NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2013 NFL Predictions: Looking at NFL Futures For Next Year’s Playoffs 

Think you’ve got a sleeper Super Bowl pick that no one will see coming? Now is the time to make it. Once the season begins, or even once training camp begins, there will be no more secrets – your sleeper may become trendy, lowering your chance at a big payout. That is why there is no time to get into the Futures game like the present.

The usual suspects are at the top, of course. Choosing the Broncos to win it all when they’re 8-1 after game nine is fruitless, so now is the time to cash in – bet on NFL Futures at to ensure you lock it down in July, before everyone else realizes that PeyPey will not be denied again. Manning’s Broncos currently have 5:1 odds to win the Lombardi Trophy, meaning a $100 bet will yield a $500 payout – there’s no way one can get those numbers in September (or later).

Top AFC Title Odds

Denver Broncos: 2/1 – The obvious favorite, if they can avoid another flame-out in the playoffs. The addition of Wes Welker from their top conference rival will tilt the line heavily towards Peyton Manning and his steeds. It would not be a shock to see the Broncos’ odds at 1.5/1 or something close to that once they start decimating the rest of the league. If you want to bet them but waited this long, shame on you.

New England Patriots: 3/1 – Even after the Hernandez mess, the developing Dennard mess, the Welker mess, and the Tebow mess, the Pats remain a safe pick. Belichick and Brady know what they’re doing, half the division could be putrid, and maybe the off-field distractions will help the on-field product – the players could rally together around each other to show their pride and pride in the franchise.

Houston Texans: 5.5/1 – The Texans looked like the best team in the league for the first three quarters of last season, but struggled late, lost home-field advantage to the Pats, then got embarrassed by them again in the playoffs. The Texans’ window looks like it’s still open, and they theoretically know what they have to do to get over the hump. If you think they can overtake the Broncs and Pats, now’s the time to let it be known.

Baltimore Ravens: 8/1 – The defending champs are a tough sell – half the roster turned over, and they’ve been very-good-but-not-great for the last decade or so. Still, they have big shiny rings that say they were able to do what no other team in the NFL could last season.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 10/1 – The Steelers actually missed the playoffs last year, but some potentially savvy roster moves, plus better health from key players, will put them back in the championship picture. Since the Steelers are one of the most popular teams in America, and are almost always in the playoffs, it’s tough to get good odds on them. If you see this number rise, it could be a good gamble.


Top NFC Title Odds

San Francisco 49ers: 3/1 – The defending conference champs still look like the best team in the NFC. We have not been able to confirm if QB Colin Kaepernick’s nude cover photo for the ESPN Body Issue has impacted the line in any way. While not everyone believes in Kaepernick, the truth is that nobody believed in Alex Smith either, and the team won with him as well.

Seattle Seahawks: 4.5/1 – The Niners’ stiffest competition will probably come from within their own division. Seattle also has a fantastic defense and an unparalleled home-field advantage. If QB Russell Wilson somehow improves on an almost perfect rookie season, these guys can go all the way. Heck, even a repeat of Wilson’s 2012 performance will be enough.

Green Bay Packers: 6/1 – Same story, different year – Aaron Rodgers good, defense bad. This year the Packers actually addressed the running game in the draft, though they lost some receivers to free agency. Overall balance on offense will help them back to the Super Bowl though.

Atlanta Falcons: 8/1 – Last season’s top regular season team, these odds can be considered a slap in the face considering that they added Steven Jackson to fix the running game and made over a problematic secondary. Still, until Mike Smith, Matt Ryan & co. show that they can win appropriately in the playoffs, the monkey on their backs will continue to be an 800-lb gorilla. If this is the year you think they finally taste bush meat, these are good odds for you.

New Orleans Saints: 8/1 – A bit surprising, but despite the “Bounty-Gate” scandal, multiple assistants masquerading as head coaches, and a pitiful defense, they Saints still finished the season 7-9. They open the season hosting Atlanta – a statement win could mold their season, but also wreck your payout if you haven’t bet.

Top Super Bowl Odds

The Broncos, 49ers and Patriots are all very closely packed, and after Seattle the odds really open up. If you think the next Super Bowl winner will be anyone else, you can do some damage.

  • Broncos: 5/1
  • 49ers: 5.5/1
  • Patriots: 6/1
  • Seahawks: 8/1
  • Packers: 10/1


Sleeper Super Bowl Picks

If you bet any of the above teams, it’s a good chance that you root for one of them. The really savvy money, and best payouts, comes from getting the ones that absolutely no one saw coming. To that end, here are some good sleeper picks:

AFC Light Sleeper: Cincinnati Bengals: 15:1 AFC, 40:1 SB – The Bengals have been knocking on the door, going one-and-done in the playoffs each of the last two seasons. With Baltimore taking a step back, and Pittsburgh stil having question marks, Ginger Cannon Andy Dalton could lead this team to the next level. The defense is just about there, and with a more diversified offensive attack to complement top WR A. J. Green, the ghost of John Candy could be exorcised soon.

AFC Deep Sleeper: Miami Dolphins: 18:1 AFC, 50:1 SB – The Dolphins are the only real competition for the Pats in the AFC East, and if one of the worst offseasons in history spills over to the regular season in New England, the Fins will be there to take advantage. All eyes will be on QB Ryan Tannehill to improve, and he should. The running game has questions, but most NFL teams seem to be able to find acceptable starting RBs without a problem.

NFC Light Sleeper: Washington Redskins: 15:1 NFC, 30:1 SB – Right now the Skins, Cowboys and Giants all have the same NFC odds – but if Robert Griffin III is healthy, Washington will be the definite favorite. If you have a crystal ball and see him recovering completely and thriving in his second year, get your money on him right away – each healthy RGIII day will only mean poorer payouts when everyone else realizes he’s back. (Personal note: I hated the Skins’ draft and ripped it here, which means that all of them will turn out to be Pro Bowlers.)

NFC Deep Sleeper: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 22:1 NFC, 50:1 SB – Josh Freeman may look like the King of Pop, but if he can resemble the superstar quarterback he has shown flashes of being, the sky is the limit for this team. They’re built to win now and are strong across the roster, especially if Darrelle Revis can set up a new Island (Florida Keys East?). The amazing Doug Martin at RB, underrated-yet-somehow-overpaid Vincent Jackson at WR, and a strong cast behind them means that these aren’t your father’s Bucs – the offense cannot be stopped, but the defense is the one that needs to improve.

Hopefully this guide will help you make your NFL Futures picks. Sure, you can wait until the playoffs to put down your wagers, but the odds won’t be nearly as good, especially for the surprise teams. Think about it this way: If you’re on the Redskins bandwagon, and they turn out to be as good as you expect, you won’t see anything close to 15:1 odds again.

About the author: Jonathan Pollak

Jonathan Pollak has finally given in and started utilizing the internet to rant about football. He has been playing fantasy sports since a pencil, paper, and newspaper box scores were needed to calculate stats. His earliest and fondest memories are of Lawrence Taylor hurting people.

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