Jared Smith's Football Futures Bets: Niners among teams flashing early value

Jimmy Garoppolo Playing Against Vikings
Photo of Jared Smith

Jared Smith

NFL· 4 weeks ago

Show Bio

Jared Smith, a versatile host and analyst with over 10 years of experience in sports media and two decades as a sports bettor, has joined the Pickswise team as a lead betting analyst. Smith will serve as a full-time content creator, producing informative and engaging content every day across multiple platforms.

This season will be my 15th gambling on football. Besides some gray hairs from sweating out thousands of bets, we’ve learned a few things. One of the biggest lessons has been how to bet better with futures. If you read our first two “EDGE-UCATION” columns dealing with this subject, you know futures can be a way for gamblers to outmaneuver the market, and use longer time horizons to their advantage. This season is no different, as there are certain teams and players I’m willing to buy in on early because I think over time my handicap will be proved correct.

A big part of futures we did not cover in those first two columns that we will touch on here is unit sizing. If you’ve immersed yourself with the Pickswise platform by now you know there are one, two and three-star plays. I feel the same way about futures. There are some bets, usually longer shots, for which one unit is enough, but others that I want more exposure to. It’s also important to assign monetary value to your units before you start each season.

49ers over 10.5 wins +100 (3u)

*Line available on FanDuel Sportsbook at time of posting

49ers Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo getting the crowd pumped up.

© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

This might surprise you considering the brutal season San Francisco had in 2020, but I believe we will see positive regression from the -11 turnover margin which plagued the Niners last year. I also expect the injury bug to subside, driven by additions on the offensive line to help keep Jimmy Garoppolo upright. The 49ers added veteran center Alex Mack and drafted two guards in the offseason. When Jimmy G plays, the Niners win. Kyle Shanahan’s record in San Francisco is 24-9 with Garoppolo under center, and 7-27 without. Rookie QB Trey Lance could be a factor off the bench, similar to the role Taysom Hill plays in New Orleans, but I do believe this is Jimmy G’s team for now. The return of DE Nick Bosa from injury will also be a huge boost for the defense. San Francisco has the easiest schedule in 2021 based on current NFL win totals and will be favored in 14 of their 17 games according to the lookahead lines. They should get off to a fast start as they face the Lions and Eagles early, plus late matchups against the Bengals, Texans and Falcons will give us numerous opportunities to hedge if needed.

Titans to win AFC South +110 (3u)

*Line playable up to -130

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs away from Detroit Lions strong safety Duron Harmon (26) during the second half at Nissan Stadium.

CREDIT – Christopher Hanewinckel (USA Today)

We timed this right a couple of weeks ago, buying Tennessee before the injuries to Indianapolis QB Carson Wentz and OG Quenton Nelson. They have returned to practice, but Wentz was recently added to the COVID list and should now be considered a longshot to start Week 1. Another offensive lineman, LT Sam Tevi, tore his ACL during practice and will miss the entire season. WR TY Hilton will also miss time early with a neck injury, so needless to say the injury bug is already biting Indy hard and the season hasn’t even started yet. No, this isn’t a Colts bet, but it might as well be, as they are the only real competition for Tennessee in the AFC South. I like the Titans’ additions of free-agent DE Bud Dupree and first-round pick CB Caleb Farley to shore up a defense ranked 29th in DVOA last year. I also love the Julio Jones move, who is a huge upgrade over Corey Davis. The one fly in the ointment could be the departure of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith; however his replacement, former TE coach Todd Downing, will keep the same system in place. It’s a safe bet to say the Titans are better than a coin flip to win the division for the second straight season.

Texans to have the worst record +250 (3u)

*Line available on DraftKings or Caesars at time of posting

Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter during the game at Lambeau Field preseason

© Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

This handicap is relatively easy as the Texans are the only team in the NFL not favored in any game this season according to the lookahead lines. I waited as long as possible before betting this to make sure Houston was selling, and we got confirmation last week with the trade of DE Shaq Lawson and increased chatter about QB Deshaun Watson’s potential move. Unlike the Lions, who are projected to be the next-worst team, I think Houston is in full sell mode and they do not have a no-quit head coach like Dan Campbell at the helm. You will also have plenty of opportunities to hedge late as Houston’s money line prices will likely be very long towards the end of what should be a brutal campaign.

