The start of the NFL Regular Season is now less than two months away, so after looking at the NFC last week, let’s now take a look at some of the Futures Markets over in the AFC.
NFL Regular Season Week 1
Thursday, September 10: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT): This game opened up with the host New England Patriots installed as 6-point favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) over the Pittsburgh Steelers when the world’s largest sportsbook posted the line back on April 22, but after the Wells Report and news of a 4-game suspension to the defending Super Bowl champions QB Tom Brady for his part in the Deflategate fiasco, early bettors quickly drove the line in this now extremely high-profile game down to (Patriots) -2. But now, it has risen to -3 with the Patriots appealing the 4-game suspension and conventional wisdom saying that The Commish will probably lop 1 or 2 games off that 4-game penalty. Either way, it seems future Hall of Famer Brady will miss this opener here at Gillette Stadium, meaning backup and Eastern Illinois product Jimmy Garoppolo will get the start against the Black-and-Gold in the NFL Season Opener in Prime Time (the Total is 49). With the line now seemingly ticking back the other way and British bookmaker Ladbrokes offering the Patriots -3 with -120 juice, maybe taking the Patriots now laying the smooth 3 points is the best route as this team is still the class of the American Football Conference and is in a group of remote teams in the NFL—an elite group the Steelers just can’t seem to crack yet. And then toss in the Home site and the loyal and rabid New England fans, the Opening Day pressure and the fact that good teams seldom lose on their Home turf (NE was 7- 1 SU at Gillette Stadium in 2014), and there are multiple reasons for taking a gamble on the Patriots. Add in the recent relevant Trends which show New England to be 9-3 ATS L12 against Pittsburgh as well as 5-2 ATS L7 here at Home, and backing the Patriots is the prescription and this could possibly hit 3½ before you know it in some places. The last time these two met, New England did a Rain Dance on the Steelers heads, pounding them 55-31 as 5½-point favorites here in New England in 2013.
NFL Pick: New England Patriots -3, Week 1 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
NFL Regular Season Wins
New England Patriots 10 Wins, Over -150: Why not stick with the Champs? They have a great Head Coach (Bill Belichick), a great QB (Tom Brady), great Receivers (TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Julian Edelman, WR Danny Amendola , WR Brandon LaFell), play solid Defense now and all of a sudden have some perceived value in this marketplace with all the rumblings and money coming in on the Patriots Regular Season Team Win Total Under, driving what was once a 10½ down to its current 10 (Over -150). And that ½ is a significant move in my mind, especially with my a projected 12-win (12-4) Regular Season again for these New England Patriots (15-4 SU overall, 11-8 ATS). This bet is pretty much an exercise in trying to find potential Losses on the Patriots 2015 Regular Season schedule. You can do it yourself: Week 1: vs. Steelers*: Win; Week 2: @ Bills*: Win; Week 3: vs. Jacksonville: Win; Week 4: Open Date; Week 5: @ Dallas: Loss; Week 6: at Colts*: Win; Week 7: vs. Jets: Win; Week 8: vs. Dolphins: Win; Week 9: vs. Redskins: Win; Week 10: @ Giants: Win; Week 11: Bills: Win; Week 12: at Broncos: Loss; Week 13: Eagles: Loss; Week 14: at Texans; Loss; Week 15: vs. Titans: Win; Week 16: at Jets: Win; Week 17: at Dolphins*: Win.
So, that’s only 4 forecasted Losses—to the Cowboys, Broncos, Eagles and Texans—although the games with an asterisk (*) may be tougher than handicapped and could be Losses. Either way, there is some Wiggle Room now for prospective (Over 10 Wins) Patriots backers in the Futures Book looking in from two months out. And, should New England somehow finish 10-6, you will Push the Futures Bet and get your money back...something that wouldn’t happen if you bet this in the market when it was at 10½ wins. Few games have received as much attention as far off as this one has but because of the Suspension (and Appeal and looming decision on that Appeal), because it’s the defending Super Bowl champions and because it’s the first game of the year and people just love betting the NFL. And it’s definitely understood.
