The schedule release for the NFL happened on Wednesday, meaning that it’s time for everyone to begin making predictions on who will win their respective divisions. Win totals are also a popular topic in the betting realm as we now have a better grasp of when teams are playing certain teams and when their bye weeks will take place.
For the first time in NFL history, each team in the league will conduct 17 games, with only one bye week at their disposal. While there are moves that could be made in the coming months, it’s never too early to take a peek at possible division winners. Instead of listing obvious choices, I’ll be listing a few teams that could be worth tossing some money at to emerge atop their division in 2021. The odds listed in the article are the consensus odds on BettingPros, which takes the average odds from all of the popular betting sites.
View our consensus futures odds for NFL teams to make the playoffs >>
Miami Dolphins (+325)
It was tough to choose between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots to unseat the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. The Bills currently hold -150 odds to repeat as AFC East champions in 2021, which doesn’t make them a particularly enticing bet. After considering the Dolphins and Patriots, I chose to side with Miami due to what they’ve been building in recent seasons.
Brian Flores has become one of the best up-and-coming head coaches in the NFL, and he’s created a winning culture in South Beach. Just last season, the Dolphins were one win away from reaching the postseason after getting trounced by Buffalo in Week 17. They still finished with an impressive 10-6 record, and now the keys have been handed to Tua Tagovailoa in his second year in the league.
There are still question marks surrounding Tagovailoa on whether or not he can be a franchise signal-caller, but the Dolphins have done a fantastic job putting him in a prime position to succeed. Besides signing Will Fuller in free agency, Miami went out and selected Jaylen Waddle with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, giving Tagovailoa a much-improved wide receiver corps.
While the jury is still out on Tagovailoa, Flores has built a stout defense in Miami, and they continued to add more pieces. Despite the loss of Kyle Van Noy, the Dolphins brought in Jaelan Phillips, Benardrick McKinney, and Jevon Holland to an already solid group. Even though the Patriots could also be positioned to return to the playoffs in 2021, the Dolphins are a team that is itching to make some noise in the AFC East.
Washington Football Team (+260)
The NFC East has been tough to gauge for quite some time as it seems as if no team is interested in winning the division in back-to-back years. To illustrate the sporadic nature of the division, there hasn’t been a team in the NFC East to win in back-to-back seasons since the Philadelphia Eagles won four straight years from 2001-2004.
Last season, the Washington Football Team took home the division crown with an underwhelming 7-9 record. If no one in the NFC East has won in back-to-back seasons in nearly two decades, why would I choose Washington to win in 2021? Some things are meant to come to an end, and Washington is a team that looks to be on the rise moving forward.
In recent years, Washington has put together a defense that strikes fear into opponents, with the entire starting defensive front consisting of first-round picks (Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Montez Sweat). Ron Rivera and company also bolstered the rest of their defense by adding Jamin Davis and William Jackson III.
To go along with their daunting defense, Washington made an obvious upgrade at quarterback by bringing in Ryan Fitzpatrick. The fearless journeyman quarterback will have a nice set of weapons to target through the air in Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, newly-drafted Dyami Brown, and newly-signed Curtis Samuel. Not to mention, Antonio Gibson is expected to have a breakout season as the team’s go-to running back. While it’s easy to look at the Dallas Cowboys as the favorites in the NFC East, Washington has what it takes to do something that hasn’t been achieved since the early 2000s.
Los Angeles Rams (+180)
When speaking about the best divisions in football, the NFC West definitely has an argument to be made. There’s a reason why the NFC West is among the three divisions that have a favorite to win with plus-odds attached to them. Currently, the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers are both tied at +180 to win the NFC West in the upcoming season.
It is somewhat of an easy choice to select the Rams to win the NFC West, but I’m going to do it anyway. Since Sean McVay made his arrival to Los Angeles in 2017, the Rams have failed to make the postseason just once, and that lone season came in 2019. The large reason why they fell short of the playoffs was due to the declined play of Jared Goff under center. That won’t be a problem anymore.
In what could be written as a romantic novel, McVay found himself a perfect replacement for Goff by trading him in exchange for Matthew Stafford, while both he and Stafford both “somehow” found themselves in Cabo together. All jokes aside, Stafford brings a lot to the table at the quarterback position that the Rams haven’t had in quite some time. With quarterback being the missing piece for the Rams, who have a hungry defense led by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, the sky is the limit.
Entering his first year with the franchise, Stafford isn’t going to be short on weapons either. Los Angeles didn’t shy away from adding different pieces to the offense as they added Tutu Atwell, Jacob Harris, and DeSean Jackson to the aerial attack to go along with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and Tyler Higbee. Like Washington, the Rams have a second-year back in Cam Akers that is expected to break into stardom in 2021. While it seems lazy to choose Los Angeles to return atop the NFC West, getting them at plus-odds is a decent value.
View the top deposit bonuses and promo codes for each sportsbook >>
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RadioPublic | Breaker | Castbox | Pocket Casts
Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our How To Bet and Sports Betting Strategy and Advice pages are for you. You can get started with our Sports Betting 101 Section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced sports betting strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.
Skyler Carlin is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Skyler, check out his archive and follow him @skyler_carlin.
The post NFL Futures: Best Bets to Win Division (2021) appeared first on BettingPros.