Patriots To Make Playoffs, Kyle Pitts Dominance Among Best Bets For 2021 NFL Season

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September 2, 2021

There’s nothing more tantalizing for a sports bettor than the start of a new NFL season.

Few things bring the sort of joy that comes with 17-plus weeks of pigskin action to wager on, but the growth of sports betting means you’re not just limited to game-to-game action.

There’s no better way for bettors to celebrate the start of football season than by laying down some futures bets, whether it be divisional winners, win totals, award futures, season-long player props and on and on and on.

Here at NESN.com, we’re celebrating the season with some of our best bets for the upcoming season.

Ben Watanabe: D’Andre Swift OVER 900.5 rushing yards
Dan Campbell seems like the kind of coach who will want to feed his feature back, and Swift might be the rare modern running back who can take it. It’s also worth mentioning the LA Rams had a top-10 rushing attack in three of Jared Goff’s four seasons as a starter, with his mediocre 2019 season ? when he attempted more than 600 passes and the Rams went 9-7 — as the exception. It’s clear Goff needs a ground presence to be successful.

Mike Cole: Matt LaFleur, Coach of the Year +1800
What does the Green Bay Packers coach have to do to get a little love in the NFL world? The 41-year-old inherited a bit of a mess, tasked with picking up the pieces of Green Bay’s 6-9-1 sputter toward the finish line in 2019 while also trying to get buy-in from the notoriously mercurial Aaron Rodgers. All he’s done so far is go 13-3 in each of his first two seasons while helping Rodgers return to his MVP form. LaFleur probably gets dinged for having a Hall of Famer at QB, but if he can help navigate the murky offseason waters with Rodgers’ drama and come out the other side with another 13-win season, he provides solid value at 18-1.

Adam London: Hunter Henry + Jonnu Smith to combine for 1,500 regular-season receiving yards (+1200)
They say a tight end is a quarterback’s best friend. This notion can be especially true for young, inexperienced signal-callers, who can use all of the security blankets they can get. Well, rookie QB Mac Jones has two of the better TEs in the league to throw to in Henry and Smith, who combined for over 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons despite the former being limited to 26 of a possible 32 games. Reaching a combined 1,500-yard mark is very much attainable as long as both players stay healthy. The Patriots have masterfully utilized two-tight end sets in the past, and Jones could prove to lean on Smith and Henry given the state of New England’s wide receiver corps. New England is built to play ground-and-pound offensively, which could put this bet in jeopardy. But Bill Belichick and Co. had enough confidence in Jones to make him the Week 1 starter, so they should be comfortable with him letting it rip on a weekly basis.

Sam Panayotovich: Patriots to make the playoffs (+115)
All offseason long, I’ve said that the Patriots were an accurate quarterback away from being a playoff team. And now that the Cam Newton era is over, I’m more than happy to put my money on Mac Jones’ tight spirals and quick decisions. This offense will no longer be handicapped on third and five or six because opposing defenses can no longer cheat and stack the box.

New England was very efficient with offseason moves and bolstered the tight end room, offensive line and defensive front. Bill Belichick didn’t spend $70 million on a wide receiver — he rebuilt the trenches because that’s how good teams win football games.

I’ve got the Patriots as a 10- or 11-win team and will gladly take the plus-money on them to be better than Indianapolis, Miami, Pittsburgh and Tennessee. This pick just edged out Jameis Winston to lead the league in passing at 25-to-1. Feel free to make that one, too, if you’re feeling froggy.

Alexandra Francisco: Kyle Pitts to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+1000): The Falcons traded away Julio Jones over the offseason ? someone figuratively created in a test tube to be an elite NFL receiver. That’s not a player you can replace with anyone — never mind a rookie — but Atlanta will try to with Pitts. The highly touted tight end out of Florida should get a ton of targets behind Calvin Ridley, and I like this bet over the odds of some first-year quarterback entering the league and lighting the league on fire.

Sean McGuire: Aaron Rodgers to lead the league in passing yards +1400
After all the drama surrounding Rodgers this offseason, he remains in Green Bay with Davante Adams with both likely on their way out. Would it really surprise anyone for Rodgers to put up MVP-like numbers again this season as one last wave goodbye to general manager Brian Gutekunst? Rodgers, who threw for 4,299 yards last season, finished 500 or so yards behind last year’s winner Deshaun Watson, but 14-to-1 presents some decent value for the Packers gunslinger.

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images

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