Futures Bets on AFC Teams for the 2021 NFL Season

By in NFL on
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AFC-Football

We have reached the stage of the NFL offseason where the rosters of the 32 teams look pretty close to what they’ll be on Opening Day in September. Following the free agency rush and the NFL draft this past weekend, most teams will settle in to see what they have. Bettors should be doing the same, as now is a great time to sink your teeth into AFC futures wagers.

Futures betting is in effect right from the conclusion of the previous year, which, in this case, ended with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shocking upset of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. But the early stages of the offseason make futures wagering an inexact science, at best. That’s because you don’t quite know how each team is going to look.

Teams start to change up their rosters during free agency. And then the draft rounds out their rosters for the most part. Now that those two major events are, for the most part, in our rear view, we can really assess what teams in the AFC have going forward.

Taking Advantage of Futures Odds

This is an ideal time for you to make your AFC futures wagers. Once you get to the NFL preseason and teams start taking part in preseason games, everyone will be able to take a look at all the new pieces that are in place. That will start to sway the betting and will take away a lot of the value in some of the futures wagers.

If you make your bets now, you might be able to catch the oddsmakers before they make all the adjustments they need to make. To do this, you need to be able to judge all the offseason additions and losses of each team. Considering that AFC rosters might not change much from now heading into the beginning of the actual regular season games, you can make your wagers with the best possible information.

NFL Futures Betting 2021

With that in mind, we’re here to help you by looking at the current 2021 NFL futures betting market in terms of the American Football Conference. We’ll take a look at all 16 AFC teams in terms of their comings and goings this offseason. That should help you make futures bets at top real money sports betting sites that will bring you great value.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

  • Division: -145
  • Conference: +650
  • Championship: +1200

What Happened Last Year

The long-awaited breakthrough for QB Josh Allen came in a big way a year ago, as he and new #1 Stefon Diggs sparked one of the most explosive offenses in team history. Even though the defense wasn’t as fearsome, they played bend-but-don’t-break very well. The Buffalo Bills ended the Patriots’ stranglehold on the AFC East crown before finally taking it on the chin to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship.

What’s New

Buffalo’s focus in the offseason was try to keep the band together, and they succeeded in large part. The biggest loss was wide receiver John Brown, and the addition of Emanuel Sanders figures to make that loss pretty minimal. The top two draft picks were used to bring some youthful energy to the pass rush.

Betting Outlook

Now that Allen has figured it out, it’s hard to imagine Buffalo falling back too far anytime soon, even with Miami and the New England Patriots trying to come back up. A 12-1 bet for the championship seems like one of the better ones on the board. The fact that they suffered so little turnover is key, as continuity means a ton in this day and age in the NFL.

Miami Dolphins

  • Division: +350
  • Conference: +1800
  • Championship: +3300

What Happened Last Year

Much of the focus last year was on the quarterback shuffle between rookie Tue Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick, as the Miami offense moved in fits and starts toward progress. But the key to the team’s resurgence was a tougher defense led by an airtight secondary. Their return to the postseason was denied by the strength of the AFC, but a 10-6 record was still a sign of hope.

What’s New

The departure of Fitzpatrick leaves Tua with a chance to shine, which the Dolphins hope will happen now that he’s further removed from his college injuries. To that end, the addition of Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle beefs up the receiving corps in a major way. But Miami did lose some pass-rush juice, which could temper the progress of the defense.

Betting Outlook

Coach Brian Flores proved to be the right guy after many failed coaching experiments in Miami. And with Tua and a potentially explosive passing game leading the way, Miami should take another step forward. But Buffalo looks too established up at the top of the division for much betting value here.

New England Patriots

  • Division: +350
  • Conference: +1400
  • Championship: +2800

What Happened Last Year

The first year without Tom Brady wasn’t pretty, as the Pats long string of AFC East titles and playoff appearances ended with a thud (while Brady was winning a Super Bowl in Tampa.) Cam Newton couldn’t enliven the passing game. And the defense lacked the turnover-making spark that it showed in previous years.

What’s New

The Pats’ aggressiveness in the offseason indicate that they don’t want to wait around for a return to prominence. They revamped their receiver corps, are bringing back some old friends in the linebacking unit, and, in Mac Jones, now have the heir apparent at quarterback who could possibly unseat Newton as soon as this year. Meanwhile, they said goodbye to two big pieces of their Super Bowl past in Julian Edelman and Patrick Chung.

