Best Bets for 2017 NFL Season
It may be of small comfort that that the regular season is still one and a half months away from starting, but compared to the long wait we’ve had since the Super Bowl in February, the current outlook is certainly much better than the latter.
Plus, as usual, we’ve kept you updated all the way about the major happenings in the league while forecasting on what to expect in the NFL betting futures. Speaking of the NFL props and future odds, here are a couple of smart picks you should consider making now ahead of the soon-to-begin 2017 football season.
Carolina Panthers: OVER 9 Wins
In spite of disappointing last season, there are strong reasons to believe that the Carolina Panthers are able to return to the kind of glory that saw them deliver a spectacular 2015-16 campaign. For one, Cam Newton’s O-line (which was porous last season) has been padded with the likes of Matt Kalil and Mike Adams.
This should allow Newton and the Panthers to get their running game going, helping the team to get the best out of weapons like Christian McCaffrey while giving the dynamic QB time to plan better for the passing attack.
On top of that, the Panthers have a fairly easy schedule (ranked 16th in strength of schedule), with the two meetings against Super Bowl finalists Atlanta and the one game against world champions New England being the toughest challenges.
For a team that had a catastrophic season last year and still managed 6 wins, going over the 9-win mark should be very possible, especially if you consider the manner in which they can dazzle opponents when firing on all cylinders—as was the case in their stellar 15-1 campaign two seasons ago.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OVER 8.5 Wins
Coming off their first winning record (9-7 SU, 9-7 ATS) since 2010, the ascendant Bucs look like they are on the right track, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if 2017 was just as successful.
A big reason behind Tampa’s success has been the effectiveness of former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston as a reliable signal-caller. And with the former Heisman winner entering the third season in the NFL—which is often a breakout season for most QBs, it stands to reason that the Bucs could be up for a big year.
Not to forget, the Buccaneers have a reliable backup QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Add that to the reliable Tampa Bay receiving corps in Mike Evans, Russell Shepard, recent addition DeSean Jackson and highly-touted rookie TE OJ Howard, along with an improving defense; the Bucs surely look like a solid lock for over 8.5 wins.
Denver Broncos: UNDER 8.5 Wins
With mega questions at quarterback and not much to hope for in Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly, there’s not really much to hope for ahead of the new season. And it isn’t just that the Denver offense looks iffy, it is because Denver’s defense took a step back last season—a trend that is likely to continue after the Broncos lost defensive cogs like LB DeMarcus Ware (retirement), LB Dekoda Watson (free agent to San Francisco), NT Sylvester Williams (free agent Tennessee) and CB Kayvon Webster (free agent to L.A. Rams). As if that isn’t enough, Denver will be playing the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2017. If all that doesn’t spell UNDER 8.5 wins for Denver in the regular season (after Denver went 9-7 last year), then I don’t know what does.
New York Jets: UNDER 4.5 Wins/ Team with Worst NFL Record in 2017
For a big franchise like the Jets to have the worst regular season win odds sounds unfathomable and unforgivable. And for that sole reason, betting on the Jets to collect less than two wins in 2017 seems like an absolutely bad idea. Agreed! But here’s the thing, the Jets are tanking publically, and that’s not even up for debate anymore.
From releasing franchise players like WR Brandon Marshall and CB Darrelle Revis, to getting rid of key members of the team like Nick Mangold, Ryan Clady, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eric Decker and David Harris; it is clear that the Jets want—and will do anything—to get the No. 1 draft pick at the end of the 2017 season.
Then, of course, there is the bad quarterback situation in New York. Presumed NY starting QB Josh McCown—in his previous two stints as a starter for the Bucs and Browns--led both teams to the worst record in the league and the No. 1 pick in the following spring’s draft. And who are his backups? Two big draft busts in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. No way on earth these Jets will be going above 4.5 wins.
Houston Texans: Repeat as AFC South Winners
While the Titans are definitely on the rise and they pose a solid threat in the AFC South division, and the presence of QB Andrew Luck makes the Colts deadly sleepers as well, the imbalance of power in this division seems to favor Houston more than any team.
Tennessee needs like a year or so in order to become formidable contenders in the division, the Colts have been on steady regression, and the Jaguars are still far from title contention. The Texans, meanwhile, have a decent string of QBs in Tom Savage, Deshaun Watson and a capable third-stringer Brandon Weeden, who should be more than capable of maximizing the talents of WRs Deandre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Co.
Moreover, Houston’s defense that ranked 11th in points allowed per game last year should even get better now that JJ Watt back is back healthy to wreak havoc on opposing offenses, with the likes of Jadeveon Clowney supporting him.
With all that star potential and balance on both sides of the ball, picking the Texans to hoist the AFC South is without doubt a smart and well-advised pick.