SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking breaks down four NFL teams with inflated futures odds that may struggle to make the playoffs.
NFL 2021 Preseason Update
With the 2021 NFL Draft, organized team activities, and minicamps now complete, teams are preparing for the start of training camp. Unlike previous seasons, when camps opened on various dates, 29 of 32 teams will get back to work on July 27, 2021. Pittsburgh and Dallas play in the Hall of Fame Game, so their camps begin on July 21. Defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay can report to camp starting on July 24.
While the NFL is in a short summer slumber, there are loads of preseason betting options at top-ranked U.S. sportsbooks like DraftKings. From Division champions and team win totals, to Season Specials and Super Bowl LVI odds, the NFL futures betting board is packed with choices. This preview focuses on the odds to be one of the 18 teams that will not make the playoffs. Let’s dig in and uncover some value.
We track our preseason picks and publish hedge betting advice during the regular season when warranted. SI premium subscribers receive betting plays, updates, and articles, as soon as they are published.
Want even more NFL betting picks and analysis? Become an SI PRO member today and gain access to our exclusive Discord chat for premium plays in real-time!
San Francisco 49ers’ Playoff Odds
Injuries are a hazard in the sports world and that’s certainly true in the NFL. While several star players suffered injuries last season, no team had more quality players miss time than San Francisco. QB Jimmy Garoppolo, RB Raheem Mostert, WR Deebo Samuel, TE George Kittle, plus a host of players on defense, missed at least half of the season. That’s a major reason why the 49ers finished last in the NFC West with a 6-10 record.
Trotting out four different starting quarterbacks didn’t help either and the QB situation remains unsettled. DraftKings has Garoppolo (-278) as the favorite to start over rookie QB Trey Lance (+220) in Week 1. The NFC West will be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL this season. I called UNDER 10.5 on the 49ers win total and have the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks both finishing ahead of San Francisco.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers to Make the Playoffs – NO (+144)
New Orleans Saints’ Playoff Odds
An era has ended and the horizon is slightly hazy in New Orleans. For the first time since 2005, someone other than QB Drew Brees will be the Saints’ Week 1 starter. That sets up a training camp battle between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. No matter who wins the starting role, a QB by committee situation is brewing in New Orleans. That will make returning to form somewhat more difficult for WR Michael Thomas.
Key free-agent losses, including CB Janoris Jenkins and DE Trey Hendrickson, depleted the Saints’ defense during the offseason. I have Tampa Bay winning the NFC South for the first time since 2007. The NFC East, West, and North all have a shot at sending two teams to the playoffs.
The New Orleans positive YES price appears suspicious and may be a hook. I will pay the juice and bet on the Saints missing the postseason.
Pick: New Orleans Saints to Make the Playoffs – NO (-136)
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Playoff Odds
Rolling along on cruise control, Pittsburgh outscored opponents 317–188 during an 11–0 start last year. Injuries, plus COVID-19 issues, derailed the ride and the Steelers lost five of their final six games. That includes a 48–37 loss at home to Cleveland in the AFC Wild Card round. Pittsburgh is hoping they have found their next Le’Veon Bell as they drafted Alabama RB Najee Harris with the 24th pick in the draft.
Harris is expected to have a heavy load as the rookie is already at the top of the depth chart. Some of that load may be tough sledding as the Steelers lost four starting offensive linemen during the offseason. The players stepping in are not in the same class as the players who left.
While I believe Pittsburgh will sneak past their 8.5 (-105) win total line, a 9–8 record won’t be enough to earn a playoff berth in the AFC.
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers to Make the Playoffs – NO (-210) PASS
Jacksonville Jaguars’ Playoff Odds
Following a 27-20 Week 1 win, as 8-point home dogs against the Colts, Jacksonville lost 15 straight games. After the New York Jets (2-14) won two of their final three games, the Jaguars “earned” the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jacksonville used the top pick to select Clemson Tigers’ QB Trevor Lawrence. He joins Jaguars’ new head coach Urban Meyer trying to turn around an offense that averaged 19.1 points per game last season.
Jacksonville also had the No. 25 pick and they reunited Lawrence with Clemson RB Travis Etienne. It will be interesting to see how the Jaguars use him, considering RB James Robinson posted 1,414 total yards, plus 10 touchdowns during his rookie season. Jacksonville still has concerns with a defense that allowed 30.8 points per game.
I have the Jags winning UNDER 6.5 games. Don’t be tempted by the rich +340 YES odds.
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars to Make the Playoffs – NO (-455) PASS
More NFL Betting From Sports Illustrated
- Authentic Brands Group, 888 Announce SI Sportsbook Launch
- 2021 NFL Week 1 Odds Update – Which Games are on the Move?
- 2021 NFC East Team Futures – Division Winner and Win Totals Outlook
- 2021 NFC North Team Futures – Division Winner and Win Totals Outlook
- 2021 AFC East Team Futures – Division Winner and Win Totals Outlook
- 2021 AFC West Team Futures – Division Winner and Win Totals Outlook