first team in NFL history with two running backs (Ingram and Alvin Kamara) each with over 1500 yards from scrimmage.

The defence should also play better than it has the first two weeks. Many of their top players are young and prone to a few hiccups. However, they should continue to develop over the season and by the end of the year, it would not be surprising to see the Saints as one of the best defences in the NFL.

If you want a moderate underdog to bet, putting trust in Drew Brees and Sean Payton is not a bad bet. Of all the teams in the NFC with serious Super Bowl aspirations through the first two weeks of the season, they are the most trustworthy and proven