We have at least 10 weeks of data on every NFL team, so the futures markets are getting sharper. With that being said, I think there is still some value on the board that can be exploited. After searching far and wide across the market, I’ve got three futures bets to give you something to root for down the stretch of the NFL season.
Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North -130
The AFC North has been fairly wide open for anyone to take this year and while the Ravens have been a flawed team, my power ratings have them as the clear best team in the division. I project the Ravens to finish with 11.0 wins which leads the Bengals (9.2), Browns (8.8), and Steelers (8.3) by a decent margin. Baltimore has the third-toughest remaining strength of schedule in terms of opponent win percentage with games remaining against the Packers, Rams, and all three division rivals. While this is concerning, the rest of the division doesn’t have it any easier as the Browns, Steelers, and Bengals all rank within the top four of toughest remaining schedules. The Ravens already have a one-game lead over the rest of the division and will get a chance to eliminate the tiebreaker the Bengals currently have over them in a head-to-head matchup in Week 16. With a solid defense and the best coach and quarterback duo in the AFC North, I like the Ravens to take the division title.
Cincinnati Bengals under 9.5 wins -115
The Bengals have been impressive this season and they’ve almost already beaten their preseason win total of 6.5. Cincinnati is currently sitting at 6-4 with games against the Steelers, Chargers, 49ers, Broncos, Ravens, Chiefs, and Browns remaining. That is the NFL’s fourth-toughest schedule remaining which will be a difficult test for Joe Burrow and Co. My numbers have all of those games with a line of less than three except for Week 17 vs Kansas City. While these are essentially coin flip games, I project the Bengals to be favored in just two of those games. Asking this Cincinnati team, which is about league average in terms of power rating, to win four of these next seven games is something I like betting against.
Mac Jones to win offensive rookie of the year -105
We saw a similar offensive rookie of the year race last season with Justin Herbert and Justin Jefferson. While Jefferson was outstanding and broke rookie receiving records, the award still went to the quarterback. This year we have Mac Jones vs Ja’Marr Chase. The only concern I have with this bet is that the counting stats favor Ja’Marr Chase. Chase is 6th in receiving yards, tied for 3rd in receiving touchdowns, and made some incredible highlight plays that voters are going to remember. Jones is just 12th in passing yards and 15th in passing touchdowns. However, the thing about Jones is how efficient and well he’s played despite not putting up gaudy numbers. He is 4th in PFF grade which is miles ahead of any other rookie quarterback. He’s also 2nd in completion percentage, 7th in success rate, and has the 8th-lowest turnover-worthy play rate. Most importantly, he has New England looking like one of the best teams in the NFL. The Patriots are now co-favorites to win the AFC East and have the third-best odds to the AFC. The remaining schedule for Jones is also fairly easy outside of two games vs Buffalo, but if Mac can continue to play the way he has and even improve, the Patriots have a great chance to finish as one of the NFL’s best teams. A rookie quarterback on a good team with good counting stats is going to win this award and -105 is too cheap of a price to pass on.
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