Favorite NFL Futures Bets: NFC South
I will be doing a series on all 8 NFL divisions and targeting the NFL Futures Bets that I like. I’m not going to bet on every team. I am looking for value in the bet and picking my spots for bets I like. After reviewing offseason moves, NFL Draft picks, Strength of Schedule, and more, these are the bets I like for the NFC South.
-Current Win Totals are provided by FanDuel Sportsbook. Obviously, shop around for the best lines. I used the same Sportsbook for consistency.
-The NFL Strength of Schedule – see the full list and all the details here.
Current Win Total: 4.5 (OVER -120 / UNDER +100)
Strength of Schedule: 9th
My Favorite Bets:
-UNDER 4.5 wins (+100)
To predict 4 or fewer wins means I think the Falcons will be one of the worst teams in the NFL. I do believe they have one of the weaker rosters in the NFL. On top of that, they have the 9th most difficult schedule this season. This team screams rebuild. The Falcons traded away veteran QB Matt Ryan to the Colts to start this rebuild. While they did sign QB Marcus Mariota and draft stud WR Drake London in the 1st round of the 2022 NFL Draft, they have one of the league’s worst offensive lines (ranked by Sharp Football).
The Falcons’ defense is also ranked one of the league’s worst by Sharp Football. The offense led by Mariota, London, TE Kyle Pitts, and RB Cordarrelle Patterson will not be enough to carry this team to 5 or more wins. The bonus is you get this bet at plus odds.
Current Win Total: 6.5 (OVER +105 / UNDER -125)
Strength of Schedule: T-12th
Additions: QB Baker Mayfield, RB D’Onta Foreman, WR Rashard Higgins, G Austin Corbett, G/ C Bradley Bozeman, DT Matt Ioannidis, LB Damien Wilson, LB Cory Littleton, S Xavier Woods, P Johnny Hekker
Departures: QB Cam Newton, C Matt Paradis, Edge Haason Reddick, CB Stephon Gilmore, CB A.J. Bouye
Draft: OT Ikem Ekwonu, QB Matt Corral, LB Brandon Smith, Edge Amare Barno, G Cade Mays, CB Kalon Barnes
My Favorite Bets:
-OVER 6.5 Wins (+105)
-LONG SHOT ALERT:
If you believe in Mayfield and the Panthers to compete this season and want to make a fun bet or two, grab the Make the Playoff bet on FanDuel Sportsbook at +410. Remember, just like I mentioned about the Detroit Lions in the NFC North Futures article, the path to the playoffs is much easier in the NFC than in the AFC. You can also bet the Panthers to win 10 or more games at +500.
QB Baker Mayfield’s stats plummeted in pretty much every possible category in 2021 from 2020. But he was playing through several injuries, most notably a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. If Mayfield’s stats can be closer to 2020, where he had a 62.8% completion rate, 5.3% TD rate, and 1.6% INT rate, then that will be a significant upgrade over QB Sam Darnold. Darnold’s 2021 stats include a 59.9% completion rate, 2.2% TD rate, and 3.2% INT rate.
In addition to the upgrade at quarterback, RB Christian McCaffery will be back. McCaffery has dealt with several injuries the last two seasons and only has played in 10 games total in 2020 and 2021. A healthy McCaffery will add back that dynamic weapon the Panthers need back. In 2019 he had over 1300 rushing yards and 1000 receiving yards. That is a huge missing piece they were so desperately in need of the last two years.
The offensive line has also been upgraded this offseason. They signed G Austin Corbett and C Bradley Bozeman and drafted LT Ikem Ekwonu with the 6th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The best part is an improved offensive line, upgrade at QB, and return of CMC could finally truly unlock 5th-year WR DJ Moore. Moore has been consistent despite poor quarterback play, with three consecutive seasons of over 1100 receiving yards. He only has 4 TDs in each of the last three seasons, but expect that number to jump significantly with all the improvements around him in 2022.
Just like I like the Lions as a dark horse in the NFC, I like the Panthers for similar reasons. I think both teams will surprise people and may even be in the playoff race as we approach the holidays.
New Orleans Saints
Current Win Total: 8.5 (OVER +105 / UNDER -125)
Strength of Schedule: T-7th
Departures: OT Terron Armstead, LB Kwon Alexander, CB P.J. Williams, S Marcus Williams
Draft: WR Chris Olave, OT Trevor Penning, CB Alontae Taylor, LB D’Marco Jackson, DL Jordan Jackson
My Favorite Bets:
Let me list all the question marks I have about this 2022 Saints team. These unknowns are why I would stay away from making a futures bet on the Saints this year. I honestly have no idea what to expect from this team.
- RB Alvin Kamara – Will there be a potential suspension due to his legal issue? (UPDATE: it now looks like Kamara’s suspension could get delayed all the way until next season. This is not official but it looks like it is heading that way.) Still, legal issues sometimes have a way of being a distraction for a player or team.
- WR Michael Thomas – After nearly 2 seasons of dealing with a nagging ankle injury, what version of Thomas will we see? Also, will Thomas be the weapon he was when Drew Brees was his QB? The last time he played, the future Hall of Famer was his QB. Now he’ll have to get on the same page with QB Jameis Winston.
- QB Jameis Winston – Speaking of Winston, after a season-ending torn ACL last season, is Winston back to full strength to lead this team? How will he gel with Thomas and new weapons like WR Chris Olave and WR Jarvis Landry?
- New HC Dennis Allen – Will the Saints’ former defensive coordinator be able to step in and fill the role of offensive mastermind Sean Payton? Those are huge shoes to fill, and while he retained a lot of Payton’s staff for transition, this still could be a very different team from the top down.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Current Win Total: 11.5 (OVER +105 / UNDER -125)
Strength of Schedule: 4th
My Favorite Bets:
-OVER 11.5 wins (+105)
Yes, TE Rob Gronkowski retired and WR Chris Godwin is working his way back from his season-ending ACL/MCL tear. And while there is other turnover as well, including new head coach (the former Bucs OC) Todd Bowles, one very important person remains. QB Tom Brady tried to retire, but it lasted for just 40 days before he rejoined the Buccaneers.
Even though they have the 4th most difficult schedule this season, I’ve simply learned after 22 seasons before this, don’t bet against Brady. He’s entering his 23rd season and attempting to win his 2nd Super Bowl with the Bucs. That’s not a bet I’m going to bet against.
Betting the Bucs to win the NFC and Super Bowl is tempting. But they are the favorites to win the NFC at +340 and 2nd to the Bills to win the Super Bowl at +750. I typically don’t bet the favorites for the Super Bowl. So that’s more just my personal betting style and nothing against Tampa Bay.
What do you think of my NFC South bets? Will you be tailing any of these bets with me?