It’s draft week, and it’s time to look at pre-draft NFL futures! There’s no question the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft will be former Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence. There is also no doubt the New York Jets select a quarterback with the second pick and it’s highly likely quarterbacks go 1-2-3 in the draft for the first time in almost two decades.
Before all that goes down, it’s worth taking a look at the NFL futures market. There’s really no surprise as to the favorite to win this coming season’s Super Bowl. What bettors will find though is some value in both the conference champion and Super Bowl champion odds.
The AFC – Pre-Draft NFL Futures
The Kansas City Chiefs have won two straight AFC titles. The Chiefs lost OT Eric Fisher in last year’s conference championship game to a torn Achilles. The team later released him but found his replacement in former Ravens OT Orlando Brown. It’s no surprise then that KC is favored to win a third straight AFC title at +225.
For football bettors, the challenges will come again from the likes of Buffalo, Baltimore and possibly Indianapolis or, dare anyone say it, Cleveland. The Bills, of course, won the AFC East for the first time since the 1990s and wound up in the AFC championship game.
Quarterback Josh Allen led a very good Bills offense but came up short in the conference title game. Buffalo fell behind 38-15 before Allen led two late scoring drives that still left the Bills on the short end of a 38-24 defeat.
Buffalo returns most of its roster intact and that’s why they are listed at +500 to win the AFC. Baltimore made a big pre-draft move with the trading of Brown to Kansas City. The Ravens picked up first-, third-, and fourth-round picks in the draft as a result. The Ravens are listed at +600 to dethrone the two-time conference champion Chiefs.
If there is a surprise out there in the AFC, it could come from Indianapolis (+1000) or Cleveland (+1100). The Browns are on the verge of something big and have the roster to back it up. The Colts signed former Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz, have an outstanding running game, and a defense that can win championships.
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The NFC – Pre-Draft NFL Futures
Despite having won last year’s conference title and eventually the Super Bowl, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not the favorite to repeat. Green Bay, with league MVP Aaron Rodgers, holds that title at +375. Rodgers is back as is his top target WR Davante Adams (1,374 yds.) and a defense that ranked ninth in total yards allowed.
The Bucs and their Lombardi Trophy are next at +400 and the potential spoiler could be the Los Angeles Rams and their new quarterback Matthew Stafford. With Stafford running the offense, the Rams are listed at +600 to win the NFC.
If the 49ers (+700) or Saints (+800) figure out their quarterback situations, they might be in the mix, but there really isn’t a bona fide longshot to back in the NFC race.
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Super Bowl Odds
It shouldn’t shock anyone that the Kansas City Chiefs are a +550 favorite to capture a second Super Bowl in three seasons. They are the favorites in many pre-draft NFL futures as long as Patrick Mahomes lines up under center and is surrounded by the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, the Chiefs are a favorite.
With the offensive line figured out, the Chiefs don’t have many weak spots on offense or defense. Green Bay is listed at +900 and reigning champion Tampa Bay checks in at +1000.
Where bettors can find some value is on the Rams or the Bills at +1200. There is no question these numbers will shorten once the season starts and possibly even after the draft. The Rams, especially, are a team to back with the NFL’s best defense and now a championship caliber quarterback.
Last season, the Rams ranked No. 1 in total defense and in scoring defense. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald won his third NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020 and the Rams defense kept the team in games all season long.
The problem was on offense where former starter Jared Goff just didn’t give them the spark the Rams needed. Stafford, who suffered for years in the Lions organization, now has a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl ring.
Stafford is surrounded by a strong running game – three backs totaled over 400 rushing yards – talented receivers like Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, and a solid pass-catching TE in Tyler Higbee.
The Bills play just enough defense to go along with an offense that was second in total yards and scoring. Nearly the entire unit returns giving Buffalo a serious shot at winning its first Super Bowl ever. Give them serious consideration when looking at pre-draft NFL Futures.