NFL Betting: Early Odds For 2016/17 Conference Championship Futures

Jay Pryce

Sunday, January 31, 2016 5:34 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 5:34 PM GMT

Books are listing futures prices for the 2016-2017 NFL season. Next year’s AFC/NFC Conference Championship markets may offer some of the best value for our NFL picks. Let's see why.

Books are listing futures prices for the 2016-2017. Next year’s AFC/NFC Conference Championship markets may offer some of the best value for bettors. Let us take a look why.

Some key metrics in football offer a good barometer of a team’s potential future performance. In an earlier article covering the Panthers-Broncos Super Bowl 50 matchup, we briefly looked at two of these: Yards Per Play (YPP) and Yards per Passing Attempt (YPPA). Both have their flaws when attempting to isolate as a catchall stat to determine team success, but each has proven to do a better-than-average job at predicting winning percentages. For our futures market wager, let’s focus on YPPA.

Over the last three decades, season after season, the NFL has moved away from the rush to the pass. There are few signs showing this trend is going to slow down anytime soon, either. In today’s game, if a team cannot throw the football efficiently, or stop the other team from doing so, then its chances to reach the Super Bowl are greatly diminished. Statistics show that the passing game is anywhere from three-to-four times more important to a team’s overall performance than an efficient running game. That is not to say the rush does not aid in the passing game’s effectiveness, but if singling out raw data, the numbers speak for themselves.

Bettors can also lean on a team’s passing efficiency when determining futures wagers. The quarterback position, for example, is not only the most valuable for a franchise, but also one of the most consistent to forecast year after year. Aaron Rodgers is going to throw 25-plus TDs and post near a 100.0 passer rating next season if healthy. He does nearly every year. Moreover, top-level pass defenses tend to rollover to the next season as well, before player and personnel movements slowly erode them. Let’s use this info to make a bet.

In the last 10 years, all but one Super Bowl (2005) contained a conference champion that ranked first or second in either YPPA or opponent YPPA in the NFL the prior season. Below is a table showing the most recent Super Bowl participants and their prior season’s NFL ranking in opponent YPPA and YPPA:

Prior Season

AFC/NFC Champion

OYPPA

YPPA

2014

Denver

1

4

2014

Carolina

10

23

2013

Seattle

1

4

2013

Denver

14

1

2012

Baltimore

10

13

2012

San Francisco

5

1

2011

New York Giants

9

4

2011

New England

24

2

2010

Green Bay

4

2

2010

Pittsburgh

1

4

2009

New Orleans

20

2

2009

Indianapolis

6

8

2008

Arizona

22

4

2008

Pittsburgh

1

14

2007

New York Giants

8

21

2007

New England

7

1

2006

Indianapolis

8

3

2006

Chicago

1

17

2005

Pittsburgh

5

1

2005

Seattle

13

6

2004

New England

11

9

2004

Philadelphia

3

10

Using the above-mentioned trend, one of four teams likely to represent their respective conference in Super Bowl 51 is as follows: Arizona and Carolina in the NFC, or Pittsburgh and Denver in the AFC. The Cardinals (8.0) and Steelers (7.7) were one and two in the NFL in YPPA, while the Broncos (5.7) and Panthers (5.8) topped defenses in opposing YPPA.

If one shops around, a sports investor can lay money on all four and turn a profit, if it hits. One of the futures markets greatest appeals, outside of hedge potential, is the variance in the NFL odds boards from shop to shop. Few sportsbooks have posted 2016-2017 prices, but William Hill U.S. was one of a handful by Monday February 8th:

NFC

ODDS

PANTHERS

7/2

SEAHAWKS

5/1

PACKERS

5/1

CARDINALS

5/1

VIKINGS

10/1

EAGLES

14/1

REDSKINS

14/1

FALCONS

14/1

SAINTS

14/1

COWBOYS

14/1

GIANTS

25/1

LIONS

25/1

49ERS

25/1

BEARS

25/1

RAMS

25/1

BUCANEERS

30/1

 

AFC

ODDS

PATRIOTS

3/1

STEELERS

4/1

CHIEFS

13/2

BENGALS

7/1

BRONCOS

7/1

COLTS

8/1

JETS

14/1

BILLS

14/1

TEXANS

20/1

RAVENS

20/1

RAIDERS

22/1

DOLPHINS

25/1

CHARGERS

25/1

JAGUARS

30/1

TITANS

35/1

BROWNS

50/1

Arizona at 5-to-1 odds is a good price, and the Panthers, who can be found at 6-to-1 over at Sportsbook.ag, may be at its best value. The Steelers at 4-to-1 seems a bit inflated, and may creep north at some offshore spots when books start adjusting their prices. The Broncos, meanwhile, can be had for 9-to-1 offshore with Manning’s future uncertain after Sunday. If wagering these four teams, be patient and find a profitable number on each for your NFL picks. Bettors will overreact to offseason moves and any news affecting the team.

Jay Pryce

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