Five Early NFL Bets for the 2018 Season

By Michael Wynn
Published on August 09, 2018
NFL Logo Football and Money

It’s that time of year, folks!

Any sharp NFL bettor will tell you that the best time to take advantage of soft lines is before the season starts.

As the season progresses, the oddsmakers will be getting more and more precise. That’s because as the teams take the field and the sample size grows, more data comes into play.

The good news for you is that I took a long and hard look at the NFL preseason wagers across all the top NFL betting sites. After scouring the most reliable sportsbooks, I was able to lock into 5 bets that really stood out and caught my eye.

You’ll see a couple bets regarding a team’s chances of winning their division, but there were also a few player performance props that really piqued my interest.

In the end, it comes down to betting intelligently. I tried to locate the bets that I believe provide the most value. In other words, which wagers have a higher likelihood of paying off than the odds that are attached?

As I mentioned, I found five that are more than worthy of consideration. Check them out below and see if you can get on board.

Odds Disclaimer 2

Jacksonville Jaguars to Win AFC South Division (+175)

The Jaguars won the AFC South Division in 2017 for the first time in their franchise’s history. Fans in Jacksonville have a lot to look forward to in 2018 because I think it’s almost a lock that this team repeats as AFC South champs.

Talk about a stellar defense – this group allowed just 169.9 passing yards per game. Not only did this number lead the league, but it was more than 22 yards fewer than the next best team. The 16.8 points per game the Jags defensive unit allowed led the entire AFC Conference.

As if this defense wasn’t loaded enough, general manager David Caldwell snagged a defensive tackle from the University of Florida (Taven Bryan) and Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison during the early portion of April’s NFL Draft.

This young pair will look to add depth to a group that already includes fearsome pass rushers like Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue.

Stud corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye shore up the back end of this defense, while linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack control the middle level.

Trust me when I tell you that no team wants to face the Jaguars’ D.

I don’t see any way that any team in this division can keep up with Jacksonville over the course of the 16-game regular season. I’m still not sold that Andrew Luck is healthy enough to play, and I don’t believe the Titans have enough leadership and experience to seriously contend.

There’s a lot to like in Houston, but this +175 number for the Jaguars to capture the AFC South just seems too juicy to pass up. I’d be fine taking the Jags at +160, so the +175 number feels like some added incentive.

Blake Bortles isn’t as bad as people think he is, and Leonard Fournette enters the season in the best shape of his life.

Look for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to feed #27 early and often in 2018. I think the combination of this running game and outstanding defense is good enough to win 10+ games, just like they did a season ago.

Not only am I recommending placing this wager, but I’m saying go ahead and hammer away!

Los Angeles Chargers to Win AFC West (+135)

Here’s another wager BetOnline is offering that I am more than happy to fire away on. I expect this number to shrink as we get closer to the start of the season, so I suggest booking this bet sooner rather than later.

I know a lot of people are excited about the Raiders hiring Jon Gruden and think that Oakland could be the team to beat. I’m saying hold your horses on a roster that Gruden and Reggie McKenzie flipped completely on its head. Give that team some time to grow.

The Denver Broncos finally found a real quarterback, but Vance Joseph has yet to prove he can lead a football team after the Broncos endured a 5-11 debacle last year.

The Chiefs turned the reins over to Patrick Mahomes, and I think the former Texas Tech Red Raider has a bright future.

But I’m not at all convinced that the Chiefs, or any other team in this division for that matter, have enough on defense.

So by process of elimination, that leaves me with the Chargers. A defense that was completely stacked in 2017 added FSU safety Derwin James to help plug holes in the middle of the field. The deadly duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram getting after opposing quarterbacks is flat-out scary.

All this means is that Gus Bradley has about as much firepower as any defensive coordinator in the National Football League.

Led by wily veteran Philip Rivers, this offense has a running back in Melvin Gordon who is effective in both the rushing and passing game. Keenan Allen is about as reliable of a safety blanket as you can find, as evidenced by hauling in 102 balls last year for nearly 1,400 yards.

The speed of Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams on the outside tells me this team will be able to put up points in bunches.

Everything is pointing in the direction of the Chargers winning double-digit games this season. With all the moving parts elsewhere in that division, that should be plenty to seize the AFC West.

Le’Veon Bell Total Rushing Yards

Le’Veon Bell is without a doubt one of the most talented running backs we have in the game today. The fact that the Steelers continually feed him the ball regardless of game flow makes him a great choice to be extremely productive.

