Best NFL future bets based on simulating rest of the season

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All NFL teams have either five or six games left in their 2022-23 regular seasons. With the calendar turning to December this weekend, the stretch run is about to begin. By now, we have a pretty good feel for what each team brings to the table. It is a perfect time to project the rest of the season using power ratings and use the findings to uncover potential playoff/divisional title odds value.

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For this exercise, I took my current power ratings (as of 11/29) and plotted out each team’s rest of schedule while also factoring in my adjusted home/road field advantage ratings, any injuries that figure to affect the action, and some other minor situational adjustments I make to individual games. I then calculated theoretical lines and win probabilities for each game and used these to get a forecasted record. You’ll see that I’ve analyzed all the results by division. For fun, I then projected the playoff seeds in each conference. Keep in mind that this does not include any unforeseen injuries or adjustments made for teams resting starters in the final week or two of the regular season. Those things always come into play.

AFC East 

Here are the current AFC East Division DraftKings title odds as of 11/29:

Buffalo: -225
Miami: +275
NY Jets: +1000
New England: +2500

Obviously, this week’s TNF game between New England and Buffalo will have a huge impact on the AFC East Division standings, and on top of that, those same two teams meet to close the regular season. Miami is currently on top of this division’s standings but faces longer odds because it plays the league’s toughest schedule the rest of the way, starting this week in San Francisco. The Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now and will need to keep that level of play to stay in the race. The Jets also face a tough slate with games in Minnesota and Buffalo over the next two weeks. Tough to see an inexperienced big-game team coming away with wins there. The Patriots just might not be good enough at this point. Ironically, even though the Bills are the only team on my projections for this divisional to come up short on their updated DK season win prop, I’ll still take them to win the AFC East by virtue of their power rating being five points better than anyone else. In terms of the win props, Miami would be my favorite option here to go OVER the 10.5.

BUFFALO BILLS (DK win prop: 12.5)
12/1 – at New England: -4.4
12/11 – NY JETS: -8.6
12/18 – MIAMI: -7.2
12/24 – at Chicago: -10.1
1/2 – at Cincinnati: -2
1/8 – NEW ENGLAND: -8

Projected Rest of Season Record: 4.1-1.9

MIAMI DOLPHINS (DK win prop 10.5)
12/4 – at San Francisco: +4
12/11 – at La Chargers: -0.3
12/18 – at Buffalo: +7.2
12/25 – GREEN BAY: -5.9
1/1 – at New England: +0.8
1/8 – NY JETS: -3.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.9-3.1

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (DK win prop 8.5)
12/1 – BUFFALO: +4.4
12/12 – at Arizona: -3.5
12/18 – at Las Vegas: -0.7
12/24 – CINCINNATI: -0.7
1/1 – MIAMI: -0.8
1/8 – at Buffalo: +8

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.8-3.2

NEW YORK JETS (DK win prop 9.5)
12/4 – at Minnesota: +3.4
12/11 – at Buffalo: +8.6
12/18 – DETROIT: -5.6
12/22 – JACKSONVILLE: -3.6
1/1 – at Seattle: +0.9
1/8 – at Miami: +3.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.8-3.2

AFC North 

Here are the current AFC North Division DraftKings title odds as of 11/29:

Baltimore: -280
Cincinnati: +225
Cleveland: +3,000
Pittsburgh: +5,000

If you’re looking at these current DK division win odds and sensing an opportunity to back the Bengals here as an underdog, believe me, you’re not alone. However, you have to analyze the schedules in this case. There is a huge discrepancy in the difficulty of the Ravens’ and Bengals’ slates. Cincy’s is the second toughest in the league, and Baltimore’s is #28. That is the reason we are looking at the prices we are. That said, there is something to the adage that the team playing better right now should have the advantage, and in that argument, Bengals all the way. Head Coach John Harbaugh typically gets the best from his team in December, and I wouldn’t expect a lot different in 2022. I show three games when the Ravens will be near double-digit favorites. The Bengals’ “easiest” game on paper is the home contest versus Cleveland in two weeks, tricky in that it is a rivalry game, and the Browns will be playing with QB Deshaun Watson for the rest of the season. That will be too much to overcome. Ravens are the pick on the divisional title odds, and they are also my favorite season win prop wager for this division. At 7-4, I can easily see a 4-2 finish at the minimum to take their record to 11-6. Cleveland’s is also intriguing as the Browns have played reasonably well with Brissett, and the addition of Watson could give a huge productivity boost to the offense.

