This week sees the start of the NFL season, kicking off in the early hours of Friday morning when the current Superbowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers in what promises to be a rip-roaring contest to start the season.
Over the next 17 weeks, 32 teams will fight it out to earn one of the six places available for each conference for the Playoffs. The culmination of which will see two teams contest Superbowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015.
The great news is if you are keen on your sports betting on the NFL, then there’s no better place to bet than Bet365 Sports. Not only can you qualify for a Bet365 Sport $100 new player bonus simply for signing up.
Once you have cash in your account, there are a huge number of NFL markets available each week to bet on. You can even place Parlay bets (accumulator-type bets) and receive a bonus payment of up to 50% of your winnings depending on the number of successful selections you make on qualifying markets, thanks to Bet365 Sports superb US Sports Parlay Bonus offer.
With a whole host of markets available on each game every week, Bet365 Sports is the perfect place to wager on the NFL. In addition to these weekly bets, there is also a very strong NFL Futures market available and here you can bet on a number of different bets and it is these bets we ‘ll focus on for this article. First up, let’s take a look at which teams are solid choices to win each of the eight divisions in the NFL
Bet365 NFL Futures – To Win Division Selections
The NFL is split into two conferences, the NFC and the AFC, and each conference is split into four divisions, North, South, East and West with four teams in each conference.
Each team will play 16 games in a season, 6 matches home and away against those teams in their conference and 10 other games against other teams in the NFL. Let’s take a look at each of the eight divisions and give you our pick for the divisional winners:
NFC North – Green Bay Packers (8/11)
The NFC North is one of the tougher divisions in football. Not only are winter games an assault on the senses, often played in freezing conditions, this division boasts arguably the best running back (Adrian Petersen from Minnesota Vikings) and wide receiver (Calvin Johnson of Detroit) in the NFL, plus a top tier quarter back in Aaron Rodgers at Green Bay.
As such, this will be a tough decision. For all the quality individuals the Vikings and Lions look the outsiders here and while the Chicago Bears should push them hard, I think the Packers will be top dogs come the end of December.
NFC West – Seattle Seahawks (10/11)
No surprise that I picked the current Superbowl Champions as NFC West Winners, but Seattle won’t have it all their own way this season. The San Francisco 49ers will be looking to improve on last season and the Arizona Cardinals are an improving team and look strong on defense.
The St Louis Rams are the youngest squad in the NFL and up against such illustrious opposition, the Rams may struggle this season. Seattle have the strength in depth and experience to win this division, but it will be a close run thing.
NFC South – Carolina Panthers (7/2)
My first surprise pick of the season here as New Orleans are the even money favourite but I just feel that the Drew Brees inspired Saints lack a running game and defensively have been too shaky.
The Falcons showed no signs in pre-season of getting back to their best and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still some way off being a real challenger in this division just yet.
This leaves the Carolina Panthers with a fearsome defense and explosive quarterback in Cam Newton, nicknamed Superman, and I really feel this is the year Cam can lead this Panthers team to the NFC South title.
NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles (7/5)
Traditionally one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, with a spread of just 7/5 to 4/1, this is clearly still one of the most competitive divisions in football. It may lack the strength of recent times, but the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and Washington Redskins are four of the biggest names in the NFL.
This year, I think New York and Dallas are in transition phases somewhat and the Redskins could be a surprise team, especially if Robert Griffin III can steer clear of injury. Despite that, I think the scoring potential of the Eagles makes them just the slight favourites to win this division, but in truth any of the four teams could do so.
AFC North – Baltimore Ravens (12/5)
The Cincinnati Bengals are the favourites in this division, but there’s a fragility to the Bengals in key games that worries me. Cleveland could be lost in Manziel-mania, while the Steelers are still rebuilding their team and while they have a strong defense still, their offence just lacks the firepower to worry the better teams.
As such, I expect Baltimore to bounce back from a poor season last year to just edge this division, but I think it will be a close run thing with the team that finishes second likely to earn a Wildcard spot in this division.
AFC West – Denver Broncos (2/7)
Peyton Manning led his Denver Broncos team to the Superbowl last year only to be blown away by a rampant Seattle Seahawks. That 43-8 mauling at the hands of the Seahawks really hurt the Broncos but they remain the outstanding team in the AFC West.
Kansas City started brilliantly last season and they should push the Broncos all the way. The Oakland Raiders will likely take their usual spot at the foot of the table, while who knows what you will get from San Diego, capable of beating anybody on their day, they can equally lose to anybody.
The Broncos are the class act here and are an easy choice.
AFC South – Indianapolis Colts (4/6)
With the Jacksonville Jaguars still in the middle of an extensive rebuilding program, the Titans with a new Head Coach in Ken Whisenhunt, it looks likely that the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts will likely be fighting out top spot in the AFC South.
The Texans, though, nabbed Jadeveon Clowney as the number 1 pick in the draft and he will immediately improve their defense. That won’t be enough against the Colts however as Andrew Luck should have enough weaponry at his disposal to lead the Colts through to the playoffs relatively comfortably.
AFC East – New England Patriots (1/3)
The AFC East means one thing usually and that is a Patriots divisional title and in 13 of the last 18 years, that has been the case. Can anybody change that this time around and end the Patriots run of five successive AFC East titles, ten titles in the last 11 years?
It looks unlikely. Miami are a team very much in development, as are Buffalo and the Jets just don’t have the stability in the team in order to make a sustained challenge. Another easy pick here as New England look the class act.
Superbowl 2015 Winner?
So who out of the eight teams named above, plus four other wildcard teams, will be named the 2015 Superbowl Champions? In the To Win Outright market on Bet365 Sports, Seattle are the 11/2 favourites with the Broncos and 49ers 13/2, Patriots 8/1, Packers 11/1, Saints 12/1, Colts 22/1 and Eagles 25/1.
However, I’m going to put my neck out here and say that with a fantastic defense and a still-improving offense, the 33-1 you can get on the Carolina Panthers offers great each way value. This is a fast improving team and if they start the season well, they could be the team to beat this season.