NFL futures: Week 1 evidence to guide season-long bets

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A lot happened in Week 1 of the NFL season - and for every two things we were ready for, there was an unexpected occurrence. The season-long props and futures markets have been shuffled up, and after going over the oddsboard, there are a few bets worth adding based on even the smallest of lessons we've learnt from the first week.

Saints to win NFC South (+300)

When we looked at the divisional odds in our pair of "Pass or Play" pieces to start the season, we stopped just short of grabbing a team other than the Buccaneers in the NFC South. We needed to see the Saints - particularly their offense - before we were willing to back them to get back on top of the division.

As expected, the group started slowly Sunday, but Jameis Winston played well, avoiding turnovers and showing incredible chemistry in the red zone with Michael Thomas - who appears back healthy. New addition Jarvis Landry had a big game, and first-round pick Chris Olave chipped in with 41 yards and a two-point conversion. That's before mentioning the 8.35 yards per carry New Orleans got from Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Taysom Hill.

The Saints struggled against the Falcons' multi-dimensional run game, but that's a tricky matchup to prepare for in Week 1 without much film on how Atlanta would deploy Marcus Mariota and Cordarrelle Patterson. New Orleans pulled out a victory from down 16 points and can get a leg up this weekend with the Bucs coming to town. Now's the time to buy the Saints.

Defensive Player of the Year: Devin White (+5000)

Through three quarters, I was ready to hand another Defensive Player of the Year award to T.J. Watt, who caused havoc and led the way for a Steelers defense that tormented the Bengals. Then Watt tore his pectoral, dashing his hopes for back-to-back awards given how much time he'll miss. With one of the favorites out of contention, the DPOY race is a little more open.

The Buccaneers' defense accentuated the Cowboys' offensive troubles Sunday night, and White's a big enough name to get some attention if Tampa's defense dominates this season. Vita Vea and Akiem Hicks are consuming blockers, opening things up for White. The Bucs linebacker sacked Dak Prescott twice, suggesting he'll have more opportunities for counting stats to go along with the reverence football experts have for his side-to-side coverage of the field. At 50-1, 10-plus sacks and 150 tackles are in play, which makes this a shot worth taking to replace Watt in your DPOY portfolio.

Most receiving yards: Justin Jefferson (+600)

We already covered Jefferson before the season - which is more than we can say for what the Packers did Sunday - in our best bets to lead the league in receiving yards. The hope was that Kevin O'Connell's offense would get him open even more this season, and at +750, we were willing to bet on that uncertainty.

Two things occurred Sunday:

  1. We now KNOW Jefferson is getting open easily.
  2. Jefferson has a 30-yard head start over his closest competitor and is more than 50 yards ahead of the preseason favorite, Cooper Kupp.

Jefferson's still available in the market at +600, which suggests just a 2.5% increase in win probability. That's not nearly enough of an adjustment from what we saw against Green Bay, so it's not too late to join the fray.

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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NFL futures: Week 1 evidence to guide season-long bets
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