The NFL season means the return of betting season unless you’re a degenerate, in which case every season is betting season.
With no shortage of online sportsbooks in addition to the Supreme Court’s historic decision to essentially legalize gambling, it’s an exciting time to be a sports bettor as the NFL season kicks off Thursday night.
Before it does, check out our best value bets for the 2018 season.
(Odds via BetOnline.ag)
Patriots to win the AFC East (-700): Is there a lot of value here? No, not at all. You’ve gotta put up $700 to make $100, but it seems like the safest bet you can find. Even if Tom Brady decides tomorrow he’s moving to a remote, undisclosed island in the Pacific, you’d probably still take the Patriots.
Matt Ryan over 24.5 touchdown passes (-145): There’s no way around it, Matt Ryan struggled in his first season within Steve Sarkisian’s offense. But there’s reason for hope. In the seven seasons prior to 2017, Ryan averaged 29 touchdown passes which obviously would blow by the number. The Falcons were puzzlingly bad in the red zone last season, a trend we can’t see continuing this year. Having Calvin Ridley in the fold won’t hurt, either.
DeAndre Hopkins over 1,300.5 receiving yards (-115): DeAndre Hopkins put up insane numbers all season in 2017, but he was especially good when Deshaun Watson was passing him the ball. Hopkins averaged 92 yards per game with Watson under center, and that includes one weird 19-yard showing vs. the Browns. If Hopkins averages 92 yards per game for the entire season, he’ll go way over the number.
NFC team to win the Super Bowl (-130): With no disrespect to the Patriots or Steelers, the NFC is the far superior conference this season. Teams like the Rams, Vikings, Eagles and Saints all would be favored or at least close to a pick ’em against any team from the AFC. Even a few of the potential wild card teams would be good bets in the Super Bowl. There is the chance the NFC teams all just beat up on each other, but it’s too tempting not to be able to choose from that lot of contenders.
Washington Redskins as NFL’s lowest-scoring team (+2000): The Redskins don’t have a lot of talent on offense. The Alex Smith acquisition looks nice on paper, but how much of his success in Kansas City was a product of Andy Reid and talented skill players around him? In D.C., well, things are different. Washington had to pick Adrian Peterson off the scrap heap after seeing its running back corps decimated by injury. On the outside, no team spends less on its wide receivers than the Redskins, and that’s how you end up with Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson as your top wideouts. Mix in a schedule that features the NFC and AFC South, and you’ve got the recipe for some low-scoring games.
Cincinnati Bengals to make the playoffs (+400): It might seem crazy, but there’s some decent value here. Everyone just assumes the Steelers will win the AFC North, but they were far from dominant last season, and that was with Le’Veon Bell suiting up, which he currently isn’t doing, and most of the season with linebacker Ryan Shazier. We don’t know when Bell will show up, and Shazier obviously isn’t coming back. Meanwhile, the Bengals do have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Putting it all together has been easier said than done, but they were also decimated by injuries. And we’re not even saying they have to win the division. Heck, we’re not even a year removed from the Buffalo Bills getting into the playoffs. It’s not going to take an 11-5 record to get a wild card in the AFC.
Will Colin Kaepernick be on an NFL roster by Week 17? (No, -300): Again, we’ve gotta give up a lot to make something here, but Colin Kaepernick has more or less given up the fight when it comes to playing in the NFL again. The message of his new Nike campaign is “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing anything.” He’s got a lawsuit against the NFL. It’s not happening, especially anytime soon.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images