NFL division futures: Bettors loving the underdogs
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Trends are not predictive in the betting markets. They tell us what has happened, not what will. But if the 2019 NFL season plays out as it has in recent years, you can expect some shake-up in the divisional races.

In 15 of the last 16 seasons, at least one team that finished last or tied for last in its division won it the following year. Underdogs continue to be the main theme of NFL division futures based on the early action at Caesars in Las Vegas.

"We pretty much have exposure on all the big 'dogs in division (futures bets)," oddsmaker Matt Lindeman told theScore. "We need to fade the Giants, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Broncos, and Dolphins."

Three of those five teams - Arizona, Tampa Bay, and New York - finished 2018 in the basement of their respective divisions. The list of bottom-feeders from last season also includes the Raiders, Bengals, Lions, Jaguars, and Jets.

Though the Broncos and Dolphins don't fit the mold as potential worst-to-firsts -- Denver finished third in the AFC West, Miami second in the AFC East - they're still two long shots with plenty of work to do to unseat the true contenders in their divisions.

While Caesars has a fair share of action on the longer underdogs, there's one realistic contender that would be a liability for the shop if it took the division.

"Our one big exposure with an actual contender is the Browns," Lindeman noted.

Cleveland has morphed from laughingstock to public darling in a hurry. Featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks" in 2018, the revamped franchise, led by quarterback Baker Mayfield, won seven games last year. The Browns also added Odell Beckham Jr. to a roster that now boasts the highest over/under win total in the AFC North with nine projected victories in 2019.

Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.

NFL division futures: Bettors loving the underdogs
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