NFL Pick: New England Patriots Over 10 Regular Season Wins -150 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
2015/16 NFL Games of the Year—(Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Week 5—Thursday, October 8 (Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans; Odds: Colts -2): This one gets the nod for a number of reasons. First, the Colts went 6-0 SU in the AFC South last season, and Indianapolis and star QB Andrew Luck (17-11-1 ATS vs. AFC South) know that this is the toughest game (every year) on their schedule in conference. Second, this will be Texans legend WE Andre Johnson’s return to NRG Stadium, and besides this new receiving toy to go along with twin TEs Dwight Allen and Coby Fleener and WRs TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief, the Horseshoes also added Free Agent RB Frank Gore (49ers) and took Phillip Dorsett (Miami-Florida) in Round 1 of the NFL Draft for Luck to ably distribute the ball too. This will eventually cause Vertigo for opponents of Indianapolis. Third, 2 is not a lot of points to lay, Bubba. Last year in this game, the Colts defeated the Texans here at NRG Stadium, 33-28 in Week 6 as 2½-point favorites, while in 2013, Indy topped Houston 27-24 as a 1-point favorite. And, fourth, most of the recent Trends and a couple of the funky ones support backing the Colts here. On Thursdays, Indianapolis is 12-1 SU and an amazing 11-1-1 ATS. Spretto. The Indianapolis Colts are also 11-2 ATS L13 over the L3 seasons as a Road favorite, so backing them here fairly early in the Regular Season when this Texans team may still actually be trying to settle on a starting QB (Brian Hoyer-Ryan Mallett-Tom Savage) seems like a Wise idea. With guys like those two TEs, Hilton and now the speedy and elusive Dorsett, the Colts will have no problems racking of yardage (and points) on Offense and will probably end up leading the NFL in Total Yards with the brilliant Luck behind Center and this jacked up roster.
NFL Pick: Indianapolis Colts -2 over Houston Texans, Week 5 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook 2015/16 NFL Games of the Year)
NFL Super Bowl 50 Futures Book
Yeah, the two big teams from the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks (+450 to win Super Bowl 50, bet365) and the Green Bay Packers (7/1, William Hill) both have massive chips on their shoulders heading into this 2015 NFL Regular Season...the Seahawks for missing out on a second straight Super Bowl by Passing when they should have Rushed the football while the Packers will be fueled by the memories of that nasty 4th Quarter against those Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle in the NFC Championship game. At least there were no controversies on pigskins and the air pressure within them. But New England is in the midst of a Dynasty and have to be the favorite coming out of the AFC with the Denver Broncos (14/1, Skybet) on the decline and the Colts (10/1, bet365) still a bit young and not quite at the same level as the Patriots, Seahawks and Packers. And three other reasons why this may hold some value: 1—You probably won’t find NFL odds on New England better than 8/1 to win Super Bowl 50 from this point forward. 2—The vast majority of bettors think with their Hearts and not their Heads here. Most people hate the Patriots and wouldn’t bet on them with free money. And that emotion often clouds the decisions—especially in the General Public—and prevents them from even considering a Futures Bet on the Pretty Boy Brady and his Evil Empire. That’s the reality. If the public loved New England, the odds could maybe range from 3/1 to 5/1, even with the Deflategate mess. But it seems the only ones who want to bet the Patriots to win the Super Bowl live in New England. And, 3—If the Patriots do somehow reach the Super Bowl (NFC -2½, Bovada), you can Hedge this Futures Bet by taking the NFC representative in Super Bowl 50 on the Money Line (-130, Bovada). Quite often in sports betting, and specifically these Futures Book markets, the Early Bird gets not only the worm, but an opportunity to guarantee himself a bunch of seeds also.
NFL Pick: New England Patriots 8/1 to win Super Bowl (William Hill).
AFC Futures Picks: New England Patriots -3, Week 1; New England Patriots Over 10 Regular Season Wins -150; Indianapolis Colts -2 over Houston Texans, Week 5, 2015/2016 NFL Games of the Year, (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook); Patriots 8/1 to win Super Bowl (William Hill)
Super Bowl Matchup Pick: New England Patriots-Green Bay Packers +2575 (5Dimes)