The preseason is over and it has taken its toll on every team to different degrees, all that is left is waiting.
That is unless you are inclined to put your money where your mouth is this season. We all have our opinions and beliefs about the upcoming season, and there are plenty of ways to make some money out of them, if you are right of course.
However, there are some bets that are better than others this year. After all, 500/1 is great odds, but when you need the Jets to win the Super Bowl to cash in on them, it’s not so good.
So what are the best bets you can make this season? What has got the combination of nice odds and a good chance of actually paying off? Let’s start with an easy one.
Patriots to win AFC East – 1/8
So these odds are pretty terrible, however it’s as close to a guarantee as there is in the NFL. The last time Tom Brady played a full season and didn’t win the AFC East was 2002. In 2008, without Brady, the Patriots still won 11 games.
Even if something calamitous happens to #12 they still have the hooded menace on the sideline and the second-best quarterback in the division in Jimmy Garoppolo. Okay, you’d have to bet $80 to win $10, but come Week 13 it could already be wrapped up.
First head coach fired: Chuck Pagano – 7/2
Pagano shares the favorite odds with Todd Bowles, but given that the Jets handed Bowles a roster that couldn’t survive in the PAC-12 this season and firing him for not winning games with this team would be a really bad move, I have picked Chuck Pagano.
For Pagano however, the limitations of his coaching are about to be exposed. Andrew Luck hasn’t thrown a ball in anger all preseason as he recuperates from offseason shoulder reconstruction. While he was taken off the PUP list before the final roster cuts, the Colts also traded for New England Patriots third-string QB Jacoby Brissett, signaling that not only do they think their crop of backups suck, but that they aren’t expecting Luck to be on the field that soon.
With the bearded signal-caller sidelined there is really little you can expect from the Colts offense. Their offensive line is ok, but center Ryan Kelly is out for the first month following foot surgery and the run game has been far from dominant even when teams had to account for Luck’s big arm.
Indianapolis open with the Rams, Cardinals, Browns, Seahawks, and 49ers. With Luck they would hope to go at least 3-2 in that stretch, but without him they could easily end up 1-4 or worse, which would see Pagano’s seat become unbearably hot.
Most receiving yards: Michael Thomas – 25/1
Drew Brees is pretty much a lock for 4,800+ yards this year, and while he has always spreads the ball around well, he comes into this season without Brandin Cooks and with Willie Snead suspended for three games. The knock-on effect of that should be more targets for second-year Michael Thomas.
The former-Buckeye pulled in 92 receptions for 1,137 yards last season and is expected to see far more than the 121 targets he got in 2016.
There are, obviously, a lot of big names in competition for the receiving title. Seven players have shorter odds than Thomas, but they all face some adversity. Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, and Mike Evans face increased competition for their targets this year due to a better supporting cast, T. Y. Hilton might not have his quarterback for the season, and Jordy Nelson is getting on in years now.
There are plenty of great receivers in the league right now, but not many have a situation as good as Thomas’.
Defensive MVP: Von Miller – 12/1
This one is tricky, but because I nailed Khalil Mack last year I feel that I have to revisit it. The favorite is obviously J. J. Watt, but there are some worries not only about his back but also the talent around him taking away some of his stats.
Aaron Donald hasn’t been in camp, Luke Kuechly is potentially one concussion away from retirement, and Vic Beasley has the air of a one-year wonder. Which leaves Miller…
For as great as Von Miller has been since entering the NFL, he’s only topped 15 sacks once (18.5 in 2012). His all-round talents take away a little bit from the flashy sack numbers, and a change of defensive coordinator could see him be dedicated more regularly to destroying offensive tackles and crushing ball carriers in the backfield.
For someone who is, at worst, the third most talented defender in the NFL, 12/1 is really nice.
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