Here are 5 NFL futures bets that you have to make ahead of the new football season, from player props to division winners.
NFL Futures bets – they’re an oasis to the diehard football fan or bettor.
The 2023 NFL season is so close we can taste it. Daily training camp updates, predictions, free agent signings… yet limited games and opportunities to wager on one of our favorite leagues and sports.
Preseason games are one thing, but some fans refuse to bet on such unpredictability.
Thankfully we have futures bets. These are wagers based on a player’s or team’s performance placed before the season starts at enhanced payouts. The trade-off is your money is tied up for months at a time in exchange for a larger payout.
Predicting say, Patrick Mahomes to win MVP after the regular season ends is one thing. Predicting it in August is another level of prognostication, and sportsbooks reward you with greater payouts.
With that in mind, here are five futures bets you need to make today for the 2023 NFL season.
NFL Futures Bet 1: Aaron Rodgers Under 3950.5 Passing Yards
Odds: (-110 at DraftKings)
In case you’ve been under a rock since Super Bowl LVII, there’s a new quarterback for New York’s AFC franchise, and Jets fans are filled with a confidence some haven’t seen since the days of Joe Namath.
And rightfully so. It’s impossible to overstate the upgrade from Zach Wilson to Aaron Rodgers. But how will Rodgers lead the Jets? Is the plan to have him light up the scoreboard, or simply be trusted as a seasoned veteran to make the right throws?
I’m betting on the latter. Second-year RB Breece Hall is expected to be fully healthy for the start of the season and make a strong 1-2 combo at running back with Michael Carter – just as Rodgers had in Green Bay last year with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
Speaking of last year, Rodgers attempted 542 passes in 2022, and still fell about 300 yards short of the number needed to cash this over.
Oh, have we mentioned he turns 40 years old in the middle of the season? He’s remarkably durable, but any missed time at all makes this milestone just about out of reach. And the Jets’ offensive line isn’t exactly a fortress.
I see a strong season for the Jets, but there’s just too much in the way of Rodgers putting up numbers like these.
NFL Futures Bet 2: Jahmyr Gibbs To Win Offensive Rookie of the Year
(+1100 at FanDuel)
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In April, experts heralded the Atlanta Falcons as big winners in the 2023 NFL Draft when they snagged Texas running back Bijan Robinson with the 8th overall pick.
Four picks later, the Detroit Lions grabbed Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs – and were widely trashed as “wasting a pick” or “reaching.”
Why? Yes, Robinson ran for 600 more yards last season in college than Gibbs, but the yards per carry were identical (6.2 each). Gibbs is unquestionably the stronger receiver of the two, and even returned kicks for a time in college (though this is admittedly unlikely in the NFL).
So, Why Gibbs?
But OK, let’s give the benefit of the doubt… Robinson was the higher pick, the better-regarded prospect.
Meanwhile, Gibbs plays in an offense loaded with weapons on a team that experts have drooled over all offseason. His offensive coordinator in Detroit is Ben Johnson, a 37-year-old rising star touted as a future head coach. Johnson has spent the offseason talking about the ability to ‘multiply’ his offense in year two (last season was his first in Detroit).
I’m guessing his first-round pick plays a big role in that multiplicity. Gibbs’ skillset out of the backfield allows Johnson the opportunity to use him as a hybrid RB/WR, not unlike how the “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams used Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk or more recently, the Saints with Alvin Kamara.
There are three top rookie quarterbacks this season – Bruce Young, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson. Good luck predicting who thrives and who struggles.
Between these two running backs, it’s too close to call. One was drafted higher and ran for more yards in college.
The other is more versatile, plays in a more complete offense, and has one of the league’s best coordinators calling his plays.
Give me the guys whose odds are +1100 (Gibbs) over the guy at +250 (Robinson).
NFL Futures Bet 3: Philadelphia Eagles to Win NFC East
(-110 at BetMGM)
For the record, are is the rough order of how much I like each of my favorite NFL Division Champions futures picks (all at BetMGM):
- Philadelphia Eagles (-110) to win NFC East
- Tennessee Titans (+375) to win AFC South
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+750) to win NFC South
So, from the top:
Eagles to Win NFC East (-110)
Best offensive line in the game. One of the best NFL future bets to make.
Deepest defensive line in the game.
Prolific, dual-threat QB who just turned 25, throwing to a pair of receivers (AJ Brown and Devonta Smith) who emerged as one of the league’s top duos a year ago.
Two new running backs (Rashaad Penny, D’Andre Swift) with something to prove on one-year deals.
One of the league’s best cornerback tandems (Darius Slay, James Bradberry).
And we all saw the ending to Super Bowl LVII. Let’s just say they’ve got something to prove.
I know the history of teams in the NFC East (no one has repeated as division champions since 2001-2004, when the Eagles won four straight).
Guess what? This team is better than that one. And who scares you in this division? The Cowboys, on their umpteenth year of the Dak Prescott era?
The Giants, with Saquon Barkley pouting over Daniel Jones’ new contract?
The Commanders? Who’s playing quarterback?
This is too good to pass up at -110.
Titans to Win AFC South (+375)
Sometimes you’re not betting on the player or the team, you’re betting on the number.
That’s the case here. Simple probability. I’m tossing the Colts and Texans from consideration for the AFC South title because both teams are breaking in a rookie quarterback. So what is the best future number in the NFL?