BALTIMORE RAVENS (DK win prop 10.5)
12/4 – DENVER: -9.1
12/11 – at Pittsburgh: -5.4
12/18 – at Cleveland: -1.5
12/24 – ATLANTA: -9.8
1/1 – PITTSBURGH: -9.2
1/8 – at Cincinnati: +1

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3.9-2.1

CINCINNATI BENGALS (DK win prop 9.5)
12/4 – KANSAS CITY: +2.3
12/11 – CLEVELAND: -4.1
12/18 – at Tampa Bay: -0.7
12/24 – at New England: +0.7
1/2 – BUFFALO: +2
1/8 – BALTIMORE: -1

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3-3

CLEVELAND BROWNS (DK win prop 7.5)
12/4 – at Houston: -7.4
12/11 – at Cincinnati: +4.1
12/18 – BALTIMORE: +1.5
12/24 – NEW ORLEANS: -5.2
1/1 – at Washington: +0.2
1/8 – at Pittsburgh: -2.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3.3-2.7

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (DK win prop 6.5) 
12/4 – at Atlanta: +2.1
12/11 – BALTIMORE: +5.4
12/18 – at Carolina: +1.3
12/24 – LAS VEGAS: -0.5
1/1 – at Baltimore: +9.2
1/8 – CLEVELAND: +2.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.4-3.6

AFC South 

Here are the current AFC South Division DraftKings title odds as of 11/29:

Tennessee: -800
Jacksonville: +600
Indianapolis: +3,500
Houston: +100,000

Tennessee had a two-game lead in the AFC South Division at this time last year and for 2022 that cushion is three games. Plus, the Titans own a 3-0 divisional record so far, thus essentially another game edge in the key divisional tie-breaker standings. My rest of season projections show a 3.2-game split between them and the Jaguars, so suffice to say, I don’t expect anyone to overtake the Titans down the stretch. Their primary goal will be to set themselves up for preferential seeding. In terms of divisional win bets, -800 is too rich for my blood. However, I do like the Jaguars’ ability to beat their posted prop of 6.5 wins. My numbers show them winning 6.9, and I could even see a situation where that could go higher, as last week’s come-from-behind win over Baltimore is the type of result that can propel a young team to a strong finish. I don’t show Head Coach Doug Pederson’s team being bigger than a +3.6 dog the rest of the way.

HOUSTON TEXANS (DK win prop 2.5)
12/4 – CLEVELAND: +7.4
12/11 – at Dallas: +16.7
12/18 – KANSAS CITY: +14.6
12/24 – at Tennessee: +11.2
1/1 – JACKSONVILLE: +6.9
1/8 – at Indianapolis: +6.9

Projected Rest of Season Record: 1.3-4.7

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (DK win prop 6.5)
12/4 – at Dallas: +11.4
12/18 – at Minnesota: +8
12/26 – LA CHARGERS: +1.6
1/1 – at NY Giants: +2.8
1/8 – HOUSTON: -6.9

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2-3

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (DK win prop 6.5)
12/4 – at Detroit: +0.5
12/11 – at Tennessee: +2.9
12/18 – DALLAS: +3.6
12/22 – at NY Jets: +3.6
1/1 – at Houston: -6.9
1/8 – TENNESSEE: +0

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.9-3.1

TENNESSEE TITANS (DK win prop 10.5)  

12/4 – at Philadelphia: +6.3
12/11 – JACKSONVILLE: -2.9
12/18 – at LA Chargers: +1.4
12/24 – HOUSTON: -11.2
12/29 – DALLAS: +2
1/8 – at Jacksonville: +0

