NFL Pick: AFC South Winner – Indianapolis Colts (+550) at BetMGM
- NFC South Winner: Carolina Panthers (+300)
- NFC East Winner: Philadelphia Eagles (-110)
- AFC South Winner: Indianapolis Colts (+550)
You can always find NFL futures bets at top-rated sportsbooks like Caesars Sportsbook, BetRivers, and BetMGM.
Now that the 2023 NFL Draft is finally behind us, we can start looking forward to training camp, the preseason, and eventually the start of the 2023 NFL season.
But before we get to those summer previews of this season, let’s look at what futures bets you should be placing now with the information we gained from this draft last week.
NFC South Winner: Carolina Panthers (+300)
The Carolina Panthers did not lead us astray. They traded up to No. 1 for Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. He is small for a quarterback, but he has an incredible pocket presence and can make things happen. Those skills are enough to make him a threat to success early on since he can improvise plays and protect himself.
This is not to say he is going to be as good, but Young has the chance to be similar to a rookie like Russell Wilson (2012 Seahawks) and Dak Prescott (2016 Cowboys) were. He has a good coach (Frank Reich) who constantly has had to tailor his offense to fit a new quarterback every year, and few know the offense as well as Reich. He will make this work just as he got the Colts to win nine games with Carson Wentz being a game manager in 2021.
The Panthers got a high catch-rate receiver in Adam Thielen who will be a reliable target for Young. They drafted Ole Miss receiver Jonathan Mingo with the 39th pick to help make up for losing D.J. Moore in the trade to Chicago to get Young.
The Panthers are not going to shy away from the run game that worked so well in games down the stretch last year. The defense still has the chance to be the best in the division too.
Reminder: The NFC South Is Terrible
Speaking of the division, is that not the point? It should still be winnable with an 8-9 or 9-8 record, and the Panthers nearly won it last year with Sam Darnold at quarterback and Steve Wilks as interim coach.
The division still looks like the weakest in the NFL.
- Derek Carr and Dennis Allen, or the 2014 Oakland reunion no one asked for, sounds like a recipe for disappointment (again) in New Orleans.
- The Buccaneers looked like a 4-13 team in 2022, and without Tom Brady’s luck in the building, they might finish with that record in 2023.
- The Falcons ran the ball like crazy last year with a rookie back gaining over 1,000 yards, yet they still felt the need to draft Bijan Robinson with the No. 8 pick. Not a smart team and Desmond Ridder is really no more proven than Young.
The Saints (+125) and Falcons (+250) have better odds to win the NFC South right now, but I will gladly take the only team with a clear, logical vision for its future to win it this year.
NFL Pick: NFC South Winner – Carolina Panthers (+300) at Caesars Sportsbook
NFC East Winner: Philadelphia Eagles (-110)
No one has been able to repeat as NFC East champions since the Eagles did it in 2001-04. The drought ends this year. The Eagles, who cruised to the No. 1 seed last year with only a late-season injury to Jalen Hurts casting some doubt, still look like the class of the division and conference.
The draft should only bolster the Eagles’ status as the team to beat because they added two more pass-rushing options to a loaded front seven in Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith in the first round. Forget drafting a running back high to replace Miles Sanders. The Eagles said more pass rush after 70 sacks in the regular season and knocking Brock Purdy out of the NFC Championship Game.
But the Eagles did not get enough pressure on Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl. If they get back to that big game, they will want more firepower to throw at the skilled AFC quarterback this time, so the moves made a ton of sense. Also, the Eagles did pick up D’Andre Swift from Detroit by only giving up a fourth-round pick in 2025. Great move there.
The Eagles did not have many flaws at all in 2022, and the same should be true this year. Hurts just has to balance his running ability with making sure he can avoid injury. That really is the main thing as the Eagles should be fine in overcoming the losses of their coordinators, especially with the quarterbacks’ coach taking over as offensive coordinator.
The Cowboys Remain Top Rival
But this is also a bet to cast doubt on the Cowboys, who defied the odds and led the league in takeaways again on defense. The Cowboys are still a good team, and these teams split their matchups last year with the winner getting to face a backup quarterback each time.
Hopefully, we can get two games of Jalen Hurts vs. Dak Prescott to fairly decide this, but if you are placing a bet today, go with the Eagles to still own this division. The Giants are a prime candidate for regression and Washington is still not relevant.
NFL Pick: NFC East Winner – Philadelphia Eagles (-110) at BetRivers
AFC South Winner: Indianapolis Colts (+550)
If you want a good value bet, swing for the fences with the AFC South going to the Colts (+550) for the first time since 2014, if you can believe it’s been that long.
Ever since the Colts turned in that draft card to take Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in 2012, there have not been a lot of moves to praise this team over the years. But let’s give them some credit for taking a chance with reasoned logic that may actually pay off beautifully.
While most sportsbooks and some draft analysts were falling in love with Will Levis during the draft week, it did end up being Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson as the third one off the board to the Colts with the No. 4 pick.
It was a move that some expected because of how much sense it made, but it was unclear until we heard his name last Thursday night if it would actually happen. Richardson is a polarizing figure, but some believe the ceiling is incredibly high and he could be a Cam Newton-style athlete at the next level.
For a team that has trotted out ancient, slow, or damaged quarterbacks the last few years, having such an athlete at the position could be an incredible change. It also comes at the right time with Shane Steichen coming over as head coach after he helped develop Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia.
Do you think he can get an offense going with Richardson handing off to Jonathan Taylor and throwing to Michael Pittman Jr. and rookie Josh Downs in the slot? Things are looking up again for a team that saw a disastrous 2022 plagued by ugly losses, injuries to stars like Shaquille Leonard and Taylor, and the oddity of hiring an interim coach from the ESPN studio. No wonder this team blew a 33-point lead.
Reminder: Colts Were Supposed to Win AFC South in 2022
But there were expectations for the Colts to win this division last year before they failed miserably with Matt Ryan not working out behind a bad offensive line. The division should still be there for the taking with Jacksonville needing three 17-point comebacks and a Tennessee collapse last year just to get to where it did behind Trevor Lawrence. The Texans remain a work in progress, and the Titans really missed their shot in 2021 if we are being honest.
Richardson could be a mess, or he could be a dark horse for Offensive Rookie of the Year. That is the boom-or-bust prospect he is. But in a division that should be viewed as up for grabs, taking the exciting new combination at quarterback and head coach for a team that was supposed to win last year is a hard bet to pass up at +550 odds.
NFL Pick: AFC South Winner – Indianapolis Colts (+550) at BetMGM