When it comes to betting on NFL futures, everyone loves to bet on the Super Bowl. Most of the big online sportsbooks will release their Super Bowl futures odds a whole year in advance, but if you are willing to wait a bit for much better value in the actual betting odds, then you might want to try your luck picking the winner of both the AFC and the NFC Conference titles.
Given that there are 32 NFL teams in the entire league, the pool of potential winners is automatically cut in half with conference futures as opposed to the Super Bowl. This in itself adds value to this bet.
Betting on NFL conference futures is big business at these various online sportsbooks during the league’s offseason and while it is still pretty tough to get a really clear picture as to which two teams will actually pay off, you can increase your chances to win by adding some betting strategy to your guesswork.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that NFL futures odds are purely speculative by nature. The sportsbooks rely heavily on the betting public’s perception of a team when setting their betting odds, rather than basing the numbers on pure fact. The Dallas Cowboys are still thought of as America’s Team in many circles, so they are constantly over-valued when it comes to their betting odds to win the NFC. They have not been to the Super Bowl since the 1995 season, yet they are still one of the top four or five teams on the futures list to win the NFC each and every year.
One strategy to successfully betting NFL conference futures is to look for the up-and-coming teams that appear poised to take that next step to a successful Super Bowl run. The Carolina Panthers lost in the NFC Divisional Round Playoffs two seasons in a row before they broke through with a Super Bowl appearance last season. Over in the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts made a steady progression from losing in the Wildcard Round, then the Divisional Round before losing to New England in the AFC Conference Championship two seasons ago. They took a step backwards at 8-8 last year, but that could set the stage for a bigger move forward to a Super Bowl run in 2016.
Another good strategy for betting NFL conference futures is the process of elimination. As already mentioned, you starting off with just 16 teams in this kind of futures bet and from that group you can probably eliminate the bottom half of the teams from each list. Another two teams to eliminate would be the ones that either won or lost the previous season’s Super Bowl. Time has proven that getting back to the league’s biggest stage (win or lose) is much harder than getting there in the first place. Out of the seven teams left to choose from to win each conference you might want to narrow things down to your top two or three picks on each side. From there you can hedge your bets a bit with a small play on each.
Winning in the NFL is cyclical by nature. There are teams that win all the time and there are franchises that have been perennial losers since the 2000 season. The winningest NFL team in the past 15 years has been the New England Patriots. During this time frame, they have been to the playoffs 13 times in 16 seasons. They have gone all the way to the AFC title game 10 times and they have won four of their six appearances in the Super Bowl. You would have to think that a team like the Patriots would offer some solid value to win the AFC each and every year no matter what their futures odds are listed as.