NFL Odds: One Division-Winner Parlay To Consider With Big Payout

Who's riding with the Rams, Bengals and Colts parlay?


August 10

It’s always exciting any time you can risk a little to make a lot. That’s why betting futures with long odds and making parlays are so popular. While it is fun, it’s important to remember that odds are made longer for a reason. The bigger the odds, the lower probability you have and the less likely you are to cash. Otherwise, everyone would be rich and Vegas wouldn’t have so many casinos.

However, you may find a futures bet where you believe the bookmakers or the market aren’t giving a team or player enough respect. That’s when it’s smart to hop on that team as a long shot. If your prediction turns out to be right, you can get ahead of the market and the cash out could be sweet. Think how nice it would have been to have that Bengals 100/1 ticket if they won the Super Bowl. Even still, you could have guaranteed yourself a nice payday by hedging (but that’s a topic for another day). Another way to find value is with parlays. You can save yourself juice or find plus money by grouping a few favorites together, for example.

Here’s one parlay I like in terms of division winners: Rams win NFC West, Bengals win AFC North, Colts win AFC South (+1055) on FanDuel

Rams to win NFC West (+125)
Super Bowl hangover or not, the Rams have the best roster in the NFC West, and arguably in the whole conference. Since Sean McVay took the reins as head coach in 2017, Los Angeles has been top ten in offensive efficiency, according to points added per play. That success has been reflected in their record as they’re 62-29 including the postseason under McVay. I don’t see that changing this season, especially with them returning the core that won it all last season. They have a cheat code of a receiver in Cooper Kupp that led the league in targets, catches, yards, and receiving touchdowns in 2021 and shows no signs of slowing down. Talk about Stafford’s elbow being an issue is worrisome, but he threw without limitations after the announcement, so I have faith they have the situation managed. On defense, they have Aaron Donald, who is not only premier at his position but is a player that is considered the most dominant player in the NFL. He was ranked No. 1 by PFF for the 50 best players in the league heading into last season, to no surprise. Three Defensive Player of the Year awards and six All-Pro selections will lead to that type of conversation. In the offseason they did lose wideout Robert Woods and pass rusher Von Miller among a few other names. However, they added two Pro Bowl caliber talents in Allen Robinson and linebacker Bobby Wagner. Depth might be seen as a concern, but compared to the rest of the NFC West, they have plenty of help on the roster.

Bengals to win AFC North (+180)
The Bengals are the one team in this parlay not considered a favorite to win their division on FanDuel. However, I think they should be, which is I like the value even more. If you have watched any of the “Ultimate Betting Show” (M-F 5:30 on NESN), you have heard me talk about my high expectations for the Bengals this season. A lot of those expectations ride on quarterback Joe Burrow. So, of course, it doesn’t help that Burrow has been on the sidelines of practice after having surgery to remove his appendix in July. However, head coach Zac Taylor says he is optimistic Burrow will be back by Week 1. With a healthy quarterback situation, let me put this division into perspective. We’re talking about two limited quarterbacks in Mitch Trubisky and Jacoby Brissett starting for the Steelers and Browns respectively. Those are two teams that might have defenses to win them games, but don’t come close to the ceiling of the Bengals and Baltimore Ravens’ offense. In my eyes, Baltimore is the only legitimate threat. Health was its downfall last season but this off-season the Ravens traded their No. 1 receiver in Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. First-round pick Rashod Bateman is their new top target in just his second year. Can he produce the same 146 targets, 91 catches and 1,000+ yard season that Brown had in 2021? He could, but that connection between Jackson and Brown was special, and it might take time for Bateman and Jackson to develop similar chemistry. In Cincinnati, Burrow has a wealth of riches in terms of weapons with Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins in the passing game while having star Joe Mixon in the backfield. I understand the Bengals were considered a team that “overachieved” last season but I see them as a team that people didn’t expect enough from. I wasn’t surprised about their success in 2021 (and bet on them often throughout the season). What was obvious was their offensive line was their biggest weakness. The good news is, they addressed that issue in the offseason, with the addition of right tackle La’El Collins, right guard Alex Cappa and veteran interior lineman Ted Karras. The Bengals have good depth and the Ravens simply don’t have enough in terms of playmakers. An injury or two could put them right back to where they were last year. If anything, the thought of Baltimore’s low floor might make you feel better about this leg of the parlay if you’re not decked out in orange and black like I am.

Colts to win AFC South (-120)
The Colts are the biggest favorite of their division among these three. Their win total at FanDuel says a lot about bookmakers and the market’s expectations. Their total is set at 9.5, juiced -160 to the over. The Titans have a win total set at 9.5 as well, but it’s juiced to the under at -135. The Jaguars win total is set at 6.5 and the Texans win total is set at 4.5. I agree with these numbers, for a few reasons. While the Jaguars and Texans might be better this season, I don’t see either of them finishing on top, so let’s focus on the Colts and Titans. Starting with the Titans — they lost their two main receivers in A.J. Brown and Julio Jones this offseason. They combined for almost 30% of Ryan Tannehill’s 531 attempts last season. Sure, they have workhorse Derrick Henry in the run game, but this is a passing league and both Tannehill and Henry are working behind an offensive line that took a step back this offseason, resulting in a mix of rookies and linemen who were on last year’s roster and weren’t starting. I think the Titans will be decent but I see more losses and close games on their tough schedule. Indianapolis managed to upgrade at quarterback with Matt Ryan, who ranked eight places higher than Wentz in PFF grades last season, without losing any major pieces. Ryan might not be a spring chicken but he is a veteran who has proven to be accurate, productive and consistent. He has had less than 4,000 yards just once since 2011 with a 65% completion percentage or better in all but one of the last 10 seasons. He also has 25+ touchdown passes in nine of his 14 seasons. Even better, he’s working behind one of the best offensive lines in football and is leading his team through a schedule that is considered to be the third easiest in the NFL, based on projected win totals from Vegas oddsmakers. Even better, if the schedule really is easy enough and they’re playing from ahead often they can just hand the ball off to the best running back in the league. Jonathan Taylor led the league in rush attempts, yards, 20-plus and 40-plus yard plays and rushing touchdowns last season. On defense, they acquired former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore to improve the secondary and Yannick Ngakoue from the Raiders to bolster the pass rush. These two names are added to a defensive roster that allowed the eighth fewest points per game last season. The Colts will be an issue for the rest of the AFC South and should separate themselves from the pack.

Remember: The parlay doesn’t cash unless each leg hits, and in this case, each team wins their division. If you’re confident like I am in each leg, you can bet the individual teams separately (as straight bets), and sprinkle the parlay for fun. As always, keep your bankroll in mind and bet responsibly.

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