There’s no denying Mahomes’ greatness, albeit I am an Eagles fan. An Eagles fan who will relive a Super Bowl LVII loss for the rest of my life. But I digress. Mahomes is not showing any signs of slowing, as the Kansas City Chiefs are the favorite to win the Super Bowl (6-1), AFC (+350) and AFC West (-170).
Prop-wise, Mahomes is the favorite at 4-1 to have the most passing yards and 3-1 to have the most passing touchdowns, which isn’t surprising given he led the league in those two categories last season. Mahomes also has the highest passing yards prop on Caesars at 4,750.5 (prior to news of Travis Kelce‘s injury). Despite this prop number rising, Mahomes should be able to hit over this mark, given last season he had 11 players with at least 100 receiving yards. Plus, the AFC is going to be tight this year, so I don’t see Mahomes resting at any point during the season.
Mahomes won the regular season and Super Bowl MVPs, so it’s no surprise he is the MVP favorite at 6-1. Don’t forget, Mahomes was battling it out with Jalen Hurts down the stretch last season to win regular-season MVP. That was until Hurts unfortunately injured his shoulder. Another sting for an Eagles fan. Again, I digress. Mahomes to win MVP, although the favorite, is not a terrible bet before the season. His MVP line should move down if he stays healthy and continues to put up video game numbers, but there can be value found elsewhere.
Don’t waste your moola betting a non-QB for MVP
Adrian Peterson was the last non-QB to win MVP. That was in 2012. I was a sophomore in high school and “Somebody That I Used to Know” was the No. 1 song of the year.
My eyes are on Justin Herbert at +950. If Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are able to stay healthy, Herbert can put up big numbers like he did in 2021, breaking Chargers season records for passing yards (5,014) and passing touchdowns (38). Plus, Kellen Moore takes over as offensive coordinator. (Side note: circle Week 6, Dallas Cowboys at Chargers on MNF). Moore led the NFL’s best offense in 2021 with Dallas and should be able to help Herbert get back to putting up big numbers.
Sportsbooks have no faith in Arizona … and neither do I!
Tough year to be an Arizona Cardinals fan. The Cardinals are not favored in any games posted for this upcoming season. Arizona has the lowest win total of any team at 4.5, coming down from 5.5 wins a year ago. The Cardinals could easily go under their win total with a rookie head coach, rookie offensive and defensive coordinators and a rookie general manager. Plus, Kyler Murray is coming off an ACL injury.
Arizona is also tied for the longest Super Bowl odds with the Texans at 200-1 and has the longest odds to win the NFC West at 40-1. For context, the team with the next longest odds to win their division is the Raiders at 15-1 to win the AFC West — and that’s with having to deal with the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos.
Things could get ugly … really quick.
Oddsmakers have NFC North as most competitive division
The Detroit Lions went from a team I watched half asleep in a turkey coma on Thanksgiving to being favorites to win the division for the first time ever. Detroit (+140) is a trendy pick to win the division after exceeding expectations with nine wins last season. But I need to see it to believe it.
The Minnesota Vikings to win the division at +285 is enticing. The Vikings won 13 games last season, albeit they were 11-0 in one-score games. Sure, Minnesota is going to see regression, but by how much? The Vikings will be in contention, especially with the top wideout in the game. Justin Jefferson could very well have the most receiving yards in the league (you can bet this at 6-1). He led the league with 1,809 receiving yards in 2022 and doesn’t show signs of slowing under Kirk Cousins.
To clarify, I’m not saying Detroit isn’t going to be good. I’m not saying the Chicago Bears aren’t going to improve. I’m not saying Jordan Love is going to be terrible — although I don’t expect much from him. I am saying it is going to be a tight race in the NFC North, and based on the numbers, the Vikings seem like the best bet to win the division. Don’t forget, betting division winners is not limited to the preseason. One can bet into these markets during the season as well.
I’m ‘Erin on the side of caution’ when betting the AFC champion
I should be taking side bets on the number of times I hear the “the AFC is loaded” per day on ESPN. Eight of the top 13 Super Bowl favorites are in the AFC. Mahomes reigns king, but big names like Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, my MVP pick Justin Herbert — and now Aaron Rodgers, makes me nervous to pick a winner. Health is always imperative to winning these awards. That is the true gamble with all futures bets.
If you were to bet a conference champion, the NFC seems much more predictable. The Philadelphia Eagles, Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are clearly the class of the conference. It wouldn’t come to a shock if any of those teams were representing the NFC in February, whereas the AFC feels entirely wide open.
Betting advice: Don’t trip on trends
Trends alone aren’t going to win you money.
Last season, the New York Giants finished 13-4 against the spread and 10-2 ATS as an underdog. Just because the Giants were the best ATS team last season, doesn’t necessarily mean that will be the case in 2023.
Another trend I heard a lot last year is betting against Kirk Cousins in prime time. I get it, his numbers aren’t very good, going 11-17-1 in his career. But what if I told you that he’s 7-8-1 in prime time while quarterbacking the Vikings, including 1-1 last season. The numbers are skewed because he was 2-10 in prime time while in Washington.
Here’s one you’re going to hear a lot in Week 6: The New York Jets are 0-12 vs. the Eagles. That’s right, not one win for Gang Green vs. my Eagles. Does it mean anything this year? Absolutely not.
Not to be pessimistic, but the 20-leg parlay dropped in your group chat probably isn’t going to cash. Mix in a straight bet once in a while! Good luck this season.