Betting Outlook

It’s hard to ever get much value on the Pats, especially with people believing that Bill Belichick can transform anything he touches. But he couldn’t do it last year without Brady. The uncertainty at the quarterback position likely means the offense still has a ways to go to again be playoff caliber.

New York Jets

  • Division: +1400
  • Conference: +3300
  • Championship: +8000

What Happened Last Year

If it weren’t for Jacksonville’s epic tank job, the Jets would have ended with the worst record in the league at 2-14. That ended the unfortunate Adam Gase era, and quarterback Sam Darnold followed him out the door. That duo was largely responsible for the offensive struggles, but the defense was pretty pliable as well.

What’s New

Highly-regarded new head coach Robert Saleh should liven up the defense, helped by the line additions of Carl Lawson and Sheldon Rankins. They’ll need the pass rush, because the secondary still looks beatable. On offense, second overall pick Zach Wilson should start from Day 1, but too much could be hung on him early due to a punchless running game.

Betting Outlook

They are one of the longest shots on the board for a reason. While the Wilson era has a good chance of turning out better than the Darnold era due to the weapons and tutelage around him, the results are probably a few years down the road. It would be an upset if the Jets weren’t last in the division.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

  • Division: +135
  • Conference: +900
  • Championship: +1600

What Happened Last Year

The Baltimore Ravens scuffled for much of the season as they tried to follow up 2019, when they had the AFC’s best record and QB Lamar Jackson won the MVP. This time around, teams were better equipped to deal with the team’s running attack. But the Ravens caught fire by winning their last five games, and although they didn’t win the division, they did get their first playoff victory with Jackson at the helm.

What’s New

The Ravens came into the offseason knowing some tough decisions would have to be made, and they lost some key performers in the trenches. In addition, trading tackle Orlando Brown to Kansas City arguably made them weaker while greatly helping their chief competition in the conference. Guard Kevin Zeitler should help to offset some of their offensive line losses.

Betting Outlook

While defending divisional champ Pittsburgh seems to be on the downswing, the Browns are only getting better. That makes the Ravens an inefficient divisional bet. And this team might have suffered too many losses to expect any kind of championship run.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Division: +1600
  • Conference: +4000
  • Championship: +8000

What Happened Last Year

The Bengals were encouraged by the play of top pick Joe Burrow, as he looked every bit the part of franchise quarterback. But his season-ending injury midway through the year put the Bengals in the hands of inexperienced and inept quarterback play. In addition, injuries kept Joe Mixon out much of the season, hurting their running game as well.

What’s New

Cincinnati made some savvy additions in the offseason. Trey Hendrickson gives them a serious pass-rushing threat if his breakout 2020 wasn’t a fluke, while Riley Reiff should help keep Burrow upright from his tackle position. Burrow gets another big outside weapon in Ja’Marr Chase, who joins Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd in what could be among the league’s best receiving groups.

Betting Outlook

Cincy has the makings of an explosive offense if Burrow comes back healthy. They figure to be improved in just about every area. But they’re in the wrong division to make too much of a dent this year, which is why those long odds are justified.

Cleveland Browns

  • Division: +145
  • Conference: +900
  • Championship: +1600

What Happened Last Year

The Cleveland Browns became Believe-land in a sudden turnabout, ending their playoff drought and adding a postseason win before Kansas City ended their run. Baker Mayfield came into his own, buoyed by a strong running game and one of the best offensive lines in football. And they did it all without Odell Beckham Jr., although some felt his absence was the catalyst for Mayfield’s improved play.

What’s New

The Browns return pretty much intact on offense, with the return of Beckham hopefully providing more of a spark if he and Mayfield can get on the same page. Although there was a lot of turnover in the secondary and the defensive line, the additions should be able to offset that. And top rookie Greg Newsome could hook up with Denzel Ward to give the Browns one of the best cornerback pairs in the league.

