2023 NFL Futures Bets: Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert Are Guys To Target

As you prepare for the NFL season to kick off in September, why not get some season-long exposure by way of NFL futures bets? Here are some of the best options!

Placing NFL futures bets can be both entertaining and profitable if you know what you’re looking for. Having a bet to cheer for during the duration of the entire season is a fun dynamic, but you also get the benefit of these betting markets being a bit softer than trying to beat the ATS market on America’s Game of the Week during any given Sunday.

The NFL is the most efficient betting market in North America, and while the futures market adapts as the action comes in, there is certainly a buying opportunity as we sit here today. Understanding that prices and situations are fluid, to say the least, these are some of the spots I like as we sit here today.

Best Bets and Fades for the 2023 NFL Season

MVP: Lamar Jackson (+1500)

As a team, the Baltimore Ravens are in the sweet spot for MVP betting. They are a very good team, but not so good that overachieving is impossible.

If Lamar Jackson can lead Baltimore to a division title, it would mean topping an MVP favorite in Joe Burrow in the process. So the narrative pieces fit, and with Todd Monken taking over this offense, the stats figure to be there.

One box left to check: historical trends.

Each of the past 10 MVPs (and 15 of the past 16) has played quarterback, so that’s easy. Since Rich Gannon took home the hardware in 2002, only once has a quarterback won the award while losing more than four games (2016 Matt Ryan). Playing on a winning team is clearly a part of the equation.

Peyton Manning won the MVP in 2008. Brett Favre was the starting quarterback for the New York Jets that season, and “Low” by Flo Rida (featuring T-Pain) finished the year atop the Billboard Hot 100.

Since then, every QB to win the award has averaged over 7.7 yards per pass attempt. And each of the past five winners has run for over 100 yards and multiple scores.

Here is a list of active QBs who have a season with 7.7 yards per pass, 100 rushing yards, and at least two rushing scores on their résumé over the past five years and plays for a team with an expected win total of at least nine this season …

  • Patrick Mahomes (four times)
  • Deshaun Watson (3)
  • Aaron Rodgers (2)
  • Josh Allen
  • Jared Goff
  • Jalen Hurts
  • Joe Burrow
  • Lamar Jackson
  • Derek Carr
  • Dak Prescott

Now … we eliminate!

  1. Ryan in 2016 was the last time the MVP was picked inside the top 10 of the NFL Draft … if that continues, we can rule out Allen, Goff, and Burrow.
  2. Manning in 2013 was the last player to win MVP for the team that did not draft him … if that continues, we can rule out Watson, Rodgers, and Carr.
  3. Since 2012, only once (2017 Tom Brady) did the MVP appear in the Super Bowl the year prior … if that continues, we can rule out Mahomes and Hurts.
  4. Four of the past six MVPs already had an MVP on their résumé. And the vast majority over time have garnered multiple MVP votes in at least one season prior to winning the award … if that continues, we can rule out Prescott.

The last man standing is one Lamar Demeatrice Jackson Jr.!

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Rushing Yards: Dameon Pierce Under 900.5

As a rookie, Dameon Pierce inched past this number just before an ankle injury ended his stellar season in Week 14. Pierce came out of the gates strong with the Houston Texans overachieving (sure, they were just 1-3-1 through five games, but they were 3-1-1 ATS). But those competitive games faded with time, and Pierce’s efficiency went with it (3.0 yards per carry over his final four games).

The Texans led for just 16.3% of their offensive snaps last season and are, again, going to be a bad football team. That means efficiency will be a requirement for Pierce to go over this number, and I’m not optimistic that a team starting a rookie quarterback under a rookie center creates a ton of running lanes.

Even when they do, there’s a much better chance this season that it’s not Pierce taking advantage. Through 14 weeks last season, the rookie accounted for 85.6% of Houston’s RB carries, a number that isn’t even remotely possible this season with the addition of Devin Singletary.

I’m in full fade mode of Pierce when it comes to fantasy football, and I have a ton of outs to win this bet — injury, committee, and game script, to name a few.

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Passing Yards: Justin Herbert To Lead the NFL (+700)

Of the top five options on the odds board, Justin Herbert is the only quarterback without a real pounder in his backfield, and that allows him to pile up the “cheap” passing yards.

It makes sense logically, and the numbers support it. Herbert threw a league-high 91 passes last season when the Los Angeles Chargers were three yards or closer to moving the chains.

Los Angeles was second in pass rate last season and will be the favorite to lead the league this year with Tom Brady no longer leading the Buccaneers. Herbert is protected by an above-average offensive line, and the team even added another downfield threat for good measure in the form of 6’3” Quentin Johnston.

With the drafting of a receiver like that, you have to assume that Herbert isn’t ranking 31st in aDOT this season. And the deeper the throw, the greater the yardage upside.

2023 NFL Futures Bets: Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert Are Guys To Target

It’s pretty clear that the Bolts trust their ability to pass the ball. And considering they’ve had a league-high 19 games decided by a field goal or less during the Herbert era, I’m happy to bank on them throwing in those close game spots.

Herbert was banged up last season … and he threw for 4,739 yards. With one missed game on his résumé, the sheer volume of attempts should put Herbert in this race. Additionally, the limitations of L.A.’s ground game make him a great value.

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Win Total: Jacksonville Jaguars Over 9.5

Let’s be clear about something: “Counting” wins is crazy. I have no idea what version of this team will be available come November, nor do I have any idea of the status of any of their opponents.

That said, I do believe in trying to identify tough spots. Every team has a handful of them on the schedule, and those that go over their win total have a way of performing better in those spots than projected.

Again, all of this changes if Trevor Lawrence goes down in Week 2, but the way this schedule plays out is promising. There are five opponents that jump out on Jacksonville’s schedule, and the Jaguars have a nice advantage in each of them.

  • Week 2 vs KC: Early-season games in Florida are never a walk in the park for the opposition.
  • Week 5 vs BUF*: Jacksonville is no stranger to these London games. Plus, being across the pond the week prior allows them to eliminate any travel issues.
  • Week 10 vs SF: Playing at home off a bye is a good spot to be.
  • Week 13 vs CIN: Playing at home after a potentially stress-free game in Houston, facing a team coming off of consecutive bloody-your-nose AFC North battles.
  • Week 15 vs BAL: Playing at home against a team that plays four straight games in different cities.

So yea, a travel advantage in the five games you’d most likely pencil in as losses isn’t a bad thing. Oh, and we are talking about a southern team that has really just one weather concern from Weeks 9-17.

Last season, this was a fringe top-10 offense, and that was in a more conservative offense with a rookie running back and without a receiver in Calvin Ridley, who has elite production on his résumé.

I expect Jacksonville’s offense to be bulletproof and, with that, a league-average defense (they ranked 18th in yards per play allowed last season). The Jaguars are a real threat to soar past this total.

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