2021 NFL Futures Bets to Make: Simon Hunter’s Longshot Betting Card & Notebook

2021 NFL Futures Bets to Make: Simon Hunter’s Longshot Betting Card & Notebook article feature image
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Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa

Every NFL season I’m always looking for lightning in a bottle in the futures market, finding longshots that only need to hit once in 30 years to be profitable.

These aren’t sizable wagers or commitments. For me, I’m typically throwing down 0.1 units on each. If you normally bet in $100 units, then $10 would be just fine on any longshot.

They’re called a longshot for a reason, but that doesn’t mean value isn’t out there.

Three years ago, we hit on Patrick Mahomes at +10000 to be NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year. That bet alone covers a profit in the market for the rest of my life — unless I live for 100 more years.

This year, I’ve got my eyes and money on another player I can see taking a similar second-year jump. I also have plays on Defensive Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Super Bowl winner and more.

Here are the longshots I’ve targeted for the 2021-22 NFL season. For more of my bets throughout the entire season, be sure to subscribe to The Favorites podcast.

Offensive Player of the Year

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins, +15000 (BetMGM)

Just like Mahomes, I’m always looking for that second-year jump. He’s got offensive weapons around him with three first-rounders in Devante Parker, Jaylen Waddle and Will Fuller. I like the running backs around him. I love the whole set up with Miami.

Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts, +10000 (BetMGM)

I gave this play out prior to being placed on the COVID list, but he’s back and apparently ready for Week 1. Again, just looking for lightning in a bottle from someone who has shown the ability before.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans, +8000 (BetMGM)

With so much attention on Derrick Henry, I think there’s value here. Without Henry, I could see this line being closer to +4000. In that division with the players around him, I can see him putting up the most yards and other numbers to win this award.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Asante Samuel Jr., Los Angeles Chargers, +4000 (BetMGM)

I make him the third-highest graded defensive player in the class behind Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn. Those two are +1200 and +1800, respectively, which makes me think this line is way off for a corner I love.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

I still love the value on Zach Wilson at +900. Jaylen Waddle is another at +2500. I had interest in Javonte Williams at +3000 but that number is down to the +2500 range.

Super Bowl Winner

Washington Football Team (+5000)

I know it’s the trendy Super Bowl team, but that’s my favorite play.

Miami Dolphins (+4000)

Noticing a trend? I love the Dolphins this season. You might be thinking this is a jump on the Deshaun Watson rumors, but I’m actually banking on the Watson trade not happening.

It would be a disaster if they traded for him. I can’t him see him taking the field this year. And if Miami were to acquire him, it creates quarterback drama. I hate quarterback drama and tend to fade it in the betting market, but more on that later.

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Comeback Player of the Year

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, +10000 (BetMGM)

I don’t even know why Ryan is on this list, but I have to invest at this number. I’m high on the Falcons in other areas, including Ryan to lead the NFL in passing touchdowns at +3500. That number is down to +2500. I also like the Falcons as a longshot to be the No. 1 seed in the NFC at +8000. 

I love new head coach Arthur Smith. If he can extend Ryan’s prime by another year, perhaps this becomes a feel-good story and he takes home this award.

Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers, +2000 (BetMGM)

Not as big of a longshot as the rest of these plays, but he has weapons in Carolina and a chance to show the talent and potential that got him drafted third overall.

Other Bets and Notes

  • The value is more with Tua to win Offensive Player of the Year, but I’m interested in his MVP price at +5000 as well.
  • I’ve bet Derek Carr (+4000) and Russell Wilson (+3500) each to lead the NFL in passing yards. I get why people stay away from it, but I can’t not bet Wilson at that number considering the numbers he’ll need to put up to keep Seattle in games.
  • At BetMGM, I’m on Washington-Philadelphia to finish in the top-2 in the NFC East in any order at +650. I’m down on the Giants and fading the ‘Hard Knocks’ Cowboys.
  • We talked about quarterback drama earlier. It tore apart the Eagles last season. Teams generally don’t succeed when there’s either a debate or a back-up shows some success. Tom Brady didn’t have to worry about it following the year of Matt Cassel, but I can’t think of another time a team succeeded amidst quarterback drama. It’s toxic to the whole team. I’m down on the San Francisco 49ers this season because of it.
  • People tend to forget how important home field advantage is, especially with fans returning. I believe six home dogs are getting under 30% of bets. the public might be getting slaughtered Week 1.
  • My 49ers fade starts Week 1, where I’ll be on Detroit Lions moneyline. I’ll either be a jackass or a genius right off the bat.
  • Remember, many of these longer shots are just one-tenth of a unit. They hit more than people realize, and it only has to hit once to be profitable. Most bettors are stuck on last year. Fade the noise of what happened last year and you’ll find value all over.
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