Betting Outlook

It’s time to stop talking about the curse. Talent-wise, this team looks like one of the best in the league. As long as Mayfield keeps ascending and the running backs stay healthy, they should be in Super Bowl contention, which makes those odds at the conference and championship level look mighty enticing.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Division: +360
  • Conference: +1800
  • Championship: +3600

What Happened Last Year

What began with a run at an unbeaten season ended in a crumpled heap with an epic meltdown in the playoffs against division rival Cleveland. As the season wore on, the offense couldn’t run the ball and couldn’t get the ball downfield. And injuries gutted what was once an impenetrable defense.

What’s New

The offseason losses in the secondary and on the offensive line were significant. Losses on the line won’t help the running game, even with first-rounder Najee Harris a big improvement over what the team trotted out in the backfield a year ago. Ben Roethlisberger came back for one more go-round, but his inability to throw downfield a year ago likely isn’t going to improve at this stage in his career.

Betting Outlook

The oddsmakers are hip to the fact that, even though the Steelers won the division a year ago, they are a shell of the team that started 2020 so well. There is enough talent on the defensive side of the ball to keep them in games. But the offense might struggle again to keep Roethlisberger upright or threaten defenses downfield, making them a distant third to Baltimore and Cleveland in the division.

AFC South

Houston Texans

  • Division: +1600
  • Conference: +8000
  • Championship: +15000

What Happened Last Year

After years of scraping by thanks to their mediocre division, it all fell apart last year for the Houston Texans in a 4-12 heap. The personnel decisions of Bill O’Brien finally caught up with him and cost him his coach/GM job, with the DeAndre Hopkins trade the final straw. Houston’s defense was one of the weakest in the league.

What’s New

Going from a playoff team two years ago to the team with the longest Super Bowl odds should tell you how it’s going in Houston these days. Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson may never play another game for the Texans due to off-the-field issues. And the greatest player in franchise history, J.J. Watt, decided to get out while the getting was good.

Betting Outlook

It’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. Even if Watson somehow makes it to the field, he couldn’t elevate them a year ago, even with great stats. If you could bet on worst record on the league in 2021, Houston would be heavily-favored.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Division: +100
  • Conference: +1200
  • Championship: +2000

What Happened Last Year

Philip Rivers ended his career with a one-year stint in Indy, taking them to the playoffs, where they came up just short of upsetting Buffalo in the Wild Card round. The Colts 11-5 record was a vast improvement from the previous year, when they struggled in the wake of Andrew Luck’s unexpected retirement. And they did with a mostly young cast, giving great hope for future improvements.

What’s New

The Colts rolled the dice that reuniting Carson Wentz with his former Philly position coach Frank Reich could resurrect his flagging career. Losing longtime offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo will hurt the protection, which was an issue for Wentz the past few years in Philly. Indy stayed quiet in the offseason besides the Wentz splash, counting on their young core.

Betting Outlook

So much rests on Wentz here. Reich will try to protect him with a solid running game in the hopes that he won’t feel like he has to do too much. A division title is a possibility, although even-money odds aren’t all that lucrative.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Division: +700
  • Conference: +5000
  • Championship: +10000

What Happened Last Year

Anyone remember when the Jags were 1-0? They lost their next 15 games, shuffling through quarterbacks and watching their once-vaunted defense get torn to shreds. By the second half of the season, it was pretty clear their goal was the #1 pick in the draft, which proved to be mission accomplished.

What’s New

Urban Meyer as head coach and Trevor Lawrence at quarterback qualifies as big offseason news. The offense received some skill position upgrades and the offensive line should be passable. But the defense is in complete transition, as the Jags figure to use this year to see what pieces are worth keeping around.

Betting Outlook

This will probably take a while. It helps that the Jags are in the weakest division in the AFC and will be kept out of the cellar by Houston. But they aren’t getting to the postseason this year, even with Lawrence and Meyer doing all they can.

Tennessee Titans

  • Division: +135
  • Conference: +1800
  • Championship: +3300

What Happened Last Year

The Tennessee Titans had just enough to hold off the opportunistic Colts in the AFC South, winning the division with the help of a tiebreaker. They didn’t change the formula, relying on the incredible running feats of Derrick Henry and high-percentage passing by Ryan Tannehill, with A.J. Brown emerging as a star receiver in his second season. This time around though, the Ravens had their number in the playoffs.

What’s New

Tennessee is trying to beef up its anemic pass rush with the addition of Bud Dupree and Denico Autry. The hope is also that first-round pick Caleb Farley can be a shutdown corner that they’ve been lacking. On the offensive side of the ball, Josh Reynolds was added to replace the departed Corey Davis as a compliment to Brown.

