We’re back! I can’t believe it, but the NFL is really back! It still seems very surreal to me, but now that Week 1 is finally here, a rush of adrenaline is starting to hit me. I’ve finished crunching all the numbers and researching after all of the roster moves after last weekend’s cuts. Thursday can’t get here fast enough! This week I’ll be posting some of my favorite AFC & NFC futures, my favorite bets for the Thursday night season opener, and of course, my favorite picks for Week 1.
When it comes to the NFC this season, and our futures picks, the San Francisco 49ers still look a level above the rest of their competition. That is already built into their numbers by oddsmakers when it comes to their season totals. For that reason, I’m skipping them when it comes to my season total bets. Besides the Niners, the rest of the NFC looks completely wide open to me. Can teams like the Bears and Rams bounce back? Will the Cowboys take the next step? There are so many different teams that can go boom or bust, which is what makes this season all the more exciting.
NFC Futures Picks 2020 Season
So, what bets do I like in the NFC? Let’s head to Detroit for my first 2020 NFC pick:
Detroit Lions over 6 wins (I still like it at 6.5)
Detroit seems to be a hot pick for many right now, and it makes sense. The Lions were on the wrong side of variance in 2019, which should change in 2020. They also welcome back a fully healthy Matthew Stafford, who before he got injured, was slinging the football. Their schedule, at least on paper, is a lot better than it was last year. They had a ton of injuries, which hopefully changes in a positive way this season.
They also made some solid offseason moves, which should bolster their defense. They Darius Slay, but then spent the third overall pick on cornerback Jeff Okudah. I like his game a lot. They also brought in a trio of former Patriots in DT Danny Shelton, LB Jamie Collins and S Duron Harmon. All three guys should be able to come in and contribute right away.
Lastly, Matt Patricia is coaching for his job. It is now or never for him to show that they are headed in the right direction. The NFC North is wide open, as we will talk about the Packers and Bears next, so now is the time for Detroit to make their move. Give me the over.
#1 NFC Futures Pick – Green Bay Packers under 9 wins
The Packers remind me a lot of the Chicago Bears from two seasons ago. They had a lot of luck, won a ton of close games (8-1 in one score games) they should’ve lost and had favorable health. I see a huge regression coming this season. I also think it is quite telling of Vegas to drop a 9 win total for them after a 13-win campaign. The public is hammering the over, while a lot of sharp guys I know are on the opposite. This is also a team that needed help at WR for Aaron Rodgers, but left him out to dry by taking his replacement in the first round and a RB early, when they already have two good ones.
They also were +12 in turnover differential, and more importantly, now face a first place schedule that is going to be a lot tougher than their schedule from last season.
Lastly, AR is still the man, but he is on his way down, as he produced his second-worst quarterback rating (95.4) of the past 11 years and second-worst completion rate (62%) of the past 12 years. Teams like the Bears and Lions will be better this season, give me the under on the GB win total.
Chicago Bears over 7.5 wins
On the flip side of Green Bay, I see Chicago having a bounce-back season. They added Robert Quinn and got rid of Leonard Floyd. They also get the monster Akeem Hicks back from injury to anchor the middle. These two things will help Khalil Mack in a huge way. Last season Mack was double and triple teamed, but teams can’t do that anymore. The entire front 7 will be one of the best in football and should wreak havoc game in and game out.
While the QB position is still a big question mark, the Bears also got a lot better at the TE position by drafting rookie Cole Kmet and signing Jimmy Graham. While I wasn’t a fan of Graham, I love the upgrade at the position with both of these guys together. They will be leaps and bounds better than Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen and the few other TEs the Bears had to bring in off the streets due to injury. The play-calling should also be better as the Bears brought in some key offensive minds in the offseason.
The schedule also is better for Chicago this season, as they are not playing a first-place schedule anymore. That gives them a ton of winnable games, if they can right the ship on offense.
And, for as bad as Chicago’s offense was last season, they still finished 8-8. The defense will translate this year and the offense should be better with an improved OL and TE. I see the Packers and Vikings both coming back down to the Earth, which should open up the door for Chicago. Give me over 7.5 wins.
New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl +1200
I see the Niners having a little bit of a SB hangover this season, so I am rolling with the consistent team that everyone is overlooking. The New Orleans Saints, who are 37-11 over the past three seasons. Every year they win the NFC South, and I see the same result this year for our futures bet, even though the Bucs are the trendy pick. Usually the trendy, public pick loses every year, so take that for whatever it is worth.
They have a great coach and an all-time QB. But more importantly, they now have one of the best defenses in the NFL. The offense has shifted to run heavy, which helps Brees. This is a very well-balanced team, which is what you want in a SB future.
They’ve had a stud run defense over the past two seasons, a solid pass rush and a nice secondary. All things I see carrying over to this season.
Aside from their defense, I love their OL. Per PFF, The Saints have the second-best offensive line in the league.
You are getting good NFL odds for a very great team that is always knocking at the door every season. I’ll roll with the Saints in this spot.
So, that’s it for our futures picks in the NFC for the 2020 season, some great options in this lot. Good luck!