NFC Futures Betting After the 2021 NFL Draft

By in NFL on
14 Minute Read
NFC-49ers

The NFL Draft took place this past weekend and let the 16 teams in the National Football Conference of the NFL fill out their rosters with young talent. That also means that those NFC teams now pretty much know what those rosters will look like in the 2021 season. As a result, it’s a perfect time to check out futures odds to find the best wagers.

In the NFL, the offseason takes place in a couple different stages. First up is the free agency period, where veterans seek out greener financial pastures (and more playing time) by switching teams. Next up is the draft, where teams look for the league’s next stars.

Now that the draft is over, there really isn’t much turnover that should happen with each team’s roster going forward from now until Opening Day in September. That makes it an excellent time to size up the futures market for each team. And today, we’re concentrating on the NFC teams and how their futures odds match up to their current rosters.

Looking Back

A year ago at this time, the San Francisco 49ers were the defending champs of the conference; they would wind up an also-ran in 2020. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who would end up winning the NFC (and the Super Bowl) were a trendy futures pick because of Tom Brady’s arrival. Other teams saw their fortunes rise or fall from their offseason odds.

Already, the NFC is in quite a bit of turmoil, thanks to many teams changing quarterbacks. In addition, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, two of the league’s top signal-callers in Seattle and Green Bay, have made complaints about their current situations and might not be there at the beginning of the year. It makes for a tumultuous conference setup, which is bad for the hairlines of head coaches, but good for futures bettors who know how to spot a value when they see one.

NFC Futures Betting 2021

With that in mind, we’re here to explore the futures betting market for the upcoming 2021 season as it pertains to the NFC. We’ll take a look at what each team did last year and check out the comings and goings of their offseason. And then we’ll assess the odds to see if these teams are worthwhile as potential futures wagers at top sports betting sites.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

  • Division: +120
  • Conference: +1400
  • Championship: +3300

What Happened Last Year

The injury to Dak Prescott proved his worth once and for all, as the Dallas Cowboys looked like a shell of a team from that point on. But there were bigger problems than that, as the once-proud offensive line was in tatters, leaving the running game struggling as well. Add in a weak defense and 6-10 was about right.

What’s New

The Cowboys get Prescott back, which is obviously more important than any free agent signing. If the offensive line could get some continuity, the offense should start humming again. But the defense, even without some talented players coming in the draft, might still have issues against the pass.

Betting Outlook

Dallas is the favorite in the division, but that’s an indication of where the NFC East is at more than anything else. Their chances of moving up to conference or NFL championship are slim. And the holes in the defense make even a divisional crown too iffy at those odds.

New York Giants

  • Division: +425
  • Conference: +2500
  • Championship: +500

What Happened Last Year

For the second straight season, an early-season injury robbed New York of their prime playmaker in Saquon Barkley, this time for the whole year. That left the offense without punch, and Daniel Jones’ turnover issues didn’t help matters. Even with a surprisingly stout defense, the Giants came up a game short of Washington in the division.

What’s New

The Giants are trying to give Jones every chance to succeed, adding some notable skill position players. Kenny Golladay is the big name there, as he should back defenses off and give Jones and Barkley breathing room. On defense, New York hopes that cornerback Adoree’ Jackson can have the same kind of impact that Blake Martinez and James Bradberry did when they arrived a year ago.

Betting Outlook

New York looks like they’ve done enough to get over the hump in the weak division, which makes them a good bet there. Obviously, you’re running a risk that Barkley won’t come back healthy or Jones won’t figure it out. But they look like they have the most talent out of the four teams in the East, although it won’t be enough for them to go further than that.

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Division: +550
  • Conference: +3300
  • Championship: +6600

What Happened Last Year

The Eagles’ transformation from Super Bowl champ to franchise adrift was shockingly swift, with 2020 serving as a bottoming out. Carson Wentz couldn’t hold onto the ball and was benched, while the defense couldn’t hold anybody down. In the end, coach Doug Pederson followed Wentz out the door after an embarrassing final game of the season when he seemed to be trying to throw the game.

