In the world of online sports betting, the conversation often centers around daily bets - because sports betting is a year-round endeavor, there are bets every day of the week that interested users can make on their preferred results. But daily & weekly bets based on specific match-ups and results aren’t the only option for educated bettors. For those looking to take a longer view of things, there are future bets on long-term results. One of the most common and popular types of future bets is on divisional or conference winners in different sports. And with the NFL being the most popular league in American sports, NFL odds and futures are some of the most popular in the betting world.

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Betting NFL Futures

When it comes to betting on futures, there are different factors that an educated bettor must consider, and because of the long-term nature of the bet, there’s a much greater inherent risk of a bet not panning out. That’s why using an odds comparison tool to ensure you’re getting the best odds is extremely important. Daily bets take into consideration factors like match-ups, recent records, short-term health of players, and weather, among many other things, but futures bets require all of that and more in order for an individual to make an educated bet. Not only do short-term factors need to be considered, but long-term factors, including coaching situation, average player age, and the results of recent seasons need to be considered as well. Because of their greater risk, futures bets often have highly inflated odds compared to a daily match-up bet, so the rewards can be much greater, but they do require a greater amount of effort on the part of each bettor if they’re going to be placed logically.

AFC Favorites for Futures Bets

When we look at the different conferences in the NFL and their recent history, there’s one key disparity between the NFC and AFC. Namely, that Tom Brady played in the AFC for most of his career: the AFC Conference was won by a Tom Brady-led Patriots team in 9 of the past 20 years. Now that Tom Brady is entering his third year in the NFC as the quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that paradigm has shifted somewhat and the AFC is wide open in a way that it hasn’t been since the turn of the millennium.

2021 Nfl Futures Bets For All 32 Teams Win Total O

Using an odds comparison tool to view different futures bets for the AFC, you can see that the Buffalo Bills are currently the favorites to win the AFC title at +300 for the 2022-2023 season. There are a number of reasons for this: the Bills in 2021 were one of the best offensive (3rd in points scored) and defensive(first in fewest points allowed) teams in the entire league, and they have a genuine franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, and, recently, they were one potential coin flip away from a potential victory over the Kansas City Chiefs and a shot at the AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals. There’s a valid reason to believe that the Bills will go deep into the playoffs again this year and that they have a better chance than most teams at winning the AFC title.

But while +300 odds are still desirable, particularly for daily bets, they’re not particularly valuable when discussing futures. Because futures require an entire season to potentially pan out, and the risk is far greater, there are potentially strong contenders for the AFC title who have much more desirable odds. In particular, the Kansas City Chiefs (+600), the Los Angeles Chargers (+750), and the Denver Broncos (+850). Considering the Chiefs have historically gone deeper than the Bills, the Broncos are looking to contend under the recently acquired Russell Wilson, and the Chargers are developing into a contender, each of these teams is a legitimate title contender and could end up being a sharper bet than going with the favored Buffalo Bills. While the Bills are the betting favorites for good reason, health & schedule can often have an outsized effect on how the playoffs shape up.

While there are some clear favorites to win the AFC, a big aspect of futures betting is looking for potential dark horse picks that may have outsized value compared to other bets. In the AFC this year, there are a couple great options that good health & some lucky bounces can turn into very potential realities, including a team that was in the Super Bowl in 2021:

  • Cleveland Browns at +1000
  • Cincinnati Bengals at +1100
  • Indianapolis Colts at +1200

While none of these are safe bets in the way that the top 4 teams in the division may be, they’re in the sweet spot that many educated bettors look for: not good enough based on pre-season rankings to be considered title favorites, but good enough to still be ahead of much of the league. And with the Bengals, in particular, coming off of a Super Bowl loss, there are valid reasons to consider them, at the very least, more than a dark horse.

Key Value in AFC Futures Bets

To bet on conference winners ahead of the season is to bet on good health, a cohesive roster, and above-average coaching, among a multitude of other factors. But because of the number of possibilities for a conference winner in each conference in the NFL, the pre-season odds are always in favor of the bettor, and a sharp futures bet can be significantly more profitable than the average game result bet. For individuals looking to make long-term bets that will pan out over the course of an entire season, there are few better options than conference futures and NFL futures as a whole.

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