But hang on a second. Setting the line at his total number of rushing yards way up at 1,324.5 yards is just too high. Just look at past data.

Le’Veon Bell Career Rushing Statistics in the NFL
Year Games Played Rushes Yards
2013 13 244 860
2014 16 290 1,361
2015 6 113 556
2016 12 261 1,268
2017 15 321 1,291

I highlighted his total in 2014 because that was the only time during his 5 years in the league in which he has eclipsed 1,324.5 rushing yards in a single season. The running back position is extremely volatile, as you can see by the inconsistent number of games that Le’Veon has played each season.

It’s not that I’m worried about his contract dispute, and I’m not questioning his skill set or motivation.

I’m just being realistic, ladies and gentlemen.

The truth is, I’d be surprised if Bell is able to stay healthy and suit up for all 16 games. The fact that he gets 25+ touches per game makes me really nervous about the prospects of him playing the whole year.

Putting my faith in Bell’s ability to stay on the field long enough to exceed that rushing total is not something I have any interest in doing.

However, I don’t mind snagging the under here, as I just see too many obstacles standing in his way of reaching 1,325 yards on the ground. The fact that he is so good in the passing game makes betting the under here even more intriguing.

Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger loves getting Bell involved by targeting him on short passes, so he’ll earn a solid portion of his yards through the air.

I’m not saying Le’Veon is getting too old, and I think he’s as patient and disciplined of a runner as we have in the league. I’m just looking at past data and staring at what I see in front of me. It’s telling me the under here is a solid bet.

PICKUnder 1,324.5 Yards-115

DeVante Parker Total Receiving Yards

I’ll admit, I was oozing with delight when I first saw this wager on BetOnline’s betting sheet. I absolutely love the value here and think Parker will smash this total of 750.5 receiving yards this season.

He’s got so many things working in his favor.

First off, the Dolphins leading receiver (Jarvis Landry) has been shipped out to Cleveland. When you lose a guy who caught exactly 400 balls over the past 4 years, someone is going to need to step in and fill the void.

Enter the 25-year-old athletic specimen DeVante Parker.

DeVante immediately assumes the role of Ryan Tannehill’s number-one target, giving Parker the green light to far exceed 751 yards through the air. After not entirely living up to his hype during his first three years as a professional, things finally seem to be falling into place for the former Louisville Cardinal wideout.

DeVante Parker could be a breakout player in 2018, and teammates are excited about his potential for the upcoming season. Fellow wide receiver Jakeem Grant told the following.

“I call him ‘The Monster.’ I feel like he turns it on. I feel like he’s a complete beast.”

I’ve heard many NFL touts proclaim Parker as a breakout player in 2018, and some even think he has a chance to emerge as a top-10 WR in this league. If that’s the case, we’ll probably see DeVante go over 750 receiving yards around Week 9 or 10.

Don’t overthink this one, and place this wager confidently.

PICKOver 750.5 Yards-130

Josh Gordon Total Passing Yards

The news has already been released that Josh Gordon will miss the start of the season due to a “health and treatment plan.”

This is anything but good news for a Browns organization that is in the midst of trying to clear their name of negativity and start the season off on the right foot.

Whether it’s Tyrod Taylor or rookie Baker Mayfield, I was already a bit wary of Gordon’s ability to consistently put up big numbers. Now I’m reading that his mental health and anxiety issues are still affecting him, and he’s going to miss significant time.

Let’s just call a spade a spade here, boys and girls. Josh joined the NFL in 2012 and has just one season with more than 805 receiving yards to his name. I could see a scenario in which he doesn’t play at all this season as he recovers from his illnesses.

Last time I checked, I’m pretty sure you need to be on the field for a pretty big chunk of the season if you are going to outpace that line of 1,050 receiving yards.

As more news comes out, this line could drastically change, so I highly endorse you hopping on the under here before gets their act together and adjusts this price accordingly.

PICKUnder 1,049.5 Yards-120


Are those some mouthwatering bets or what?

I love taking advantage of the lines before the season starts.

Why should I wait for the linemakers to accrue more and more data and get more and more accurate with the lines they set? Betting on weekly games during the season is certainly enjoyable, and it provides plenty of entertainment.

But if you are trying to really turn a profit, I suggest taking a peek at the preseason wagers that are available.

I gave you 5 to start out with, and perhaps you can find some that are even more appealing!

Five Early NFL Bets for the 2018 Season
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Five Early NFL Bets for the 2018 Season
The start of the NFL season means it’s time to get your futures bets in! I scoped the betting sheets and found 5 wagers that are too appetizing to pass up.
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