With the 2017 NFL Season rapidly approaching, Las Vegas’ sports books have began posting a variety of betting lines. Super Bowl winner, division and conference winners, team win totals, MVP odds, rookie of the year odds, and more. Thanks to Bovada and other books, these odds are easily accessible. I want to take a look at a few that jump out to me.
A note before we begin: It’s still very early. Injuries can occur, and camp performances and other circumstances will likely lead to bookmakers adjusting these odds accordingly. But, for now, let’s take a look at the early odds posted and see where the value is.
Super Bowl Winner
- The obvious, predictable favorite is the New England Patriots (+375). They’re always a good bet, and getting them at close to 4/1 odds is pretty solid considering their stacked roster heading into the season. But consider a sleeper heading into the season: The New York Giants (20/1).
- The Giants added Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram to an already-dangerous ariel attack. Their offensive line and lack of running game has hurt their offense as a whole, but I expect them to play better with a fully healthy Weston Richburg and Justin Pugh leading the way. The key here is Ereck Flowers at left tackle. If he makes the jump the Giants have desperately needed him to make, it would drastically help their offense. He’s only 23. I can’t rule that out as a possibility. Plus, Eli Manning doesn’t have much left. He’s been poor in the regular season, but he showed up in the playoffs like he always has. The rest of the Giants’ offense just didn’t. I think if they sneak into the playoffs again this year, with a more mature team and a promising defense, the Giants have a chance to make one last run with Manning. 20/1 odds is solid enough to take a flyer.
Los Angeles Chargers: 7.5 wins (over -125, under -105)
- The Chargers had a disastrous last season in San Diego. Not only did they endure a ton of brutal season-ending injuries to guys like Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, Melvin Gordon and more, they lost a ton of close games. Their 5-11 final record doesn’t tell the whole story; they lost 10 of 11 games by eight points or less. Under new Head Coach Anthony Lynn, in their first season in Los Angeles, I think the ball will start to bounce in their favor. Despite being in a really tough division, I think Philip Rivers still has good football in him. They open with a tough schedule, but things lighten up after their week 9 bye; I think they finish the season strong and maybe even make a push for the postseason. I love the over 7.5 for the 2017 Chargers.
Tennessee Titans: 8.5 wins (over -150, under +120)
- The Titans haven’t won 10 games or played in the postseason since 2008. I think that drought has a serious chance to end in 2017. They were really close to returning to the playoffs last year, and they have a young, promising team that’s headed in the right direction. They run the football well and have an encouraging draft class joining the team. While I think they may have jumped the gun early on Wide Receiver Corey Davis (#5 pick), it may prove to be one of the better picks for years to come. Marcus Mariota now has a true #1 receiver and a great complimentary core in free agent additions Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews. Add in the fact that they have DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry and Delanie Walker, this team has a dangerous offense anchored by a strong offensive line. Their defense still poises question marks, but a couple of acquisitions via free agency should help them stay afloat on that side of the ball under Dick LeBeau. I love the Titans to win at least nine games in 2017.
- There’s some value presented in division winners heading into the season. The Titans at +225 is attractive for reasons mentioned above, plus I think the Texans struggle again on offense. I don’t see them going 5-1 within the AFC South like last year, which should open the door for teams like the Titans and Colts (+200) to steal the division.
- The NFC East is one of the more unpredictable divisions in the NFL. The Cowboys are favorites to repeat at +115. In my opinion, their fate is on Dak Prescott’s shoulders. If he avoids a sophomore slump, they should be fine. But you never know in this division; The Giants (+250) and Eagles/Redskins (+400) poise some good value, but I’d stay away.
- The AFC West is one of the better divisions in football, and I can honestly see a couple teams winning it. The Raiders’ season was magical and miraculous. They were pretty much the opposite of the Chargers; they won most of the close games they were in (they were in a lot). They’re the favorites at +150, but the Chargers at 6/1 is a sneaky line that sticks out to me. It would be a major upset considering Vegas expects the Chiefs (+250) and Broncos (+210) to be the Raiders’ main competition, but it may be worth a flyer given the sexy odds.
Most Valuable Player
- This is pretty much a crapshoot considering all variables involved, but it’s fun to take a look at. Brady is the favorite at 4/1, and he would have likely won it with ease last year if he played all 16 games. There’s a couple sleepers I like here: Andrew Luck (25/1) and Ezekiel Elliott (20/1).
- Luck and the Colts are due for a huge year. It’s been a disastrous couple of seasons, but the Colts are poised to have a rebound year in Luck’s sixth season. The offensive line should be better with another year under their belt, and new General Manager Chris Ballard addressed a desperate defense, which should help the Colts actually win games. There’s a chance we can see the 2014 version of Luck who threw 40 touchdowns and brought the Colts to the playoffs, and 25/1 odds are juicy enough to seriously consider.
- Zeke’ may have won the MVP last year had he not been a rookie. Elliott was a carry or catch away from over 2,000 all-purpose yards in his rookie season, and if the Cowboys had anything to play for in week 17 last year, he would have easily exceeded that mark. If the Cowboys repeat as NFC East champions, it will likely be because Elliott had a similar, if not better, year than he did last season. He’s a good look at 20/1.
Rookie of the Year (via OddsShark)
- The Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette is the favorite at +450, but there’s some value elsewhere. Corey Davis is the fifth favorite at +800, and as you read before, I expect him to be a major reason for the Titans’ success on offense in 2017. Christian McCaffrey is the second favorite at +550 (tied with DeShaun Watson); his versatility matched with the Panthers’ offense is a reason I’m intrigued by his odds. I’d take a shot that Davis or McCaffrey outplays Fournette and the other rookies this season.