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3.1-2.9

AFC West 

Here are the current AFC South Division DraftKings title odds as of 11/29:

Kansas City: -10,000
LA Chargers: +2,500
Las Vegas: +12,500
Denver: +75,000

The AFC West shows another division leader that doesn’t figure to be challenged the rest of the way, as the Chiefs are up three games in the standings and clicking. From a wagering standpoint, the true intrigue comes from the season win props and the odds to make the playoffs. With the Chargers and Raiders going head-to-head this Sunday, I really like the chances for the winner of that game to make a late-season run. The Chargers are finally getting healthy offensively and have a talent-laden defense. The Raiders are also very capable offensively, and only one of their losses has come by more than a TD. I could see a situation where both teams exceed their updated season win total props at DK and I’m willing to back both. Consider that the Raiders may be hosting a KC team resting its starters in the final week as well.

DENVER BRONCOS (DK win prop 5.5)
12/4 – at Baltimore: +9.1
12/11 – KANSAS CITY: +9.1
12/18 – ARIZONA: -2.9
12/25 – at LA Rams: -2.5
1/1 – at Kansas City: +12.2
1/8 – LA CHARGERS: +1.6

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.3-3.7

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (DK win prop 13.5)

12/4 – at Cincinnati: -2.3
12/11 – at Denver: -9.1
12/18 – at Houston: -14.6
12/24 – SEATTLE: -10.4
1/1 – DENVER: -12.2
1/8 – at Las Vegas: -7.8

Projected Rest of Season Record: 4.5-1.5

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (DK win prop 9.5)
12/4 – at Las Vegas: -0.3
12/11 – MIAMI: +0.3
12/18 – TENNESSEE: -1.4
12/26 – at Indianapolis: -1.6
1/1 – vs. LA Rams: -9.5
1/8 – at Denver: -1.6

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3.4-2.6

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (DK win prop: 6.5) 
12/4 – LA CHARGERS: +0.3
12/8 – at LA Rams: -4.1
12/18 – NEW ENGLAND: +0.7
12/24 – at Pittsburgh: +0.5
1/1 – SAN FRANCISCO: +3.4
1/8 – KANSAS CITY: +7.8

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.7-3.3

NFC East 

Here are the current NFC East Division DraftKings title odds as of 11/29:

Philadelphia: -400
Dallas: +300
NY Giants: +6,000
Washington: +10,000

The NFC East Division odds are quite intriguing in that Philadelphia is a somewhat overwhelming favorite despite all four teams currently being in position to make the playoffs. There are still a lot of games left to play between one another as well. In fact, if I were to pick any one big underdog in a division to overcome its current deficit, it would be Dallas in NFC East. My numbers show Dallas being favored in every remaining game with the key contest being the Christmas Eve clash with the Eagles. The Cowboys also have the better divisional record now, so with a win there from Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s team, this race looks totally different. By the way, I also don’t like the looks of Philly’s three-game road trip upcoming, as a team that has played one of the weakest schedules in the league so far doesn’t figure to be ready for that adversity. In fact, because of those factors, I will be endorsing Philadelphia under their 14.5-win prop.

DALLAS COWBOYS (DK win prop 12.5)
12/4 – INDIANAPOLIS: -11.4
12/11 – HOUSTON: -16.7
12/18 – at Jacksonville: -3.6
12/24 – PHILADELPHIA: -2.7
12/29 – at Tennessee: -2
1/8 – at Washington: -5

Projected Rest of Season Record: 4.1-1.9

NEW YORK GIANTS (DK win prop 9.5)
12/4 – WASHINGTON: +0.3
12/11 – PHILADELPHIA: +5.9
12/18 – at Washington: +2.9
12/24 – at Minnesota: +7.2
1/1 – INDIANAPOLIS: -2.8
1/8 – at Philadelphia: +9

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.4-3.6

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (DK win prop 14.5)
12/4 – TENNESSEE: -6.3
12/11 – at NY Giants: -5.9
12/18 – at Chicago: -6.8
12/24 – at Dallas: +2.7
1/1 – NEW ORLEANS: -9.1
1/8 – NY GIANTS: -9