What’s New

New coach Nick Sirianni will be orchestrating a full rebuild project. Philly largely sat out the chase for big-name free agents outside of safety Anthony Harris, while cutting loose many veterans. Adding DeVonta Smith will ideally give Jalen Hurts the #1 receiver the team has been sorely lacking.

Betting Outlook

Here’s the thing: as bad as it looks for Philly, the division in which they play is weak. The Giants are probably ahead of them in terms of improvement this year. But it’s not out of the question that they could win the East at the longest futures odds right now.

Washington Football Team

  • Division: +225
  • Conference: +2500
  • Championship: +5000

What Happened Last Year

They went into the season without a name and soon needed a new quarterback when Dwayne Haskins fizzled out. Luckily, Alex Smith provided more than just a feel-good comeback story, while the defense put the team on their backs. The result was an unlikely division championship at 7-9.

What’s New

After the expected retirement of Smith, the Washington Football Team is turning to some FitzMagic with the signing of Ryan Fitzpatrick to run the offense. He’ll get the benefit of Curtis Samuel as a playmaking compliment to Terry McLaurin on the outside. Meanwhile, the defense might get even better with the addition of cornerback William Jackson.

Betting Outlook

They might not have the best value of the NFC East teams, but if you’re looking for the surest thing, they’re the ones to pick. As long as Fitzpatrick doesn’t get too careless with the ball, their defensive live should do the rest. And with that defense, it’s not outlandish to think of Washington as an NFC champion if you like long-shot plays.

NFC North

Chicago Bears

  • Division: +300
  • Conference: +2500
  • Championship: +5000

What Happened Last Year

With an 8-8 record and a two-point differential for the entire season, the Bears were the very definition of middle of the road a year ago. They once again featured a stout defense and an offense that couldn’t get out of its own way. Strangely enough, a 3-5 record at home was their undoing.

What’s New

The quarterback position will be the one to watch, with Andy Dalton joining Nick Foles as journeyman options. But everyone will be waiting to see if top draft pick Justin Fields will start right off the bat. On defense, Desmond Trufant is a decent addition, but he’s hasn’t been on the same level recently as departed corner Kyle Fuller.

Betting Outlook

One of two things will happen with the Bears this year. Either Fields will start early and suffer growing pains, or Dalton or Foles will get the nod and the offense will be lacking juice. In either case, Chicago does’t have much chance of returning you money on any of your future bets.

Detroit Lions

  • Division: +2200
  • Conference: +6600
  • Championship: +15000

What Happened Last Year

The Detroit Lions finally put an end to the Matt Patricia era, perhaps a few years too late. The team never decided on an identity offensively or defensively while he was at helm. Their 5-11 record in 2020 actually could have been a lot worse if not for a couple late victories.

What’s New

The Lions turned to page by exchanging Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and some serious draft capital. They also lost their best wideout in Kenny Golladay, while cutting loose many contributors from recent seasons. New faces who should immediately play key roles include WR Brashad Perriman, DT Michael Brockers and rookie OT Penei Sewell.

Betting Outlook

Detroit has some of the longest odds in football at top betting sites. There isn’t any scenario where they jump past any of the other three teams in the division. Look for them to post one of the worst records in the league.

Green Bay Packers

  • Division: -140
  • Conference: +750
  • Championship: +1600

What Happened Last Year

Aaron Rodgers bounced back from a mediocre 2019 to win Most Valuable Player honors, directing a balanced offense behind a potent offensive line. The defense also did its part, getting a strong pass rush and excellent secondary play. They came up short in the NFC Championship to the steamrolling Buccaneers.

What’s New

The important news this offseason for the Green Bay Packers didn’t have anything to do with personnel changes. Instead, it was all about Rodgers and the reports that he wants out. Green Bay’s brass is saying they’ll do what they can to make him stay, but it’s all up in the air.

Betting Outlook

Would you feel comfortable taking them at odds-on in the division if Jordan Love were at the helm in Game 1? Maybe everybody will get together and work things out by Opening Day. But the Packers’ betting value pretty much disappeared with the uncertainty surrounding Rodgers.

