News & Analysis

Favorite NFL futures bets ahead of Week 17

Dec 19, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) before game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Week 16 was unpredictable, with the Washington Football Team, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts losing games they should have won and the Tennessee Titans making us wait another week to cash out on their AFC South futures.

There’s not a ton in the way of value, but many of the bets below will resolve at the end of the week, meaning there are some places to hedge if you wish.

Generally speaking, hedging is not good unless the second bet has positive expected value (you can look to PFF Greenline to see if we think they are). However, a hedge trades return on investment for a reduction in variance, so if the latter is what you’re after, consider some of the options below.

Already Resolved

Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West: +190 after Week 1 (Win)

Green Bay Packers to win the NFC North: -140 after Week 2 (Win)

Philadelphia Eagles to miss the playoffs: -170 after Week 2 (Win)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the NFC South: +100 after Week 3 (Loss)

New England Patriots to win the AFC East: +125 after Week 3 (Loss)

Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North: -165 after Week 6 (Loss)

Philadelphia Eagles to miss the playoffs: +154 after Week 10 (Loss)

Minnesota Vikings to miss the playoffs: -270 after Week 12 (Win)

Resolved This Week

Tennessee Titans to win the AFC South: +125 after Week 1, now -420

Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC South: +125 after Week 15, now +320

You’re guaranteed a win on the combination of these two. We have some Titans exposure from this offseason you might have to worry about if you followed along. With an Indianapolis win over Jacksonville likely, the recourse here would be a bet on Houston at +7.5 or +265. However, given questions surrounding Deshaun Watson’s availability, I would let it ride.

Arizona Cardinals to make the playoffs: +104 after Week 2, now off the board

Cleveland Browns to make the playoffs: -182 after Week 4, now -480

Miami Dolphins to make the playoffs: +184 after Week 8, now -230

Indianapolis Colts to miss the playoffs: +114 after Week 9, now +235

Cleveland Browns to make the playoffs: -245 after Week 11, now -480

If you’re holding an Arizona to make the playoffs bet, you get some luck with the Packers having to play out the string against the Bears and the Rams' injury-riddled quarterback situation. Of the AFC bets, Indianapolis is the best one to be on the NO side of. Cleveland is currently favored at home against the Steelers, making a hedge with a sizeable middle opportunity currently available at +7 or +265.

Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East: -125 after Week 5, now +210

Washington Football Team to win the NFC East: +425 after Week 7, now -125

Washington Football Team to win the NFC East: +160 after Week 13, now -125

In this situation, you’re set up pretty well. If the Giants win the NFC East, you lose all three of these. However, since the Giants play Sunday afternoon, if they win and you are concerned at all about the Washington Football Team on Sunday night, you can fire away on Philly at around +108 as a hedge.

Super Bowl

Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl: +550 after Week 1, now +190

Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl: +190 and +1400 after Week 1, now +1100

Green Bay Packers to win the Super Bowl: +2600 after Week 1, now +550

Green Bay Packers to win the Super Bowl: +700 after Week 14, now +550

All of these have value, and I would add Buffalo to the list of futures bets that show promise going into Week 17.

Other Considerations

We have some season-long exposure to Las Vegas UNDER 7.5 wins, and while there is not a hedge that will guarantee a profit at this point (Vegas was +100 on Sunday, now -136), if your nerve endings are frayed from the past few weeks with this Raiders squad, it’s not the worst way to trade return on investment for a reduction in variance going into the week.

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