The 2019-20 NFL season is fast approaching, and betting markets are wide open now that several states have legalized sports gambling. While Week 1 marks the official opening of the betting bonanza, there are plenty of opportunities to place potential winning bets prior to the start of the season.
At PlayPicks, we’re breaking down the NFL futures market to offer the best preseason bets on win totals, postseason awards, and playoff results. These futures bets won’t necessarily pay off immediately but are an exciting way to track the progress of a team or player throughout the season.
Note that we will identify certain futures bets as a “longshot” with great odds. This indicates the reasonable play is to bet low volume with a potentially large payout. When we identify a futures bet as a strong play, or even a “virtual lock,” feel free to wager more on that potential outcome.
Odds may vary depending on your sportsbook. In this article, we will identify futures with the best odds on FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbooks. Many of these futures bets will still be available throughout the regular season, so keep an eye on shifting odds and get ready to “buy low” if a potential Super Bowl champion sees increased odds due to a rough spell.
Super Bowl Champions
Los Angeles Rams (+1100 on FanDuel Sportsbook) (+450 to win NFC)
Cooper Kupp went down with an ACL tear, and Todd Gurley was significantly hobbled by a knee injury during the playoffs last year. Yet the Rams still made it to the Super Bowl (thanks to a blown call) and could have won it all if Bill Belichick didn’t coach circles around Sean McVay. Now, the Rams have reinforced their defense. And Gurley is reportedly healthy entering this season, giving LA a great chance to compete for a championship.
Kansas City Chiefs (+850 on DraftKings Sportsbook) (+400 to win AFC)
Much like the Rams, the Chiefs run ended only because of brilliant performances from Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. It also ended because their putrid defense couldn’t get a stop when it mattered. Now the Chiefs secondary should improve. Plus, Patrick Mahomes could be even sharper. The only issue would be rooting for a team that employs the morally reprehensible Tyreek Hill.
Houston Texans (+146 on FanDuel Sportsbook) to make the playoffs
After dropping their first three games last year, the Texans won nine straight en route to a postseason trip. Deshaun Watson overcame some early rust, and J.J. Watt keyed a stout unit that finished first in DVOA rush defense. Since Andrew Luck is once again hobbled, Houston may have a chance to win the competitive AFC South if the Texans miss out on a Wildcard spot.
Vikings (+138 on FanDuel Sportsbook) to make the playoffs
The odds on the Vikings making playoffs in their second year with Kirk Cousins under center are appealing. Minnesota’s loaded defense should allow them to remain competitive. Then, Cousins has a wealth of talent around him with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and a presumably healthy Dalvin Cook ready to rock.
Chargers (+155 on DraftKings Sportsbook) to not make the playoffs
Phillip Rivers steered the Chargers to a few narrow wins last year, but that may be harder to achieve this season with Melvin Gordon holding out and Derwin James (foot) out indefinitely. The Chargers have a brutal non-division schedule against the AFC South and NFC North: two of the most balanced divisions in football. They open with the Colts and close the season with a string of tough games (KC, at DEN, at JAX, MIN, OAK, at KC). At these odds, it’s worth gambling on the Chargers missing on a Wildcard spot after KC presumably clinches the AFC West again.
New Orleans Saints (+110 on FanDuel Sportsbook) Over 10.5 regular-season wins
This is a fantastic price via FanDuel Sportsbook. New Orleans is 24-8 over the past two seasons and continues to gain balance on both sides of the ball. The Saints are extremely tough to beat at home and have recently dominated their division. There are some tough spots on their schedule (at LAR, at SEA, at CHI), but the Saints could win 7 of the necessary 11 games at home.
Cincinnati Bengals (-130 on FanDuel Sportsbook) Under 6 regular-season wins
The Bengals might very well have the worst roster in football with A.J. Green (ankle) hobbled and Vontaze Burfict no longer available to lead their middling defense. With first-year coach Zac Taylor at the helm, Cincy could very well start 0-4 with tough games (at SEA, SF, at BUF, PIT) on the schedule and Green unavailable to help Andy Dalton. The Bengals also have the Rams and Patriots on a tough schedule. They will almost assuredly finish last in the AFC North now that Cleveland is significantly improved.