Minnesota Vikings

  • Division: +260
  • Conference: +2800
  • Championship: +5000

What Happened Last Year

For most of Mike Zimmer’s time as Viking head coach, the team could rely on an inconsistent defense to prop up a shaky offense. But in 2020, Kirk Cousins had his best season as Vike, Dalvin Cook continued to ball out, and rookie Justin Jefferson put up record-breaking numbers at receiver. Meanwhile, the defense, beset by departures the previous offseason and injuries, fell apart, leading to a 7-9 season.

What’s New

The Vikings plan to replace the departed Riley Reiff at left tackle with first-rounder Christian Darrisaw. Patrick Peterson comes aboard to help the young secondary. But the Vikes’ biggest improvement on defense should come from getting star performers Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks back healthy.

Betting Outlook

This is one of the best values you’ll see on the NFC board. The Vikings have a habit of stepping up every other season, which would mean 2021 should be a good one. Add in the uncertainty about Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and they have a prime opportunity to vault right back into the mix in the NFC.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

  • Division: +600
  • Conference: +2800
  • Championship: +5000

What Happened Last Year

The Atlanta Falcons made a habit of ridiculous come-from-ahead losses. As a result, their 4-12 record wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. A couple bounces of the ball one way or the other a little bit differently and their record would have been much different.

What’s New

The defense will have some new faces, but none that should make that big of a difference. On offense, rookie Kyle Pitts at tight end gives Matt Ryan an embarrassment of riches. Losing long-time center Alex Mack could cause issues on the offensive line.

Betting Outlook

If the Falcons were in another division, you could imagine them as a decent value play. The offense could be a juggernaut if the running game can give even a little bit more this year. But it’s hard to imagine them getting anywhere near the level that the Buccaneers are at to start the season.

Carolina Panthers

  • Division: +600
  • Conference: +3300
  • Championship: +6600

What Happened Last Year

An injury to Christian McCaffery took some of the steam out of the offense, even as Mike Davis filled in admirably. Even though Teddy Bridgewater proved a steadying influence, the offense was still lower-tier. And the defense wasn’t much better, as Carolina muddled its way to 5-11.

What’s New

Another year, another quarterback, as the Panthers are rolling the dice with Sam Darnold in the hopes that a better supporting cast will help him reach his potential. But that cast takes a hit with the departure of Curtis Samuel, who was coming into his own at the end of last year. On defense, Hassan Reddick should improve the pass rush and A.J. Bouye adds some veteran presence in the secondary.

Betting Outlook

Darnold just didn’t show enough in New York to make anyone think that a change of scenery will turn it around. Even McCaffrey being back full-time shouldn’t make that much of a difference. Look for them to be at the bottom of the division this season.

New Orleans Saints

  • Division: +300
  • Conference: +1400
  • Championship: +2800

What Happened Last Year

In his swan song season, Drew Brees dinked and dunked his way to a respectable year, thanks in large part to the heroics of running back Alvin Kamara. The defense, while inconsistent, was still formidable enough to do its part. But New Orleans ran into the hot team in the playoffs and went down to Tampa quietly.

What’s New

In addition to losing Brees to retirement, the Saints’ salary cap issues caught up with them in a big way this offseason. Trey Hendrickson parlayed a breakout season as pass rusher to a big contract elsewhere, while veteran contributors Janoris Jenkins, Sheldon Rankins and Malcolm Brown also departed the defense with little coming in return. Sean Payton has been mum on whether Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill will be the quarterback.

Betting Outlook

The New Orleans Saints seem poised for a drop this year, certainly when you consider that Tampa hasn’t lost anything from a year ago. The quarterback choice will be crucial to any success. At best, a wild card appearance and a quick playoff exit are in the cards.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Division: -160
  • Conference: +300
  • Championship: +600

What Happened Last Year

The Tom Brady doubters were laughing it up when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sat at 6-5 and looked a bit lost. They never lost another game, sweeping through the rest of the regular season and playoffs before shocking the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Credit Brady and a balanced offense, but it was the swarming defense that really emerged as heroes.

What’s New

To the happiness of all Tampa fans, not much. The Buccaneers head into 2021 with every one of their Super Bowl starters slated to return. That includes Brady, who didn’t even whisper the word retirement after another Super Bowl MVP win, instead realizing he’s in a prime spot to do it again.

