Mark Susina (Mark 2400). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

NFL Preview: Super Bowl & Divisions

The NFL Preseason is usually a wasteland filled with a bunch of games that the league pretends matter and an HBO show that probably should have ended after its Rex Ryan New York Jets peak. This week was not usual. I can count on two fingers the NFL retirements in my lifetime that were as shocking as Luck’s. Both, oddly enough, came at the expense of Detroit. Nevermind, that is the opposite of odd. Sorry Detroit.

But even if Barry Sanders’ retirement had more shock value (he was only 1,500 yards from breaking the rushing record and a season removed from rushing for 2,000 yards), Luck’s has had more impact. The 1999 Lions weren’t going to make any waves in the postseason. The Colts were penciled in as the third best team in the AFC this year, and a dark horse candidate to go all the way. And it is at this point, that I should come clean that Captain Caveman’s retirement, while completely his prerogative, has negatively affected my life.

I had the Colts to win the Super Bowl at 22 to 1. Yeah. I found those odds, I pounced on those odds, I was going to enjoy knowing that I wasn’t likely to cash them but that I’d still out smarted a certain book until some dreary Sunday in January when Luck got torn about by a Belichick defense…and then Andrew Luck retired in August. But enough of my gambling sob stories; let’s get to some NFL futures picks.

Division Winners

I’d play a full unit on these:

  1. Redskins at +2400 at (this is insane; nobody in that division should be getting priced at less than a 10% chance of winning it. Well, maybe the Giants, but nobody else).
  2. Niners at +500 on
  3. Vikings at +240 on
  4. Bears at +200 on
  5. Chargers at +200 on

In the AFC North, we have an interesting situation where you can arbitrage about a 6% guaranteed return on your wagers by betting this strategy (the question is how much you can get down to make that 6% interesting):

  • Steelers at +185 on (bet ratio 5.0)
  • Ravens at +350 on (bet ratio 7.9)
  • Browns at +185 on (bet ratio 8.0)
  • Bengals at +2671 on (bet ratio 0.8)

If you only want to take one of the AFC North contenders above, I think the Browns at +185 is the best value. That’s what I’ll be taking.

Super Bowl Champ

So, as with the NCAAF championship futures, there is no real value at the top of the list for Super Bowl futures. The books don’t have to offer fair odds on the Pats to get all of greater New England and the dude in your office who won’t shut up about (Insert Pats scandal)-gate to bet a wad on them to repeat. There are a couple of plays that stand out for value at a particular book however. I’d play each of these for 1/4 unit:

  1. Chargers at +2000 on
  2. Browns at +1850 on

That’s all for Division and Super Bowl Futures. I’ll be back later in the week with part 2 of the NFL Preview focusing on Win Totals. Until then, stay sharp.

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