By Adam Thompson | | 7 mins
4 Best Team Futures Bets to Back This 2021 NFL Season
The opening Sunday of the 2021 NFL season is Sept. 12, but NFL futures bets have been available since the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs to win Super Bowl 55.
From Super Bowl 56 futures bets to conference and divisional races, sportsbooks are loaded with NFL team futures. Bookies.com NFL handicapper Adam Thompson reveals four of his favorite NFL team futures worth backing before Week 1.
NFC East Winner: Dallas Cowboys
Odds: +130 at DraftKings
The Cowboys obviously had a miserable 2020 season and 6-10 final record. But QB Dak Prescott was lost for most of it. That allowed every opposing defense to focus on Ezekiel Elliott, and the defensive backfield was horrid. The Cowboys regrouped and played well down the stretch but it was too late by then and Dallas missed the playoffs by a single game in the horrid NFC East.
But now Dak is back and the Cowboys can contend with everyone in terms of skill position talent. In terms of overall skill, the Cowboys are arguably a top-five passing and top-five rushing team in the NFL.
Defense is where all the questions are. Is there enough of it? That is to be determined, especially vs. the pass. But the D-line should be better, or at least healthier. The LB unit is top 10. Plus there’s this: The NFC East is very winnable. Washington is going to contend, while the Eagles and Giants don’t look to be very close yet.
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AFC North Winner: Cleveland Browns
Odds: +150 at BetMGM
The Browns went 11-5 in 2020 for their best season in decades. What’s stopping them from taking the next step? Mainly, Baker Mayfield. He’s the key, because the Browns could have the best run game in the NFL with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Notably, Cleveland might also have the NFL’s best pass defense, which goes a long way in the pass-crazed NFL. Stopping the run won’t be a strength, but the Browns are going to be good in every other facet.
The AFC North is beastly, with the Ravens and Steelers in the mix and the Bengals improved with Joe Burrow. But the Ravens’ defense is due to take a step backward, as is the Steelers’ offense – there is a lot to love about rookie RB Najee Harris, but Pittsburgh might own the worst O-line in the league. That opens the door for the Browns and it opens the door for us as NFL betting fans – as long as Mayfield shows consistency. Cleveland at +150 sounds solid and it's available on most betting sites and betting apps now.
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AFC West Winner: Denver Broncos
Odds: +900 at FanDuel
It’s either going to be Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback for the Broncos, and if we’re being honest, neither one scares AFC West opponents. The Chiefs and Chargers are in position to have solid seasons. Obviously QB is a very important position. That doesn’t equate for Denver to have a breakout season.
CHECK OUT: Our 2021 NFL Divisional Odds Tracker
But take that QB question out of the equation for a moment. The Broncos have a top-eight receiving unit. Their run offense has weapons both in rushing and receiving, led by Melvin Gordon. On the other side of the ball, Denver’s pass defense and run defense could both be top five. Everything is in place, except QB – which is why they really wanted Aaron Rodgers when it was looking as if No. 12 might be traded.
Kansas City’s offense is the best in the NFL, but the defense is again a bend-don’t-break unit. The Chargers will also have a solid offense, but their defense could be worse this season, and who’s to say Justin Herbert doesn’t have a sophomore slide or that Austin Ekeler is feature-back worthy? The Broncos are good QB play away from being there. At these NFL odds? Why not.
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Win NFC: Green Bay Packers
Odds: +650 at FOX Bet
Last season the Packers went 13-3 to earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC, then dominated the Buccaneers in nearly every statistical way in the conference championship game. They couldn’t take advantage of three Tom Brady interceptions, and a 14-point swing in a one-minute span over the second and third quarters doomed Green Bay in a five-point loss.
Aaron Rodgers was NFL MVP, sparked by a slight when Green Bay traded up to draft his potential successor, Jordan Love. Rodgers' motivation comes from perceived lack of respect moments, and he has one this year too. With Davante Adams and Aaron Jones back in the mix and All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari also back (he missed the Tampa Bay game with an injury), last year’s No. 1 scoring offense should be elite again.
Defensively, the Packers ranked top 10 vs. both the run and pass, improved their linebacking unit and returned their key playmakers. Rodgers wants to beat Brady – a motivated Rodgers is the best QB in the league.
CHECK OUT: Our 2021 NFC & AFC Championship Odds Tracker