Best 2022 NFL Futures Bets To Back Ahead of Week 1
Adam Thompson | 14 mins
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Winning a Super Bowl is extremely difficult, and rarely does a team come from out of nowhere to shock the world and take the championship.
Taking first place in a division, however, can happen to any team. Plus odds are often available for viable winners on NFL futures markets, and in many cases takes some of the luck out of it. After all, your team doesn’t have to be better than 31 teams, just three rivals.
Bookies.com NFL handicapper Adam Thompson has hit on 62-64% of his NFL picks in each of the past three seasons. He also loves picking division races. Here, he reveals his NFL futures plays for each of the eight divisions ahead of Week 1 of the NFL season.
That’s not all. Thompson is also revealing his top plays for the AFC and NFC, as well as Super Bowl futures picks.
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NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles
Odds: +150 at DraftKings ➜
The Cowboys cruised to the NFC East crown with a 12-5 mark, three games ahead of the Eagles in a two-team race. It’ll go that way again with the Commanders and Giants still building their way back to relevance.
But we could see a flip of fortunes. Philly had a great offseason that included adding star WR A.J. Brown in a trade to go alongside DeVonta Smith, plus considerable depth on the defensive end. The Eagles should be a much-improved team as long as Jalen Hurts continues an ascension in his second year as starter.
Dallas (also +150 at DraftKings) is in line for a step in the wrong direction. Losing OT Tyron Smith was a huge blow, and the receiving corps is in major flux as is the career of RB Ezekiel Elliott. No team has repeated in the NFC East since 2004.
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
Odds: -155 at BetMGM ➜
The NFC North is, once again, a two-team race between the Packers and Vikings (+260), with the Lions (+1000) and Bears (+1500) well behind on the field and in NFL betting markets.
Green Bay has won eight of the last 11 division titles, including three in a row all with 13-win seasons. The Packers are again the class of the league with a defense that might be the best in the game and an offense that doesn’t need to rely on Aaron Rodgers to do everything – though we know the two-time MVP can.
Minnesota underachieved under coach Mike Zimmer but they’ve moved on to Kevin O’Connell, an offensive-minded coach who could really turn the talented Vikings offense into the powerhouse some believe.
Defensively, however, the Packers have the significant edge, enough that we’ll back the Pack despite the lofty NFL futures odds. They won it by five games last year; the potential improvement in Minnesota isn’t that massive.
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NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Odds: -270 at FanDuel ➜
Tom Brady and Co. won the NFC South by four games. Now he’s back and most of his top weapons are back, too. The Bucs defense will hold its own against both the run and the pass, rivaling New Orleans (+310) for among the very top in the entire conference.
Offensively, New Orleans has too many question marks. Jameis Winston is returning from injury, Michael Thomas hasn’t played in a year and Alvin Kamara took a massive downturn in 2021. Tampa scored nearly 10 ppg more than New Orleans last year. It may not be that massive of a split this time around, but the Bucs are clearly the class of the South.
NFC West: Los Angeles Rams
Odds: +120 at Caesars Sportsbook ➜
The Rams won the Super Bowl but are barely the NFL futures favorites in their own division for next year. The 49ers are +150 on betting sites, the Cardinals are close at +400. We can write off Seattle right now.
We’ll write off Arizona as well. Kyler Murray is a player, but he carried the Cards to a few wins that shouldn’t have happened, and the personnel isn’t enough against top-tier teams quite yet. As for San Francisco, its defense is going to be great, but Trey Lance is being thrown into the fire and the RB situation has major question marks.
The Rams defense could be top five vs. the run and the pass this year, Cam Akers is healthy and the defense got better with Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd at the LB spots.
AFC East: Buffalo Bills
Odds: -240 at DraftKings ➜
The Bills edged out the Patriots for the division title last year. This year, Buffalo’s expectations have risen to the point the Bills enter Week 1 as favorites to win the Super Bowl. New England? The Pats don’t appear as ready to take that next step.