New England Patriots (+225 on DraftKings Sportsbook) Over 12.5 regular-season wins
While the Jets and Bills are slightly improved, the AFC East remains one of the worst divisions in football. The Patriots are 86-24 against their division over the past 18 seasons and also have 25 more non-division wins than any other team during that span. Their first-half schedule this year is an absolute cakewalk following the Sunday Night opener against Pittsburgh. New England closes the year with a tough five-game stretch (at BAL, at PHI, DAL, at HOU, KC) before a cupcake against the Bengals. But Belichick’s teams tend to ramp up as the season progresses. His record against playoff-bound teams is incredible. Take advantage of the extra juice given to this Prop bet at +225 odds on DK Sportsbook.
Arizona Cardinals (+112 on DraftKings Sportsbook) Under 5 regular-season wins
There is a lot of hype surrounding rookie QB Kyler Murray and rookie coach Kliff Kingsbury, but that will do little to win games in the NFL. Rookie quarterbacks are essentially guaranteed to make huge mistakes that will cost their team games. Arizona’s defense ranked 21st in opponent’s Drive Success Rate last year and will be far more vulnerable with elite CB Patrick Peterson suspended over the first six games of the season.
Deshaun Watson (-110 on DraftKings Sportsbook) Over 4,000.5 passing yards
Despite playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in football and absorbing a league-high 62 sacks, Deshaun Watson topped this number with 4,165 passing yards last year. Houston’s running game is still rather nonexistent behind that struggling line. But Watson fields good receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Keke Coutee, who could help him pile up yardage in a league that blatantly favors offense.
Lamar Jackson (-110 on DraftKings Sportsbook) Under 3,200.5 passing yards
In order to top this number, Lamar Jackson would have to average just over 200 passing yards per game this season. He topped 200 passing yards only once last year (thanks to a fluke 68-yard TD pass) and never completed 15 passes in a game. Defensive coordinators should key in on Jackson’s limitations as a passer. And he’s a huge injury risk given his workload as a rusher. Don’t be surprised if the Ravens run a lot of option with Mark Ingram taking pitches from Jackson, rather than throwing the ball downfield. As a reference, Jackson’s Prop is only 2,900.5 passing yards on FD Sportsbook.
Chris Carson (-110 on DraftKings Sportsbook) Over 1050.5 rushing yards
The Seahawks had the highest run play percentage (52.44%) last season and have the second-highest percentage (53.72%) over the past three seasons. With disappointing second-year back Rashaad Penny serving as his only competition, Chris Carson has a good chance to see workhorse usage this year. He averaged 82.2 yards per game despite dealing with a list of injuries last year. Now, Carson is set up to top this number easily if he can remain healthy.
Leonard Fournette (-110 on DraftKings Sportsbook) Over 950.5 rushing yards
This is another Proposition bet that is clearly dependent on health. Leonard Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards over 13 games in his rookie season, then managed just 439 yards over eight games while dealing with a lingering hamstring injury last year. Fournette still has a stranglehold on backfield duties in a run-heavy offense. He should actually see a bump in efficiency with Nick Foles earning some respect as a legitimate passing threat.
Kerryon Johnson (-110 on DraftKings Sportsbook) Under 1000.5 rushing yards
After earning a timeshare with Todd Gurley and eventually supplanting him as the Rams’ lead back on an interim basis last year, C.J. Anderson joins the Lions. That spells bad news for Kerryon Johnson, who is now likely to split carries and see most of his work in passing situations. Detroit’s offensive line was stuffed on the sixth-highest percentage of run plays last year and is perennially one of the worst run-blocking units in football.
Saquon Barkley (-110 on FanDuel Sportsbook) Over 1295.5 rushing yards
Our final Player Prop bet features one of the brightest young stars in the game. In a vacuum, Saquon Barkley could already be regarded as the best RB in football. Thus, banking on him rushing for over 1,300 yards in his second season is not a huge leap. The Giants had the fifth-lowest percentage (35.98%) of run plays last year, but that could change with Odell Beckham Jr. gone, Golden Tate suspended for four games, and Sterling Shepard (thumb) hurt to open the year. Ultimately, the Giants offense should flow through Barkley. He’ll be poised for big gains behind an offensive line that ranked first in DVOA open-field blocking last year.