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NFL Season Betting Preview 2023 - Best Futures Bets

NFL Season Betting Preview 2023 - Best Futures Bets

A look at who will win AFC South, Offensive Rookie of the Year, and more. Ben Brown breaks down his best NFL Futures bets for the 2023 season.

We are officially past the final NFL preseason games, with a small break occurring before the regular season kickoff. A lot has happened since Patrick Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP and the Chiefs hoisted the Lombardi trophy last February, and the Pinnacle Futures market has been at the forefront of market movement every step of the way. 

From a value perspective, the Futures market is at its most efficient point, with the highest amount of information available at this point in the offseason. However, given this is the shortest timeframe to lock in a Futures bet, it creates the perfect opportunity to take one final look through the Pinnacle board and find some value in the best available Futures bets to make before kickoff on September 7. 

The best way to approach Futures betting is with a robust game simulation that carries out the steps of each game, correctly sizing up not only the teams that are playing, but also the residual outcomes that can potentially happen. 

A number of content sites offer simulations that can effectively price NFL outcomes, with my former employer at PFF offering a fairly robust solution. Another option is SumerSports, who also take into account some sophisticated team ratings for their simulation process. Combining both data points and comparing them to the NFL Futures offered by Pinnacle has unearthed the below list of my favourite Futures bets to make before the 2023 season officially kicks off.



New coaching staff ushered in massive changes to the offensive side of the football for the Colts. After the midseason firing of Frank Reich, any coach should be viewed as an upgrade over Jeff Saturday, but thankfully the Colts got what could easily be considered the marquee option this offseason by luring Shane Steichen away from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Steichen can be considered a part of the Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, and Mike McDaniel offensive philosophy, and deserves quite a bit of credit for the emergence and significant progress of Jalen Hurts. The Colts brass clearly buys into this outlook for Steichen, as they have answered their lingering quarterback question by selecting Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall selection. Richardson is incredibly raw as a passer, but offers unmatched upside due to his unique athletic ability, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Cam Newton.

The really intriguing part about Richardson is that his rushing ability alone offers a reasonable floor for this Colts offence, as his ability to negate highly negative sack plays has been on full display this preseason. With an ability to avoid these negative plays and also open up lanes for the Colts' running backs, it’s possible even average throwing performances will keep the Colts in most games. 

They have one of the easiest schedules in football, and although they lost veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore, they have brought back the majority of players from a defence that ranked in the top half of the NFL in expected points added (EPA) allowed per play last season. It isn’t a highly likely bet, but at +565 odds on Pinnacle, both SumerSports and PFF's simulations find value in the Colts to win the AFC South. It may only take a split against division rival Jacksonville and mediocre passing stats from Anthony Richardson to see this one pay out at the window. 

Colts +565* to win AFC South


Baltimore look like a team heading in the wrong direction, with a lot more questions than answers as they sit in one of the most difficult divisions in football. They have only hopes and dreams currently at the wide receiver position, in what is turning into a decades-long search to find a legitimate number one wide receiver option. 

There is hope that Zay Flowers can be the long-term solution, but expecting a rookie wide receiver to be a playoff team’s leading receiver is not something that typically happens in the NFL. Odell Beckham Jr. is well past his prime, and may not be close to the player he once was after a year off from football following an ACL tear.

The right side of their offensive line looks appealing, as Morgan Moses looks like a hit after one season in Baltimore after signing in free agency. However, they are banking on Ronnie Stanley playing 700+ snaps, which is something that hasn’t happened in three years. 

Defensively, their edge situation is bordering on disastrous, and required some recent veteran acquisition to look even remotely respectable. Their secondary is being held together by Marlon Humphrey and Kyle Hamilton. Humphrey is going to start the season on the sidelines after undergoing foot surgery recently. Their post training camp signings could contribute, but also look to be well past their prime playing days, as this defence looks older and slower by the day. They might need close to an MVP-type season from Lamar Jackson to come close to their current Win Total, with both SumerSports and PFF’s simulations bearish on that outlook. Given the plus price Under 9.5 and the fact they have signaled a move away from an analytically sound approach, this looks like one of the best Win Total bets to make right now.

Ravens U9.5 +174*


The 49ers have dominated the most recent cycle of NFL news, and unfortunately it hasn’t been for good reasons. Everyone realizes now the disaster that was trading up to third to select Trey Lance, and in a lot of ways sacrificing the future in order to do it. San Francisco was able to do it because they hit on a potential franchise quarterback late in last year's draft, but the move has still left them without a first round draft pick for multiple seasons, and when that pick doesn’t turn out, it leaves a roster devoid of top end talent.

On top of that, there might be too much confidence in what Brock Purdy is capable of long term. He is still the player that was drafted with the Mr. Irrelevant pick, and still has plenty of issues coming out of Iowa State that seemed to be, at least initially, corrected in his nine games played last year. The concern is that Purdy has had stretches of terrible turnover-worthy play rates, and last year performed well above expectation on turnover-worthy plays that didn’t result in actual turnovers. His injured elbow could also be a big obstacle for him, preventing him from coming close to last year's performance. 

Fold in the quarterback concerns to a roster that hasn’t had the top end draft pick pay off in quite some time, and a defence that could be without its best player to start the season, and the 49ers appear to be on a shaky foundation in 2023. It is something that Kyle Shanahan can potentially overcome, but could still prove to be more difficult than what the current betting market is projecting. For this reason, the 49ers look like a prime candidate to finish under their season Win Total, in what should be a more competitive NFC West division than what prognosticators are projecting right now.  

49ers U11.5 -139*

Jordan Addison Offensive Rookie of the Year +1493

This sets up as an award Jordan Addison (+1493*) could easily back into. The heavy favourite is Bijan Robinson, but the expectation that he moves the needle is overstated by the betting market, and his upside is capped with the expectation that the Falcons are only going to be a seven-win team this year. The volume might not be enough if the Falcons are constantly trailing in games. 

Each rookie quarterback has also underwhelmed in preseason action, and it’s really difficult to project anyone to have immediate success at the NFL level. Anthony Richardson is very much alive, especially if the Colts win the division, but a more intriguing option could be Jordan Addison. He very clearly has the number two wide receiver role locked down in the Vikings' offence.

He is the one important addition to a Vikings squad that won 13 games last season. He might not put up gaudy numbers, but he won’t be the focal point of defences with Justin Jefferson on the field for the Vikings. If the rest of the candidates underwhelm, Addison could look like the best option for a lot of people, if he gets close to the 1,000 yard receiving mark and the Vikings end up with a playoff berth once again in a down NFC conference. This is a difficult market to model, but the price seems to be more than enough to take this as a potential long shot outcome.

You can follow more from Ben on X at @Ben_R_Brown_ and read his Way Too Early Predictions from back in May.

*Odds subject to change

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