Weingarten: Six NFL futures bets I'm starting with

September 8, 2022 01:01 AM
USATSI_18962005

With the MLB regular season winding down, I’ve turned some of my attention to the NFL futures markets.

I’m a big Steelers believer to start the 2022 season and I might be the only person predicting disaster for Tom Brady and the Bucs.

I’ll be adding to my futures portfolio every week so you can follow along. All bets are risking $500 unless noted. 

Fewest wins/worst record: Buccaneers 250-1 (DraftKings)

Buccaneers to miss the playoffs + 375 (Circa)

The Buccaneers are a disaster waiting to happen. I no longer see a guaranteed Super Bowl contender as much as a rapidly aging roster and questionable offensive line depth. The Bucs are always one Brady injury away from Blaine Gabbert.

With every year Brady puts off retirement, he continues to push his luck. I know the rules are different for Brady, but I can’t think of another example of a starring quarterback leaving training camp for almost two weeks. There are a lot of assumptions being made that Brady can just show up and be great. While that might be true, I see a rookie coach who has no control over his 45-year-old quarterback, a bad offensive line and an aging roster.

While I took a stab at a huge price that the Bucs will have the worst record in the NFL, I know it’s far more likely they finish around league average or slightly worse, so I also bet the Bucs to miss the playoffs.

The Bucs start the season with back-to-back road games at Dallas and New Orleans before playing the Packers and Chiefs. Anything from 4-0 to 0-4 is not out of the question. There are very few “easy” games on the schedule, if there is such a thing in the NFL, but a couple of early losses and this season could get away from the Bucs quickly.

Offensive Player of the Year: Najee Harris 75-1 (FanDuel)

Steelers 10-1 to win AFC North (DraftKings)

Steelers to make the playoffs + 350 (DraftKings)

Week 1: Steelers ML + 241 at Bengals (Bookmaker.eu)

Najee Harris had 307 rushing attempts last year as a rookie, second most in the NFL, and he was fourth in total yards from scrimmage behind only Deebo Samuel, Cooper Kupp and Jonathan Taylor. While Taylor, Kupp and Samuel are getting all of the attention at the top of the OPOY odds board, Harris is down with players who have a 0.0% chance of winning, names such as Hunter Renfrow, Deshaun Watson and Michael Pittman.

I like the Steelers a lot in general this year and I also like their early season schedule: at Bengals, Patriots at home and at Browns without Deshaun Watson. Winning both division games is not out of the question. I think the Steelers are slightly underrated and the Bengals, coming off a Super Bowl appearance, are slightly overrated. The Ravens are always the Ravens and this division will likely come down to the very end, as it always seems to. Whether the Steelers win the division or not, I think this is a playoff-caliber team.

I bet the Steelers to win the North and make the playoffs, and to start things off, I also bet them on the moneyline at the Bengals on Sunday.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: KaVontae Turpin 80-1 (DraftKings and SuperBook)

Wide receiver KaVontae Turnpin went undrafted but made the Cowboys roster after he was named MVP of the new USFL in June. Turpin caught my attention, and the attention of Cowboys coaches, by returning a kick and a punt for touchdowns in a preseason game against the Chargers.

With Amari Cooper gone, Michael Gallup out to start the season and rookie Jalen Tolbert listed as a starter in three-receiver sets, there will be plenty of opportunities for others to get targets. Turpin is 26, so there’s not much time left for development. The Cowboys are going to use him right away, and it would not surprise me to see them get him the ball in space via jet sweeps or bubble screens to take advantage of his athleticism.

He could be the next Tyreek Hill. Or he could be a flop. I’ll take my chances at 80-1.

Total risked: $3,500

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