2011 NFL Futures – Odds to win the AFC

The NFL labor situation aside, plans for the 2011 season are underway and that includes the release of ‘futures’ lines by the various sportsbooks that provide the odds for all 32 teams in relation to their chance to win next season’s Super Bowl as well as their respective conference. Much of the rational that goes into setting these odds tends to focus on past performance as opposed to future potential. This in itself has a tendency to build some tremendous value into certain teams that are poised for a breakout season and a long run in the playoffs.

Turning to the future odds to win the AFC, Sportsinteraction.com has opened the New England Patriots as the odds-on-favorite to win the conference at +300. Ever since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady won a couple of Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005 this team has been a perennial favorite to win the conference on a yearly basis. It is not without merit as the Patriots remain a very good team; however you have to question the value of picking them to win given the potential payout verse the fact that they have only won one AFC title in the past six seasons.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the second favorite at +450 which is also based mainly on past performance more so than future potential. The reining AFC champions are still a very good team and will retain most of the key components of last season’s team, but given the poor track record of the losing Super Bowl team’s performance the following season, there is not a tremendous amount of value in this pick in relation to the potential payout.
The New York Jets at +650 are worth a second look, especially given the fact that their head coach Rex Ryan has guaranteed that his team will win the Super Bowl in 2011. The Jets have been to the last two AFC championship games so you have to ask yourself is this team ready to take the next step or will the disappointment of coming so close two years in a row drag it down? The main problem with New York is there are some legitimate roster concerns that need to be addressed as Ryan tends to be wearing rose-colored glasses the majority of the time.

There could be some solid value in the Baltimore Ravens at +700, especially if you believe that Pittsburgh will take a step backwards next season. The Ravens were a division-record tiebreaker away from winning the AFC North last season which would have given them a first-round bye and home field advantage. With a solid running game and a shutdown defense, this team appears to be a player or two away from taking the next step to get past the Steelers in the North which could be the gateway to winning the AFC.

You never want to count out Peyton Manning, but more and more he is looking like the captain that is going down with his ship. Indianapolis is +800 to win the AFC simply based on the fact that he is behind center. The 2010 season may have just been step minor backwards and this team will be able to reload for a 2011 run, but are you willing to bet on it?

Dave Schwab

DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.