The Dolphins were a surprising 9-8 last year led by the play of QB Tua Tagovailoa and an opportunistic defense. On paper they’re improved, and a 9-8 or 10-7 record isn’t out of the question. Miami and New England should battle for second spot in the AFC East. This is the Bills' year to join the Chiefs and Packers of the world as legit, perennial contenders.
AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals
Odds: +175 at BetMGM ➜
The Bengals were a surprise AFC North division winner, going 10-7 in an ultra-competitive field in which the Browns and Ravens finished tied for last in the grouping at 8-9 (Pittsburgh finished 9-7-1). Baltimore was in position to take the division until an injury to QB Lamar Jackson derailed division and postseason chances.
Every team can make a claim it has a chance to win this division – the Ravens are the favorite at +140 on
betting apps while the Browns are +380 on NFL futures markets. Cleveland has a win-now roster but QB Deshaun Watson will miss 11 games, likely torpedoing its chances. Pittsburgh is undervalued at +1000.
Cincy should be better this year. It put a priority on improving the offensive line and one of the younger teams is a year older and wiser. Baltimore’s run defense is too major of a concern in the long run, giving the edge to the Bengals.
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AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
Odds: -125 at FanDuel ➜
This division is a two-team race between the Colts and Titans (+170); the Jaguars and Texans aren’t near ready to compete yet. Tennessee emerged in a big way in 2021, going 12-5 to win the South by three games and earn home-field advantage in the AFC.
Indy should be better this time around. Replacing Carson Wentz with Matt Ryan at QB should make Jonathan Taylor and the run game even tougher to slow down.
Tennessee’s 26th-ranked pass defense should be improved, but not enough here, and questions on the O-line and WR could make for tough sledding for Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. We were hoping to get the Colts closer to even-money on NFL futures markets, but the oddsmakers know what they’re doing. We’ll take Indy here.
AFC West: Los Angeles Chargers
Odds: +220 at Caesars Sportsbook ➜
The Chargers finished three games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West last year and one game behind the Raiders in what may have been the top division in football. It won’t get any easier with the Broncos adding Russell Wilson and the Raiders inking Davante Adams, arguably a top-three WR.
But the Chiefs defense, a bend-don’t-break unit, and the loss of Tyreek Hill, could keep KC from running away with the division yet again. Denver and Vegas should be improved as well. The Chargers, however, have all the tools and are finally healthy. The offense can keep up with the best of them and the front office did a solid job shoring up defensive issues.
With Kansas sports betting now live, the Chiefs are +175 on NFL futures markets, the Broncos +260. One could take both L.A. and Denver and come out ahead as long as one of them gets over KC. But we’ll ride the Chargers, due for that next step.
AFC: Los Angeles Chargers
Odds: +750 at DraftKings ➜
This would be a big turnaround, from 9-8 to Super Bowl berth. The talent is there.
The AFC has so many contenders, it keeps us off the favorites such as the Bills and Chiefs. Los Angeles is the best of the next crop of teams. Justin Herbert has shown every indication he can take that next step, right now, and the defense has playmakers at every level. We love the value of L.A. here.
NFC: Green Bay Packers
Odds: +500 at Caesars Sportsbook ➜
The weakest spot of this team might be the passing game – and it’s led by the two-time reigning NFL MVP. Only the Browns can boast a 1-2 rushing attack that challenges the Packers, and the defense might be the best vs. the pass in the game, and top-five vs. the run as well.
The Buccaneers are the favorites, but it’s close. Right now, Tampa looks way better at the receiver position and in the pass game overall. Green Bay may have the edge everywhere else. It’s close. We’ll take the team with the higher odds.
Super Bowl: Green Bay Packers (+1000) and GB vs. LAC matchup (+4500)
No Davante Adams for Aaron Rodgers, but the O-line is better and the defense might be the best in the game. If any QB can bring out the best in his WRs, it might be Rodgers. They’ve come oh-so-close the last few years, but key injuries or astonishing mid-game breakdowns have cost them Super Bowl berths. Here they can get there and win it.
If you’re seeking a major high-odds Super Bowl bet, the matchup arena might be a good one. Packers vs. Chargers pays off big. If you like Green Bay to get there, you can also pair them with the Bills (+1800) or Chiefs (+3000).