The 2022-23 NFL season began long before the confetti started to fly at SoFi Stadium, as teams looked to position themselves for a run at Super Bowl LVII. The sportsbooks have also had an eye on the upcoming season, as futures odds have been up for a little while now. There will still be a lot of moving parts with the NFL Draft and free agency, but it may not be a bad time to get invested in the teams that you like for next season.
My strategy is to try and find a way to secure some sort of profit with a higher-priced team that has a good chance at making the playoffs. I’m not necessarily trying to pick the winner to tie up my money for several months with a short price. I’d rather take a longer shot in a favorable situation. Everybody has a different approach, but that is the one that works for me.
Here are a few futures bets I like (odds from DraftKings Sportsbook):
Minnesota Vikings (35/1): We aren’t quite sure what will happen with Aaron Rodgers, but his decision will have a huge impact on the NFC North. If Rodgers does not return to the Packers, this Vikings price will plummet, as they will be the favorites to win the division. If he does, Minnesota could still win the division, but would also have a good chance at a wild card spot.
The Bears and Lions are still trying to build up their rosters. The Packers weren’t as good as their 13-4 record suggested. The Vikings were better than their 8-9 record. They blew a lot of games that they should have won. A new head coach should be a big upgrade over Mike Zimmer. We’re still waiting to see if it will be Rams assistant Kevin O’Connell or somebody else, but Zimmer’s game management was really poor throughout the year.
This is a good offense, a good team and the schedule isn’t bad at all. NFC teams get the extra home game with this year’s 17-game schedule and the Vikings play the AFC East and NFC East, so there are very winnable games there if it comes down to the wild card race.
Atlanta Falcons (50/1): The Falcons only went 7-10 in Arthur Smith’s first year, so it would take a big leap for Atlanta to make a legitimate playoff push, but it could very well happen. The NFC South is a mess right now. The Saints don’t have a quarterback and have a new head coach. The Buccaneers are likely to be in rebuild mode with Tom Brady retiring. The Panthers have all kinds of offensive issues and also don’t have a QB.
By default, Matt Ryan is the best QB in the division. The six division games all look winnable, whether at home or on the road. The Falcons get that extra home game by virtue of being in the NFC. The AFC North and NFC West are tough draws, but all of the other NFC South teams have to play those squads. The Falcons get the Bears and Commanders with the third-place schedule. Those are winnable games as well.
The Falcons have a very realistic chance to win the division and they’d host a playoff game with a big 50/1 price tag.
Los Angeles Chargers (25/1): According to Spotrac, the Chargers have the second-most available cap space heading into the offseason to fix their porous defense. They also have an elite young quarterback in Justin Herbert. This is a team that was 8-5 prior to losing three of four at the end of the season to miss the playoffs, including the Week 18 loss to the Raiders that sealed the team’s fate.
First-year head coach Brandon Staley will be much more experienced going into his second season. The AFC West is definitely a tough division, but that also means that the Chargers will be battle-tested by the time they get to the postseason. That season-ending loss gave the Chargers a third-place schedule, which has the Dolphins and Falcons. Those are two very winnable games.
This is a big price for a very talented team with a lot of room to add to the roster over the offseason.