I’m down to Jacksonville and Tennessee. The Jaguars took a leap forward last year with a division title and playoff victory, but it’s rare that a team ascends to the top of the league that rapidly without facing some adversity.
Jacksonville’s offense looks loaded, but a ball-control team like the Titans matches up well head-to-head. There are no sure things in the NFL, but what’s the most dependable feature of either of these two teams?
If you answered “Derrick Henry at running back” we’re thinking alike.
If we’re considering it a two-team race, you’d never get odds like +375 on a money line in a game between the two teams. So take them here over the full season. One injury, one bad bounce, one emerging player makes all the difference in the NFL.
Buccaneers to Win NFC South (+750)
This is the smallest of my three divisional plays, because there’s a lot not to like about Tampa Bay in 2023.
Namely, going from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield (or Kyle Trask) at quarterback, otherwise known as “the biggest downgrade in the history of football.”
But look closer – a few dramatic comebacks obscured the fact that Brady kind of stunk in his final year, averaging only 6.4 yards per pass attempt (30th in the NFL).
Reports out of training camp say RB Rachaad White is turning heads and ready to be a three-down back. The offensive line is healthy again, including All-Pro LT Tristan Wirfs.
And while I recommended avoiding Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in fantasy drafts due to the loss of Brady… I can’t get EVERY prediction right, can I?
In all seriousness, the last factor on this wager is the competition. Which NFC South team fills you with confidence?
The Saints, with a new QB and missing Alvin Kamara for several games?
The Panthers, with a rookie QB, limited weapons at his disposal, and no more Christian McCaffrey?
Or the Falcons, with another inexperienced QB, defensive issues galore and an unproven head coach?
It’s very possible the Buccaneers won’t be any good. But they know they’re limited and replacing a legend going into the season. They can plan around that, where the other NFC South teams are riddled with question marks.
All these teams could struggle… why not take the biggest price on the board at +750?
NFL Futures Bet 4: Russell Wilson to Win Comeback Player of the Year
(+2000 at BetRivers)
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Oh boy, is this one going to be unpopular.
So let’s state the obvious up front – Damar Hamlin’s story is one of the most inspiring events in recent sports history. If he successfully completes the 2023 NFL season, he will win Comeback Player of the Year, and no one will question that decision.
There’s no reason to believe Hamlin’s health crisis from last January would repeat itself – he’s at no greater danger of such a tragic occurrence than any other player. But it’s impossible to assess how he’ll react to returning to football.
Add to that the everyday risks that come with playing professional football even without an incident like what happened to Damar Hamlin. What if he turns an ankle, pulls a muscle, or breaks a bone? The NFL wouldn’t award him Comeback Player of the Year if he’s sidelined.
Or let’s consider another scenario: Wilson, one of the league’s most recognizable figures, bounces back under new coach Sean Payton to enjoy a vintage season. He erases last year’s disaster for the Broncos and rejuvenates both the franchise and his own career by returning to his previous MVP-contending form. Could this make hime one of the Best NFL futures to consider?
Say this happens while Hamlin enjoys a perfectly ordinary season as a reserve defensive back for Buffalo. You’re telling me EVERY voter would want to give the award to Hamlin out of pure sentiment? No one will choose to recognize Wilson (or Lamar Jackson, who’s in a comparable situation to Wilson and has odds of +2500)?
In a way, I’m rooting against myself on this one because Hamlin’s story is so incredible. But a bounce-back season for Russell Wilson would be awfully hard to ignore, especially if…
NFL Futures Bet 5: Denver Broncos to Make the AFC Playoffs
(+190 at DraftKings)
The last of our best NFL Futures picks for 2023/24 involves the franchise from Denver.
New coach Sean Payton threw down the gauntlet when he called out last year’s Broncos coach, Nathaniel Hackett. “It was one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL,” said Payton of his predecessor. “Everything I’ve heard about last year, we’re doing the opposite.”
Strong words. And the comments weren’t well received by even members of the Broncos organization. The same people who fired Hackett after just one season.
But here’s the thing – Payton can’t take those words back. So he better back them up. And let’s be honest, I’m taking Sean Payton’s track record over Hackett’s every day.
Wilson just can’t be that bad again. I’m not even worried about ‘jinxing’ him by saying that. That’s how terrible 2022 was, with only 16 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions for a QB who usually throws about 3.5 TDs for every INT.
Javonte Williams comes off a knee injury and appears ready to go from week one at running back. Jerry Jeudy’s profile at WR screams “breakout season” under Payton’s system. Mike McGlinchey comes over from San Francisco to anchor the offensive line.
And the defense, led by the NFL’s best cornerback in Pat Surtain II, ranked seventh in the league last year despite the implosion happening around them.
I don’t think the Broncos topple the Chiefs for the AFC West title, but there are three wild-card spots per conference. I like this team to get to 9-10 wins and be right in the thick of that race, and I’ll buy into that at +190.
NFL Future Bets: Round Up
These are just a few of the futures bets available for the 2023 NFL season. You can wager on each team’s win total, predict the eventual Most Valuable Player (by the way, Tua Tagovailoa at +2200 almost made this list) or even pick the eventual Super Bowl matchup.
NFL futures bets provide just enough excitement and big potential payouts to keep you busy until the games start for real on September 7.