As we are only a few days away from the NFL regular season, here are my favorite future bets going into the season. As always, bet responsibly :)
Team Win Totals
Houston Texans - Under 4 Wins
Amidst the Deshaun Watson drama, the Texans are not at all focused on the football field. Watson played last season and the Texans won 4 games. One more game this season but Tyrod Taylor will be the starting QB in Houston. All signs point to them wanting the #1 overall pick in the 2022 draft, so 3-14 or worse is probably a good bet.
Buffalo Bills - Over 11 Wins
The Bills went 13-3 last season behind a stellar season from Josh Allen. He and Stefon Diggs developed a great connection very quickly and will build on that this year. Zack Moss will be better and have a bigger role in year 2 in the backfield. Buffalo is going to be in command in their division, hopefully beating up on the Dolphins, Patriots, and Jets. With an extra game on the schedule this year, they could even regress a little bit from last year and still hit over 11 wins.
Green Bay Packers - Over 10 Wins
After a 13-3 season in 2020 and a MVP season from Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay is looking to fight their demons from the playoffs. Another down year for the NFC North should help Green Bay win a lot of games again this season. They should win virtually every division game they play. Similar to the Bills, even if they regress a little bit from last year they should still easily hit over 10 wins.
Detroit Lions - Under 4.5 Wins
The Lions traded away the only player that had kept them afloat for the past decade. Jared Goff is now the starting QB in Detroit and he is in for a rude awakening. Instead of having Todd Gurley, Robert Woods, or Cooper Kupp to throw to, he has TJ Hockenson and a bunch of young or unproven wide receivers and running backs. They just simply don't have the talent on either side of the ball to win games. They went 5-11 last season with Stafford orchestrating 3 different 4th quarter game-winning drives. They won't be tanking under head coach Dan Campbell, but it's just going to be tough for them especially in a division where you face good defenses every game.
Season Long Player Props
Aaron Rodgers Passing Yards: Under 4,550.5 yards
Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. This is nothing against Rodgers, but this is just a wildly high number for a guy that has only thrown over 4,550 yards once in his career. With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon forming a solid backfield in Green Bay, Rodgers should have similar season to last year, when he threw for 4,299 yards.
Lamar Jackson Passing Yards: Under 3,450.5 yards
Again this isn't a critique of Jackson. We know who he is as a player. Even if he is improving as a passer the Ravens game plan is going to stay the same. They are going to run the ball down their opponent's throat. Lamar, Gus Edwards, and whoever else they throw out there, all are going to get a lot of rushing attempts. In his best season in 2019 he threw for 3,127 yards, and last season he threw for 2,757 yards. He is going to continue to hover around that 3,000 yard mark for the foreseeable future.
CeeDee Lamb Receiving TD's: Over 6.5 Touchdowns
All I have seen the entire off-season and training camp has been insane contested catches for touchdowns by CeeDee Lamb. In his rookie season he had 5 receiving touchdowns, and that was without a good quarterback for the last 12 weeks of the season. Dak Prescott is going to target Lamb in the redzone a ton.
Cooper Kupp Receiving TD's: Over 6 Touchdowns
As Jared Goff's favorite target the last few seasons, Kupp has seen a lot of targets. With Matthew Stafford coming to town, we'll see if Kupp's production with a result of his connecting with Goff or if he is just that good of a WR. Stafford is leaps and bounds better than Goff, and Kupp has had seasons of 5, 6, and 10 touchdowns in the past 4 years. This Rams offense is going to be pass heavy so as long as Kupp stays healthy he should hit this number easily.
Julio Jones Receiving TD's: Under 6.5 Touchdowns
Long recognized as one of, if not, the best wide receiver in the NFL, Jones has only had one season of double digit touchdowns, and it was when he scored 10 in 2012. Since then he has gone 2-6-8-6-3-8-6-3, in that order. He is injury prone, and is now in Tennessee where the offense is much more focused on the run. Having AJ Brown alongside him might open the field up a little, but once the ball is inside the 10 yard line the Titans offense is doing one thing and that is handing it off to Derrick Henry. Developing chemistry with a new quarterback will also not happen overnight, so it may take awhile for Jones and Tannehill to really connect.
