Finding Value in this Week’s Updated NFL Conference Futures
Betting on NFL futures at this point of the regular season is a lot like playing the stock market. Individual team values rise and fall with every win and loss as the betting public reacts to the actual results on the field of play.
The 10-2 Philadelphia Eagles were everyone’s hot ticket for both game bets against the spread and for their futures odds to win the NFC and even Super Bowl LII, but things dramatically cooled coming off Sunday night’s 24-10 loss to 8-4 Seattle as four-point road favorites. The Eagles have a chance to rekindle those flames this Sunday as two-point road underdogs against the equally surprising 9-3 Los Angeles Rams.
Throw in 10-2 Minnesota and 9-3 New Orleans into the NFC mix for the top two postseason seeds and everything gets even more blurred as to where the best value lies in the NFL futures to win the NFC this year.
The 10-2 New England Patriots continue to set the pace in the AFC along with the 10-2 Pittsburgh Steelers with every other contender battling it out for a distant third in the conference futures. The Patriots have been far more dominating than the Steelers in their current eight-game winning streak after winning their last six games by a combined 112 points. Pittsburgh has won its last seven games, but it had to squeeze past Green Bay and Cincinnati by a combined six points in its last two outings. Everything is building up to a Week 15 showdown between the AFC’s top two teams in Pittsburgh with the top seed for the playoffs on the line.
Turning to the most recent NFL futures for each conference at some of the top online sportsbooks offering action on these bets, the Eagles still have the slight edge to win the NFC at +275. Minnesota is a close second at +280 followed by New Orleans at +400 and the Rams at +600. Also in the mix is Seattle at +600 as a possible dark horse in this congested race.
If you believe that Philadelphia does get past Los Angeles this Sunday in a highly anticipated showdown between quarterbacks’ Carson Wentz and Jared Goff as the top two picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, then there is quite a bit of value in its futures odds. With a soft schedule from here on in, the Eagles should be able to secure the top seed in the conference.
The Vikings face a tough test on the road this Sunday against Carolina, but they would also be in position to run the table if they get past the Panthers as three-point road favorites. An Eagles’ loss combined with a Minnesota win would throw all the value towards the Vikings as the top team in the NFC.
New Orleans is a game off the pace with Atlanta twice in its remaining four games. Even if the Rams come out on top this Sunday, they would have to get past Seattle and Tennessee on the road to lock up the NFC West.
As mentioned, it is pretty much a two team race in the AFC between New England and Pittsburgh and the betting odds bear this out with the Patriots now set as +100 favorites to win the conference followed by the Steelers at +225. The next team on the list would be the Los Angeles Chargers at +1200.
Assuming that New England gets past Miami on Monday night as an 11-point road favorite after Pittsburgh takes care of business at home against Baltimore on Sunday night as a five-point favorite, the value in the futures all comes down to which team you have winning in Week 15.
Even if the Steelers stumble against the Ravens, they would still be in the driver seat for the top AFC seed by beating New England with Houston and Cleveland left on the slate. If the Patriots come out on top, they are looking at a repeat of last season’s 14-2 mark on their way to the AFC title. Throwing some caution to the wind, the top value on the board could actually lie with Pittsburgh given its home field advantage against New England this matchup, but an actual bet comes with a high level of risk.
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