The preseason is a time of optimism for every team in the NFL, but today we look at 5Dimes odds for the favorites to finish last in each division and whether those clubs are worth a bet.
Did you know that since the NFL realigned to eight divisions in 2002 that never have all eight division winners repeated the next season? It’s just as hard for all eight last-place teams to finish in the same spot a year later. Sure, there have been consistently bad teams over that span like the Browns and Jaguars, but there also have been consistently good teams like the Patriots and Packers. The NFL is all about parity.
You can bet at 5Dimes on the most losses by any team in 2017, with the ‘over/under’ at 13.5. The ‘over’ is a -165 favorite and that seems wise. The Jets look truly horrific and it’s hard to see them winning more than two games (or more than zero). The Browns and 49ers also are awful.
Here are the 5Dimes favorites to finish last in each division.
AFC East: NY Jets
New York is -290 to finish fourth and +210 not to. This team is much worse on paper than last year’s 5-11 last-place club. I’ve written previously about the sorry quarterback competition. The Jets lost their two best receivers to free agency in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Projected new No. 1 Quincy Enunwa was recently put on season-ending injury reserve because of a bulging disk in his neck. Enunwa was the only receiver on the Jets' roster with 1,000 career receiving yards (1,172). Prediction: LastAFC North: Cleveland Browns
Cleveland, -340 for last and +247 for any other result, is another team with a less-than-stellar quarterback battle ongoing in training camp. It won’t matter. The Brownies have finished last in the North six straight years and are clearly the least-talented team in the division – although if the Ravens keep losing players to season-ending injuries maybe this will be close. How many games does Hue Jackson have to win in 2017 to avoid being fired? Prediction: LastAFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars
This division might be interesting. The Jags are +120 for last and -160 any other spot. The Texans and Titans are too talented to finish last barring devastating injuries. So can Jacksonville beat out Indianapolis for, say, third place? I say yes with Colts QB Andrew Luck looking like he might miss the start of the season. Prediction: Third (+215)AFC West: LA Chargers
The Bolts are +130 for last and -170 for any other spot. This team doesn’t have last-place talent, but Los Angeles has worse injury luck than any club in football. Its top two draft picks this year, receiver Mike Williams and offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, both projected starters, may miss the season – Lamp already has been ruled out. The Chargers are the “best” last-place team on this list but still end up there. Prediction: LastNFC East: Washington Redskins
The Skins are +135 for fourth and -175 at any other position. Washington finished third in the East last year at 8-7-1 with the Eagles in the cellar at 7-9. Clearly oddsmakers believe Carson Wentz will take a step forward this year, and Philly got him a few new receivers this offseason. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins lost his top two receivers to free agency and the Skins have no running game. Prediction: LastNFC North: Chicago Bears
The Bears are -300 for last and +220 other. Coach John Fox is among the favorites to be the first fired in the NFL this season as the Bears have finished fourth in both seasons under him – as well as in Marc Trestman’s final year. If Mike Glennon’s training camp performances are any indication, it’s going to be another long year in Chicago. Mitch Trubisky might be the answer eventually but not in 2017. Prediction: LastNFC South: New Orleans Saints
The Saints are +140 for fourth place and -180 other. The South might be the toughest division in the NFL to handicap as I could see all four teams winning it. Thanks in large part to Drew Brees, New Orleans hasn’t finished last in the division since 2008 but has been a mediocre 7-9 the past three years. I guess by default you have to lean New Orleans here simply because it has by far the worst defense in the division. Prediction: LastNFC West: San Francisco 49ers
The Niners are -175 to finish last again and +135 other. The only chance they have of not finishing in the cellar is if Rams second-year quarterback Jared Goff is as bad as he was in 2016. Yet you’d still prefer him to any quarterback on the San Francisco roster. Prediction: LastBet On NFL Futures At SBR's Top-Rated Sportsbooks