Ezekiel Elliot Rushing Yards: Over 1100.5 Yards
I think people forget how good Zeke was before the injuries hit him the last couple seasons. In his 3 full seasons he has played in the NFL, he has finished with 1631 yards rushing, 1434 yards rushing, and 1357 yards rushing. Last season he rushed for 979 yards but on about 50 fewer attempts than those other 3 years. With Dak Prescott coming back and the defense not giving up as many points, the Cowboys should return to their well-balanced offense.
Najee Harris Rushing Yards: Over 990.5 Yards
There has been at least one rookie running back to eclipse this number of rushing yards the last 5 seasons. No rookie is going to shoulder a bigger workload than Najee Harris for the Steelers. Last year for Pittsburgh James Conner had 721 yards rushing in only 13 games and on only 169 carries. Their offensive line is good and with how much Mike Tomlin wants to give Harris the ball, and an extra game on the schedule, this should be easy to hit if he stays healthy. If you feel really good about Harris you could add his over 1350.5 scrimmage yards (rushing + receiving).
Chase Young Sacks: Over 8.5 Sacks
You haven't reached my Defensive Player of the Year pick yet...but spoiler alert it's right here. Without touching on everything, Young to record over 7.5 sacks seems like as much of a sure thing as I've written about in this article. He recorded 7.5 last season as a rookie in just 15 games. Add 2 more games and a year of experience, Young should at least be around 10 sacks this season.
MVP - Josh Allen +1200
Similar to how Lebron James and Mike Trout don't win the MVP every year in their respective sports, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers have to have historic seasons to win the MVP in the NFL. This is why I love Josh Allen as an "underdog" to win the MVP at +1200. First of all it is great value for a guy who was arguably a top-3 MVP candidate last season leading the Bills to a 13-3 record. With the AFC East looking weaker than normal, the Bills could be looking at another 13 or 14 win season in which Allen could make a great case for MVP.
Defensive Player of the Year - Chase Young +850
As I said before, Young has a chance to follow up his solid rookie year with a stellar sophomore season for the WFT. Peter Hailey of NBC Sports wrote an article about how he thought Young could double his sack output of 7.5 from last season. The stat that stuck out the most from it was that players who had similar rookie seasons to Young had huge improvements in their second season. "Khalil Mack surpassed his rookie sack total by a whopping 11 in his second go-round in the league. Von Miller beat his by seven, Myles Garrett outdid his by 6.5 and TJ Watt eclipsed his by six." Any DPOY pick is going to be decent value, but I see Young as the best bet combined with odds to win and his value at +850.
Rookie of the Year - Justin Fields +600
Trevor Lawrence and Mac Jones are going to be the popular picks here, since they have been handed the starting role on their teams and will immediately deliver some sort of production starting Week 1. If Fields had been given the starting job in Chicago, he would most likely be the favorite to win this award. I don't see him going longer than 3 weeks without being named the starter, so his production should still be there at the end of the season. Of the 3 quarterbacks I named, Fields has by far the most talented pieces around him. A legit #1 receiver in Allen Robinson, along with Darnell Mooney, and David Montgomery in the backfield. If Fields can get the Bears to 8 or 9 wins I think he takes home the award. Quarterbacks win rookie of the year the most in the NFL, with running backs being second.
Super Bowl Champions
(I'm giving 2 picks because I can)
I mean there isn't much explaining I need to do. The Chiefs won the Super Bowl 2 years ago and lost last season to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. It's hard to pick against Brady but Mahomes is the best player in the NFL and he leads the best offense in the NFL. If his offensive line can hold up and the defense can just be a little better there is no reason why they won't be playing in the big game again.
The reason I am giving a second pick is because I feel like we forget how good the Rams were just a few years ago. Yes that was with Todd Gurley in his prime, but it was also with Jared Goff as their QB. With Matthew Stafford taking over QB duties and a defense that is just flooded with talent, the Rams are not to be slept on. No defense in the NFL has names like Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd and Jordan Fuller. If they can prove themselves in the toughest division in the NFL and come out on top, they will be tested and ready for a Super Bowl run.