NFL Futures Bets: Packers, Browns and Ravens Headline Favorite Team Futures Bets for 2021 NFL Season
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Packers’ David Bakhtiari (left) celebrates with Aaron Rodgers (right).
What are the futures to bet before the 2021 NFL season kicks off? The Cowboys and Buccaneers are getting ready to showdown at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Thursday. Dak Prescott is making his return from a season-ending injury and Tom Brady is looking to defend the Bucs’ Super Bowl title as he enters his age-44 season — but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun before kickoff!
While we all wait for game time, our experts break down all of their favorite team futures for this season.
Our Favorite NFL Team Futures Bets
Packers to Have Most NFL Wins (+2000) at DraftKings
Brandon Anderson: Did you know that the Green Bay Packers were pretty good last year? Yeah! It’s true! The Packers went 13-3, and they did it the year before too. And it’s like the books don’t even know, because the Packers are long shots at 20-1 to lead the league in wins.
And sure, some of the underlying numbers suggest a step back is coming for Green Bay. The metrics think Green Bay was closer to an 11-5 team than 13-3 last year, but last year’s team was an obvious regression candidate that matched its 13-3 season from 2019.
Hey, you know what’s a good antidote to regressing? Having one of the most talented players in football history. Aaron Rodgers keeps the Packers on the straight and narrow and gives them a chance in any game.
The Packers have an elite player at the league’s five most important positions: Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams, left tackle David Bakhtiari, edge rusher Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander. Green Bay has a balanced attack with a strong run game, and an offensive line that should be fine once Bakhtiari returns. The defense is built to protect leads with its pass rush and secondary.
And Rodgers is still Rodgers.
Add those factors to a very soft division — one in which the Lions and Bears look bad and Minnesota might be on its way to joining them — and this is a surprisingly winnable schedule for a reigning first-place team. The NFC West is strong but deep, and those teams will cannibalize each other’s chance at a top record. The same could happen to the Ravens and Browns.
It feels like Green Bay just needs to beat out Tampa and Kansas City for most wins, and both of those teams have some red flags.
Green Bay wouldn’t quite be my favorite to win the most games, but +2000 is patently insane for a team coming off back-to-back 13-3 seasons with the reigning MVP. I’ll take my chances.
Texans Exact Division Finishing Position Fourth (-230) at FanDuel
Raheem Palmer: I’ll never be the guy to say something is free money but you’d be hard pressed to find any NFL team who will be as bad as the Houston Texans are this season.
To say their season outlook is bleak is an understatement. They’ll be without three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose future is unclear amid sexual assault allegations.
The Texans finished 4-12 last season and you have to wonder if they would have gone completely winless without Watson, a task they’ll be facing this season.
While Watson was able to help this team remain competitive, playing in 10 one-score games last season, that won’t be the case this year. This is an aging roster and team in transition, which should challenge for the worst record in the league.
Last season, Houston was 30th in Football Outsiders’ Defensive DVOA and 29th against both the pass and rush. There isn’t much to suggest things have gotten better this season.
If the Texans don’t win their opening-day matchup against the Jaguars, it’s likely that they won’t have a legitimate chance at winning until Week 12 against the Jets. With the Jaguars’ imminent improvement, along with the Titans and Colts looking to be the favorites to win the division, laying -230 on the Texans to finish last in the division is stealing money.
Any AFC North Team to Win the Conference (+250) at DraftKings
Anderson: For me, the AFC is four teams and everyone else. It’s the Chiefs, Bills, Browns and Ravens, and then it’s a tier — or a couple tiers — drop-off before anyone else.
I’m going to need to see Josh Allen and Brian Daboll run it back again before I believe last year wasn’t at least a bit of a fluke. Allen made such an outlandish leap forward that he’s almost certain to regress some, and the rest of this Buffalo roster feels more good than great. The Bills played an easy schedule last year, but face a tougher division in 2021 after outperforming expectations by more than two wins.
The Chiefs are the presumed favorites, but this team has some real red flags. The defense looks like one of the 10 worst in the NFL, which means the offense will have to do everything. With Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, that’s certainly always possible, but the offense is getting super thin with Sammy Watkins, Damien Williams and others gone. The Chiefs also faced a beefed-up AFC West.
Since I don’t really believe in the Bills or Chiefs, that leaves only two options left to win the AFC, and both reside in the North.
The Browns already had the offense but might round into a top defense by the end of the season with all their new additions. Another step forward from Baker Mayfield could make them one of the best all-around teams.
The Ravens remain one of the league’s best rushing attacks and always have the hidden edges in coaching, special teams and defense. Baltimore almost always puts itself in a good spot for a playoff run.
This is a chance to fade the Chiefs and Bills, as well as the rest of the weak AFC, while throwing my weight behind Baltimore and Cleveland. Heck, I even get the Steelers for good measure, just in case, and they could end up the fifth-best AFC team if Big Ben gets right.
Any team in the AFC North to win the conference at +250? Yes please.
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