Betting Outlook

As if things weren’t already in Tampa’s favor, their prime competition for the division, New Orleans, lost a ton of talent. And their prime competition for the conference, Green Bay, is in disarray after the news that Aaron Rodgers wants to leave. The end result is, even at the short odds, Tampa Bay is a good bet on all levels.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

  • Division: +425
  • Conference: +1600
  • Championship: +3300

What Happened Last Year

The Cardinals collapsed down the stretch, going from a sleeper Super Bowl contender to a team that ended with the same record as the Bears. Kyler Murray’s effectiveness waned as the season wore on, partly due to nagging injuries. Arizona also struggled in tight games.

What’s Next

In terms of quantity of big-name additions, Arizona stood pretty tall this offseason. J.J. Watt tops the list, but A.J. Green, James Conner, and Malcolm Butler are also well-known among casual fans. Rodney Hudson, an under-the-radar pickup, could have a great impact on the Cards iffy offensive line.

Betting Outlook

All of the additions haven’t exactly impressed the oddsmakers, as the Cards are the longest shot to win the NFC West. Kilff Kingsbury will have to pull all the disparate parts into a cohesive whole. That approach worked for Tampa last year, so why not the Cards, who make for an interesting value choice.

Los Angeles Rams

  • Division: +190
  • Conference: +650
  • Championship: +1200

What Happened Last Year

At times they seemed to be pleasing no one, not even their fan base, with their style of play. But a 10-6 record, wild card appearance, and a playoff win were nothing to sneeze at. The Los Angeles Rams played rough and tumble defense and ball control offense and the formula worked just fine.

What’s New

The franchise decided that the veteran stability of Matthew Stafford (if he stays healthy) was better than the younger inconsistency of Jared Goff, and two future first-round picks was the cost to make the switch. Salary cap issues also meant that several key performers are gone from the league’s best defense. Michael Brockers and John Johnson, in particular, will be missed.

Betting Outlook

The hope is that an improved offense will somewhat make up for the loss on defense. And, with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey still in place, maybe the defense won’t fall that far. Still, all the odds here seem a tad ambitious.

San Francisco 49ers

  • Division: +210
  • Conference: +650
  • Championship: +1400

What Happened

The Niners were one of the league’s major disappointments. They followed up their Super Bowl appearance with an ugly 6-10 record, victims of injury issues and a struggling starting quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. Even their defense took a major step back after a breakthrough 2019.

What’s New

San Fran used the third pick in the draft on Trey Lance, who will immediately compete with Garoppolo for playing time. Although there was a lot of roster turnover in the past few months, nobody added or lost figures to tip the needle too far. If unsigned Richard Sherman does not return, San Fran will miss his ability and attitude.

Betting Outlook

The oddsmakers seem to be expecting a bounce-back, and improved health can certainly go a long way. But the uncertainty at quarterback and some question marks in the back half of the defense are concerning. It looks like the odds don’t quite reflect the reality here.

Seattle Seahawks

  • Division: +300
  • Conference: +1400
  • Championship: +2800

What Happened Last Year

The Seattle Seahawks rolled to the title in a competitive division by two games, ending 12-4. Russell Wilson put up career passing numbers by heaving early and often to D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, although those numbers tailed off as the year progressed. The playoffs were a huge disappointment, as Seattle cratered at home against the Rams tough defense.

What’s New

Losing cornerbacks Shaquille Griffin and Quinton Dunbar will hurt, although a full season of Jamal Adams will help paper over those losses. Wilson gets another weapon in tight end Gerald Everett, while Gabe Jackson will boost the offensive line. Seattle took a flyer on Aldon Smith in the hopes he can help the pass rush.

Betting Outlook

Wilson grumbled in the offseason about perhaps wanting to leave, but things have quieted down lately. Obviously, losing him would knock them way down the pecking order. But as long as he suits up, Seattle has an excellent chance of winning the division.

Conclusion

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this look at the NFC and the potential futures viability of the teams within the conference at top NFL betting sites. Remember that you probably won’t be able to get value any better than it is right now. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the knowledge of offseason changes now before other bettors get wise to it and values 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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