There are plenty of ways to full-season gamble on the NFL. Fantasy football. Over/unders. Player props. (Somewhere I have a Trubisky 2019 MVP ticket from Borgata in Atlantic City.) But last year, some friends and I began experimenting with a new one: parlaying every division winner. A $5 parlay on all the favorites winning their respective divisions will pay north of $1500. If you start working in some underdogs you can be looking at a payout between $3500-4000. They’re not easy bets to hit but they’re fun bets to follow.
It’s also an interesting way to present a de facto NFL preview. (I just took screenshots of the odds from the DraftKings Sportsbook app, so there’s no rhyme or reason to the order which they’ll be presented.) Here’s part one.
- I think the NFC West is a place to experiment because I think all four of those clubs could win that division, with Arizona the longest of the shots. How is Sean McVay going to respond to his first real dose of adversity in the league? How is Seattle going to perform as they’re set to lose their greatest strength, the league’s best home field advantage? The Niners better be successful on the ground because they have one of the more underwhelming collections of receivers in the league.
- The Chiefs are the biggest divisional favorite in the league and they should be. Will one of my ten parlays maybe throw the Broncos into the mix? Maybe. But I don’t even think a significant injury to Mahomes would be enough to knock them out of the top spot. That’s not confidence in Chad Henne or Matt Moore but more confidence in Andy Reid to find a way.
- Out of ten parlays, I’ll have the Niners in 4, Seahawks in 4 and Rams in 2.
- Out of ten parlays, I’ll have the Chiefs in 9 and Broncos in 1.
- No division is sillier, year-in and year-out, than the AFC South. Jacksonville is the worst roster in the sport. Houston is run by a megalomaniac who off-loaded their best receiver for seemingly no reason whatsoever. So I’ll be splitting my parlay among the top two, with a slight lean towards Phil Rivers putting together one final run in Indy.
- It’s a two-horse race for me in the South and my parlays will reflect that. Tampa Bay was 7-9 last season and their quarterback threw 30 interceptions. Now they’ve replaced him with a severely -motivated Tom Brady. They shouldn’t be favored, but they’re definitely live at +150. Also, Drew Brees has a few tough outdoor games late in the season (Chicago, Philly) and he’s proven to be a different player outside their building.
- Out of ten parlays, I’ll have the Colts in 5, Titans in 4 and Texans 1.
- Out of ten parlays, I’ll have the Saints in 6 and Bucs in 4.
Tomorrow, the second half of the league.