Sometimes patience can be a virtue. And after a couple weeks into the NFL the writing is on the wall for a few teams.
And it's time to go value hunting. Which futures are bright and which team's stars are beginning to fade.
2018 NFL Division Winners and Wildcard teams
NFL odds to make the playoffs after week 2
Handicapping the NFL is similar to the stockmarket. The preseason can be full of wild, reckless speculation. But after the opening bell rings and you have had a chance to see things play out, one can make calculated Online Sports betting wagers on which teams to short and those to be Bullish on.
Betting Lines for Division Winners
The first team I'm Bullish on is the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS.
ODDS TO WIN THE AFC SOUTH AS OF 9/19/ 2018 COURTESY OF BET365
Now the thing to be wary of with any futures bet is that even if you win, you have to wait a few months to get paid out.
However, DO NOT let that deter you from investing in Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
They are far and away the strongest team in a mediocre divison. They have already defeated the New England Patriots, who beat division rival Houston and are still to play Tennessee and Indianapolis in which they will be heavily favored in both games. So Jacksonville has beat the team that will likely defeat all 3 other teams in their division and if we project that going forward, it will weigh on the standings exponentially later on down the line.
Furthermore, that defense is absolutely NASTY. The biggest beneficiary of that ferocious defense is Blake Bortles, who for all his shortcomings, will almost never find himself in a position where he has to erase a large deficit because they won't give up that many points.
The Texans are already 0-2, giving them roughly a 10% chance at even making the playoffs. The Colts and Titans both seem to be missing something, while the Jags are as complete a team as there is in the weak AFC.
Jacksonville -175 to win the AFC South is a recommended HAMMER
Furthermore BET365 is offering us the option to parlay division winner futures.
So if you did want to lay the 75 cents juice with the Jags you could combine them with:
The New England Patriots (-113)
The Los Angeles Rams (+102)
The Philadelphia Eagles (+161)
If I had to choose 1 of these options it would be the RAMS, but I would also be comfortable with laying the 75 cents with the Jags alone.
Playoffs: YES or NO?
WILLIAM HILL is offering YES or NO Playoff Futures for all 32 NFL teams. You DO NOT have the option to Parlay these however so lets look at the best value plays they have.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: NO +130
Let's just review their season so far in bullet points:
- They're 0-1-1, and 1.5 games behind in their division already
- Lev Bell is holding out and Antonio Brown decided to skip work this week
- Big Ben for his career will always play signifigantly worse on the road and they travel to Jacksonville, Denver, New Orleans, Baltimore and Cincinnati this season
- Their defense looks to be middle of the pack at best
For a perceived Superbowl contender, this has all the makings of a 6-9-1, or 7-8-1 season. It happens every year to one of the heavyweights and this looks like the Steelers' turn to regress.
This feels like good value
CINCINNATI BENGALS + 130
This might be the best line of them all. This is a coaching staff and roster full of players who have made the playoffs multiple times in their career. Coming into the season they had the 3rd easiest schedule based on last season's records. They are already 2-0, and 1-0 in the division and even though Joe Mixon is out a few weeks, Andy Dalton is airing it out and using the very good weapons at his disposal. In a passing league, missing your #1 running back for a period is not a death sentence.
SAN DIEGO LOS ANGELES CHARGERS:
I'm gonna make the case for both, as this team was a dark horse for many coming into the season.
If you want to bet Yes, maybe wait until week 4. They play the Rams on Sunday who are -7 favorites and you will get a much better line next week should they lose. Plus, their schedule gets incredibly easy after this weekend and with that talented roster they could easily rattle off 7-8 wins.
Contrarily, if you are Bearish on the Chargers grab this line now, because you will lose value if they lose to the Rams. And the reason you'd want to grab this line now is because they are the Chargers. They are always unlucky and injury stricken. The make boneheaded plays and bad coaching decisions that cpost them games, and because they don't have a large fan base in LA the visiting team fans buy up all the seats and they wind up playing 16 away games.
You can follow me on twitter @zahir_gilani