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Early NFL Futures: Best Bets for Division Winners (2020)

by February 19, 2020

When it comes to futures wagering on the NFL, the earlier you can get your long-term bets in, the better. With the 2020 league year and free agency set to begin on March 18, one of the most uncertain offseasons we’ve seen in years is on tap.

That means bettors who have an inkling about how things are going to shake out would be wise to head to the window sooner rather than later in order to capitalize on early value. With that said, here’s a breakdown of the likeliest divisional winners in the upcoming campaign.

View all NFL Futures odds for Division winners across sportsbooks >>

AFC East Winner: New England Patriots (-400 at DraftKings)
I know I’m not going out on a limb with this pick, but it’s incredibly hard to go against the Patriots here. Bill Belichick and company have dominated the AFC East over the past two decades, claiming the AFC East banner 17 times in the last 19 years.

The ever-steady Pats are in a potential state of flux with the future of franchise quarterback Tom Brady up in the air. Brady is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his illustrious career, but I just can’t see him leaving the only team he’s ever known. It comes with a bit of a risk given Brady’s murky status, yet the Patriots are normally in the -800 to -900 ballpark to win the East, so -400 is relatively cheap for New England’s standards.

AFC West Winner: Kansas City Chiefs (-500 at DraftKings)
The Chiefs look like the NFL’s next great dynasty. A 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV proved that this team is poised to be a steady contender for years to come. Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is set to ink a historic contract extension soon, and head coach Andy Reid doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, meaning anyone but the Chiefs winning the AFC West in 2020 would be a major surprise.

Looking elsewhere in the division, the Las Vegas Raiders (+900), Denver Broncos (+1000), and Los Angeles Chargers (+1100) are all major long shots for a reason. None of these squads will likely be able to keep pace with K.C. for the foreseeable future. You won’t find much value in backing the Chiefs, but they’re a near-lock to win the West next year.

AFC North Winner: Baltimore Ravens (-177 at DraftKings)
Much like the Patriots and Chiefs, the Ravens are the clear front-runners for a reason. No other team in the AFC North can match the talent under center that 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson possesses.

Jackson’s breakout sophomore season has brought the Ravens from a middling club to a major threat in the AFC, and I don’t foresee them slowing down any time soon. The Steelers (+275) will be an improved bunch with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger coming back, but this division is Baltimore’s to lose.

AFC South Winner: Houston Texans (+225 at DraftKings)
Despite their postseason failures, it can’t be overlooked that the Texans have won the AFC South in four out of the last five years. On the heels of a 10-6 season and a wild-card win over the Bills, an epic collapse in a 51-31 loss to the Chiefs in the divisional round has left a sour taste in the mouths of Texans fans.

The Titans surprised everyone when Ryan Tannehill took over last year, and the Colts are reportedly in the quarterback market, but I’m not betting against the all-world talent of Deshaun Watson. Houston at +225 is an excellent value in my eyes.

NFC East Winner: Dallas Cowboys (+130 at DraftKings)
Are we sure that anybody really wanted to win the NFC East in 2019? In the ugliest divisional battle of the year, the Philadelphia Eagles narrowly beat out the Cowboys to claim the East at 9-7. Dallas failing to make the postseason led to the long-overdue dismissal of head coach Jason Garrett. In his place, ex-Green Bay Packers bench boss Mike McCarthy was hired to right the ship in the Big D.

On paper, the Cowboys roster is loaded. If McCarthy can get them back on track, a bounce-back season could be in store for the ‘Boys. With the Washington Redskins and New York Giants expected to be non-factors in the NFC, I like Dallas to beat out Philly for the top spot in the East.

NFC West Winner: San Francisco 49ers (+105 at DraftKings)
What a difference a year makes in the NFL. Fresh off a four-win season in 2018, the 49ers’ impressive 2019 performance was something to behold. Led by a ferocious defense and stellar running game, San Francisco won the NFC West at 13-3 and made it all the way to the Super Bowl.

The 49ers’ poor showing in the fourth quarter of the big game was obvious, but don’t let that deter you from betting them in futures markets. At +105, getting them in plus-money is a steal given the current makeup of their roster.

NFC North Winner: Green Bay Packers (+135 at DraftKings)
After multiple down years, the Packers’ return to relevancy in the NFC was a good sign for Green Bay futures bettors. The Pack made great strides under first-year head coach Matt LaFleur and will return largely the same roster that won 13 games in 2019.

The Chicago Bears look to be treading water with Mitchell Trubisky under center, and the Detroit Lions are projected to be bottom-feeders once again, so the Packers will have to fight off the Minnesota Vikings for the right to be crowned kings in the North. I think Green Bay is up to the task, so grab them at +135 while you can.

NFC South Winner: New Orleans Saints (-155 at DraftKings)
On February 18, Drew Brees announced that he’s going to ‘make another run at it’ with the Saints. Even at 41, Brees hasn’t shown any major signs of regression, so his decision to return to the Bayou State is bad news for every other team in the NFC South.

With the Saints eyeing a fourth straight division title, the Atlanta Falcons (+300) are likely to be their biggest challengers. Atlanta was frustratingly inconsistent across the board last year, and their 7-9 record proves it. There will come a time when the Saints aren’t tabbed as the odds-on favorites to win this division, but that day is not here yet.

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Luke Miller is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Luke, check out his archive.