The NFL season isn’t showing up until the fall but that doesn’t stop football bettors from sizing up the offseason futures. With so much player movements this spring, odds have been shaken up a number of times and that has value popping up in the divisional futures odds.
Here are some free sports betting picks on divisional sleepers who could stun the NFL betting markers come the fall:
Washington Redskins (+700 to win NFC East)
The Redskins are the third-overall choice to win the NFC East behind the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. Washington did swap out quarterbacks, letting Kirk Cousins walk for big money and trading for former Chiefs QB Alex Smith. Now, many see this as a downgrade but forget that Smith was among the best passers in the NFL to begin last season, as Kansas City opened up its normally-conservative playbook.
Washington has some work to do on defense, especially when it comes to stopping the run, but this division has played musical chairs with its winner in recent years: the last back-to-back NFC East champ was Philly in 2003/2004. The Redskins could catch the Eagles in a Super Bowl slumber and the talent-thin Cowboys off guard.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+500 to win NFC South)
The Bucs were supposed to make some major improvements in 2017 but came up short in a very competitive NFC South. Tampa Bay is the fourth option in the NFC South futures, but at 5/1 odds there’s respect there from the oddsmakers. Jameis Winston was hampered by injury last season and WR Mike Evans was inconsistent because of it, but they still could score a ton of points. On defense, the Buccaneers fell apart at the end of the schedule, which made them look worse than they were, ranked dead last in a number of categories.
The NFC South could be in line for a down year, as Carolina steps back and New Orleans has issues matching its success of last season. Even the Falcons were flawed for half of 2017. Could that open the window for the young and hungry Bucs?
Tennessee Titans (+300 to win AFC South)
The AFC South is the most competitive division in football. How else can you explain a team as good as Tennessee pegged as a 3/1 third choice in the division futures odds? The Titans, despite making the playoffs and winning a Wild Card game, underperformed a bit in 2017. The offense never really met its potential but showed flashes of brilliance toward the end of the season, going no-huddle with QB Marcus Mariota and getting huge efforts from RB Derrick Henry.
Building on the experience of last year and a defense that did a good job versus the run and got after opposing quarterbacks, the Titans could really make some moves this coming year. Houston looks promising with some big offseason additions and Jacksonville was close to knocking off the Patriots, but there’s value with Tennessee which went 3-1 SU versus those foes.
Oakland Raiders (+300)
OK, so Oakland really crapped the bed in 2017. After a breakthrough year for the franchise in 2016, the Silver and Black were toothless on offense and the defense just couldn’t do anything to offset those scoring woes. Enter former head coach Jon Gruden, who will either make Derek Carr or ruin him. They brought in former Packers wideout Jordy Nelson and are hoping Amari Cooper has a bounce back year.
The thing about the Raiders is that the AFC West is pretty much up for grabs. San Diego is the current favorite, followed by Kansas City: two teams that start off hot but can’t seem to close out a season. Oakland – soon to be Las Vegas – added some bodies to an already respectable defense, and is a great choice at this price to win the division.