With OTAs in full swing around the NFL, let’s examine three bets to make on the division winner futures market.
We start with one of my favorite bets in all of sports right now: the New Orleans Saints to win the NFC South.
New Orleans Saints to win NFC South +115 on DraftKings
In arguably the busiest and most explosive offseason in NFL history, one of the biggest chess pieces that moved was Derek Carr going from the Las Vegas Raiders to the Saints. Last season, in a division that had the greatest quarterback to ever play the game in Tom Brady, with a myriad of injuries up and down the roster, a losing overall record and Andy Dalton way past his prime as the starting QB, New Orleans still managed to finish just a game out of being at the top of the NFC South. Now healthy and with Brady retired, I think the upgrade to Carr will pay dividends for the Saints. This division isn’t much better this season; you could make the case it’s worse collectively. New Orleans is always a difficult place to play for road teams and it’s worth noting the Saints’ defense ranked in the top five statistically last season. Not only can this team win the division. It also could prove to be a tough out in the postseason. Let’s bet the Saints to win the NFC South at +115 available on DraftKings.
Seattle Seahawks to win NFC West +200 on DraftKings
The Seahawks flew under the radar last season in what many pundits expected to be a rebuilding year after losing star QB Russell Wilson. Head coach Pete Carroll had other plans, however, as Seattle finished with a winning record and made it to wild-card weekend. QB Geno Smith resurrected his career and won Comeback Player of the Year. Smith was rewarded this offseason by signing a three-year, $75 million contract extension. With the QB position solidified, that gives the Seahawks a clear advantage over the mighty San Francisco 49ers, who are having issues at that key position. Seattle had an amazing NFL draft and Carroll shows no signs of slowing down at the ripe age of 71 years old. Sprinkle in the 12th Man at Lumen Field, which is always formidable, and I’m willing to bet on the Seahawks to win the NFC West at +200 available on DraftKings.
Cincinnati Bengals to win AFC North +140 on DraftKings
QB Joe Burrow and his Bengals were in the mix for potentially having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs last season. They had everything you could ask for with a home game on the primetime stage of “Monday Night Football” against a team in the Buffalo Bills who were competing for the same thing. Of course, we know the rest of the story, with the horrific incident that took place on the field that night, forcing the NFL to postpone the game altogether. We also know the Kansas City Chiefs went on to have home-field advantage and rode that to another Super Bowl ring for Patrick Mahomes, including a thrilling win over the Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium. This season will be different. Mahomes and Burrow are the new age Brady and Peyton Manning. With his postseason success, it seems Mahomes is playing the part of Brady in this analogy. Let’s remember that as great as Brady was, Manning was always there as his nemesis, putting up all-time numbers in his own right. Manning also was able to power his way to two Super Bowls during the Brady era. I believe Burrow fits that Manning narrative perfectly. Burrow is so gifted and has so many weapons in Cincy that he will get his share of MVPs and a few rings along the way. This year could be his first for both feats. I’ll roll the dice on Burrow this season. Give me Cincinnati to win the AFC North at +140 available on DraftKings.