Projected Rest of Season Record: 4-2

WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (DK win prop 9.5)
12/4 – at NY Giants: -0.3
12/18 – NY GIANTS: -2.9
12/24 – at San Francisco: +7.7
1/1 – CLEVELAND: -0.2
1/8 – DALLAS: +5

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.2-2.8

NFC North 

Here are the current NFC North Division DraftKings title odds as of 11/29:

Minnesota: -20,000
Detroit: +5,000
Green Bay: +6,600
Chicago: +30,000

For as much as three of the divisions I’ve discussed so far have cushions of three games at this point, the biggest runaway is in the NFC North, where Minnesota is on cruise control with a five-game lead. Detroit, of all teams, is in second place in both the standings and odds board. While no one underdog is worthy of consideration as a division title winner, I would get behind the Lions and their updated win prop of 6.5. This team is playing gutty football under Head Coach Dan Campbell once again, and unlike the last two seasons, it is actually leading to some wins this year. My numbers have the Lions finishing at 6.8-10.2, and that is without any realistic upsets factored in. I could easily see them beating Minnesota, the Jets, or Green Bay in underdog fashion. Elsewhere, with the injury situations in Chicago and Green Bay, the prospects for the rest of the season are murky.

CHICAGO BEARS (DK win prop OFF due to QB Fields status uncertainty)
12/4 – GREEN BAY: +2.5
12/18 – PHILADELPHIA: +6.8
12/24 – BUFFALO: +10.1
1/1 – at Detroit: +3.9
1/8 – MINNESOTA: +5.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 1.7-3.3

DETROIT LIONS (DK win prop 6.5)
12/4 – JACKSONVILLE: -0.5
12/11 – MINNESOTA: +2.9
12/18 – at NY Jets: +5.6
12/24 – at Carolina: +0.1
1/1 – CHICAGO: -3.9
1/8 – at Green Bay: +3.6

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.8-3.2

GREEN BAY PACKERS (DK win prop 6.5)
12/4 – at Chicago: -2.5
12/19 – LA RAMS: -9.2
12/25 – at Miami: +5.9
1/1 – MINNESOTA: +1
1/8 – DETROIT: -3.6

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.7-2.3

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (DK win prop 12.5)
12/4 – NY JETS: -3.4
12/11 – at Detroit: -2.9
12/18 – INDIANAPOLIS: -8
12/24 – NY GIANTS: -7.2
1/1 – at Green Bay: -1
1/8 – at Chicago: -5.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3.8-2.2

NFC South 

Here are the current NFC South Division DraftKings title odds as of 11/29:

Tampa Bay: -400
Atlanta: +750
New Orleans: +1,000
Carolina: +1,600

I sense that with none of the challengers to Tampa Bay boasting a consistently productive quarterback, it’s extremely difficult to project them overtaking the Buccaneers the rest of the way. While the Bucs’ lead in the standings is only a half-game over the Falcons right now, it feels like much more than that because of the ceiling levels of the team. I think most experts are just waiting for it to “click” for QB Tom Brady and his teammates. It felt like it was prior to their loss at Cleveland last Sunday. My projected ROS standings have all the teams in this division finishing under .500, but with Tampa finishing on top by 1.1 games. The only team that finishes above their season win prop is Carolina at 6.1 against a posted 5.5. I have a hard time seeing the Panthers beat Pittsburgh or Detroit though, the two games they are favored in. The only play that interests me at this point is New Orleans under 6.5 wins. The Saints have very little going for them at this point, and it’s hard to see them winning half of their remaining six games, regardless of the opponents.