Betting Outlook

With the Colts transitioning to Carson Wentz, there figure to be some growing pains there. That means that the continuity of the Titans should make them a good bet to win the South. But their defense still seems to be too weak to expect a championship in the AFC or the NFL.

AFC West

Denver Broncos

  • Division: +400
  • Conference: +1200
  • Championship: +2000

What Happened Last Year

Key injury hits to the offensive skill positions and defense robbed the Broncos of much of their oomph right off the bat. Denver spent much of the year piecing together lineups and going into games overmatched, leading to a 5-11 disappointment. Perhaps the injuries were what saved Coach Vic Fangio’s job after a second straight mediocre season.

What’s New

Denver is a trendy pick to improve this year, based on a return to health and some key new additions. On the latter front, Teddy Bridgewater’s presence will give them competition at quarterback if Drew Lock doesn’t pull it together, while Kyle Fuller was the best cornerback on the market and now joins the Broncos. The defense could take a big leap if Von Miller suits up healthy and rookie Patrick Surtain is as good a bookend to Fuller as hoped.

Betting Outlook

The odds above seem just a bit optimistic. First of all, it’s hard to imagine Kansas City falling far just because of a lousy Super Bowl. And Lock just hasn’t shown enough to imagine that he’ll somehow lift the offense beyond middle of the pack.

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Division: -250
  • Conference: +275
  • Championship: +575

What Happened Last Year

The Kansas City Chiefs’ offense once again proved too much for the competition for most of the season. Pat Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce ran roughshod over opposing defenses, at least until the Super Bowl. That’s when the Buccaneers exposed the Chiefs offensive line and defense as being below average on the way to an upset win.

What’s New

The additions of Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney on the offensive line should pay immediate dividends, not only in protecting Mahomes but in helping the running game come to life again. There wasn’t as much attention paid to the defensive side of the ball, however, with the exception of acquiring DT Jarran Reed. Kansas City might be in line for a lot of shootouts once again.

Betting Outlook

They seem like a lock for the division crown, but staying in front of Buffalo and Cleveland in the AFC might prove difficult. There just isn’t a lot of value in betting them for the conference or the Super Bowl championship, even though they’re more than capable of winning both. Better to go with longer shots in those departments.

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Division: +900
  • Conference: +2500
  • Championship: +500

What Happened Last Year

The Las Vegas Raiders first season in Sin City was a decidedly mixed bag, which sounds about right with an 8-8 record. Las Vegas looked great at times, beating the Chiefs early in the season as one example. But they also lost a host of close games due to inconsistency on both sides of the ball and questionable coaching decisions.

What’s New

It’s hard to look at this offseason as a successful one for the Raiders. They gutted their offensive line, which was arguably one of the strengths of the team, while taking their usual shots at veterans who might be a bit past their prime. Their draft was equally confusing, with an emphasis on safeties and a first-round reach.

Betting Outlook

At some point, Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden are going to stop getting passes for their questionable decisions. That could be at the end of this season, because it’s hard to imagine this collection as anything better than 8-8 again. They’re not worth a pick on any level.

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Division: +600
  • Conference: +1400
  • Championship: +3300

What Happened Last Year

The Chargers’ selection of Justin Herbert as their franchise quarterback certainly looks like the right one after his record-setting rookie season. That wasn’t enough to overcome for a tepid, injury-wracked defense. But they did win their last four games in a good sign of things to come.

What’s New

Although the Chargers lost a lot of players, it could be argued that not a lot of them were producing at a level that will be missed. They did add a difference-maker in center Corey Linsley from Green Bay. With him at center and first-round pick Rashawn Slater at left tackle, Herbert could have a vastly-improved offensive line in front of him.

Betting Outlook

This is the best value pick in this division if that’s the way you want to play it. The offense could be among the league’s best, and a healthy Joey Bosa could make a huge difference on defense. They’re probably another year away, but if you’re looking for bang from your betting buck, they’re not a bad stab in the dark either.

Conclusion

We hope that you use this page as research for your 2021 AFC futures wagers at top NFL betting sites. If you do, you should be able to find value picks. And the longer you wait to commit, the more those values might start to disappear.

Jim Beviglia

Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog. For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h ...

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