ATLANTA FALCONS (DK win prop 7.5)
12/4 – PITTSBURGH: -2.1
12/18 – at New Orleans: +2.4
12/24 – at Baltimore: +9.8
1/1 – ARIZONA: -1.6
1/8 – TAMPA BAY: +3.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.2-2.8

CAROLINA PANTHERS (DK win prop 5.5)
12/11 – at Seattle: +6.4
12/18 – PITTSBURGH: -1.3
12/24 – DETROIT: -0.1
1/1 – at Tampa Bay: +6.3
1/8 – at New Orleans: +3.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.1-2.9

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (DK win prop 6.5)
12/5 – at Tampa Bay: +3.9
12/18 – ATLANTA: -2.4
12/24 – at Cleveland: +5.2
1/1 – at Philadelphia: +9.1
1/8 – CAROLINA: -3.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 2.2-2.8

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (DK win prop 8.5)
12/5 – NEW ORLEANS: -3.9
12/11 – at San Francisco: +5.6
12/18 – CINCINNATI: +0.7
12/25 – at Arizona: -2.7
1/1 – CAROLINA: -6.3
1/8 – at Atlanta: -3.3

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3.3-2.7

NFC West

Here are the current NFC West Division DraftKings title odds as of 11/29:

San Francisco: -650
Seattle: +450
LA Rams: +10,000
Arizona: +20,000

After the overtime loss at home to the Raiders this past Sunday, it almost feels as if Seattle’s bubble has burst, and the talent disparity between the Seahawks and 49ers doesn’t suggest this is going to be a tight race down the stretch. That said, there are still some intriguing odds to work with in this division. If the Seahawks preseason pessimism among the experts is finally coming to fruition, you would have to think that UNDER 9.5 wins and +225 NO to make the playoffs would be good value bets. My projections show San Francisco finishing with a 10.9-6.1 record, so the 11.5-win prop seems a bit overzealous and would require a 5-1 finish for a team that has been held to 14 points or fewer four times this season, including last week. That’s too risky for me, in fact, I’d prefer the UNDER.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (DK win prop OFF)
12/12 – NEW ENGLAND: +3.5
12/18 – at Denver: +2.9
12/25 – TAMPA BAY: +2.7
1/1 – at Atlanta: +1.6
1/8 – at San Francisco: +8.9

Projected Rest of Season Record: 1.9-3.1

LOS ANGELES RAMS (DK win prop OFF)
12/4 – SEATTLE: +5.9
12/8 – LAS VEGAS: +4.1
12/19 – at Green Bay: +9.2
12/25 – DENVER: +2.5
1/1 – vs. LA Chargers: +9.5
1/8 – at Seattle: +8.5

Projected Rest of Season Record: 1.9-4.1

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (DK win prop 11.5)
12/4 – MIAMI: -4
12/11 – TAMPA BAY: -5.6
12/15 – at Seattle: -3.2
12/24 – WASHINGTON: -7.7
1/1 – at Las Vegas: -3.4
1/8 – ARIZONA: -8.9

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3.9-2.1

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (DK win prop 9.5)
12/4 – at LA Rams: -5.9
12/11 – CAROLINA: -6.4
12/15 – SAN FRANCISCO: +3.2
12/24 – at Kansas City: +10.4
1/1 – NY JETS: -0.9
1/8 – LA RAMS: -8.5

Projected Rest of Season Record: 3.3-2.7

Analysis

Here are some of my own thoughts and tips on some potential wagers:

Best underdog to win division: Dallas

Best priced favorite to win division: Baltimore

Worst-priced favorite to win division: Tampa Bay

Team currently out of the playoffs to make run to get in: LA Chargers

Team currently in the playoffs to fade out: Washington

Longshot team to sneak into playoffs: Las Vegas

Longshot team to fade out of playoffs: NY Giants

Projected Playoff Seeds

AFC Division Winners
#1 – Kansas City
#2 – Buffalo
#3 – Baltimore
#4 – Tennessee

Wild cards
#5 – Miami (would face #4 Tennessee)
#6 – Cincinnati (would face #3 Baltimore)
#7 – NY Jets (would face #2 Buffalo)

NFC Division Winners
#1 – Philadelphia
#2 – Minnesota
#3 – San Francisco
#4 – Tampa Bay

Wild cards
#5 – Dallas (would face #4 Tampa Bay)
#6 – NY Giants (would face #3 San Francisco)
#7 – Seattle (would face #2 Minnesota)