Justin Fields to win Offensive Rookie of the Year +850 (1u)

*Line playable up to +700, would not bet shorter than that

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields

Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

I expect Fields to vault into the catbird’s seat on the odds board for this award once he is named the starter in Chicago, which could come after Andy Dalton’s likely poor performance in Week 1 against the Rams. That sets up Fields nicely for a Week 2 debut against the lowly Bengals. Fields has handled himself well in preseason, showing poise with his reps and deflecting the media onslaught in his battle to win the starting job. A quarterback has won this award two straight years, and considering the depth of this year’s rookie QB class, we are only considering signal callers for this one.

Cardinals to win NFC West +700 (1u)
Cardinals to win the Super Bowl +4400 (1u)

*Lines widely available at time of posting

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray playing against the Seattle Seahawks

Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Every season right after the Super Bowl, we like to sprinkle on a longshot with a rising third-year quarterback. The equation is simple, as year three with a rookie QB is the last before he commands a big contract extension, so teams usually make one last run in free agency before the financial window closes. This year that team was the Cardinals and QB Kyler Murray. Arizona was aggressive in free agency, adding All-Pro caliber talent in DE JJ Watt and WR AJ Green but unfortunately, this did not move the market as expected, which means you can still buy in on the Cards at relatively the same price that first opened. I still think Arizona can take a leap with Murray and Kliff Kingsbury, similar to what Josh Allen and the Bills did last season, but I’d be lying if I said this pick has worked out as planned so far, so tread lightly here.

Boston College over 7 wins -130 (3u)

*Line available on FanDuel at time of posting

Phil Jurkovec Boston College

© Winslow Townson

This is our only preseason college football bet and I see a huge edge here with the Eagles, who have surprising talent on the roster in 2021. QB Phil Jurkovec is ranked by Phil Steele as the No. 7 quarterback in the nation and WR Zay Flowers was an All-ACC selection last year. The schedule is very favorable, with early-season cupcakes against Colgate, UMass and Temple that should get BC off to an easy 3-0 start. There is also weakness in the ACC as Florida State and Georgia Tech, whom BC faces towards the end of their campaign, are expected to be down. While there aren’t lookahead lines in college football, I project the Eagles to be favored in 10 of their 12 games this season, and they avoid having to face Miami and North Carolina, who are the next two best teams in the ACC behind Clemson.

Pickswise is the home of NFL Picks. Check out our latest playoff picks and round-by-round analysis as well as our free Super Bowl predictions.

See All
DraftKings

$200

Bet $1 On Any NFL Football Game & Get $150 In Free Bets Instantly!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account

Bet $1 on any Pro Football game

Instantly get $150 in free bets

PointsBet

$200

Bet $20, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit $20+

Bet $20 on your team to win Money Line (NFL or NCAAF)

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

FanDuel Sportsbook

$150

Bet $5, Win $150 in cash if the Cowboys or Eagles win!

Bet $5 on the Cowboys or Eagles to win

Win $150 in CASH if your team wins!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account to claim

Must be 21+ to play. Full terms available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Caesars Sportsbook

$5,000

Get a $5,000 Risk Free Bet + a free NFL Jersey!

Register for a new Caesars Sportsbook account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $5,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $5,000 + a free NFL Jersey

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new BetMGM account & deposit $20+

Bet $10 on your team to win Money Line

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

BetAmerica Racing

$200

$200 Sign Up Bonus!

Fast, reliable and fast payouts - you'll have your money in 72 hours, if not sooner!

Proud history of providing safe, secure, and fun betting to American patrons

BetAmerica is owned by the iconic Churchill Downs Incorporated, home of 150 years of wagering history and the world-famous Kentucky Derby

Players who sign up using ‘BET200’ code will get a $200 sign up bonus. Offer valid for 7 days after registering on BetAmerica Racing product only. 21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign Up Bonus with TwinSpires Racebook!

Register for a new Twinspires account using offer code BET200

Make a deposit and start wagering on horse racing

Earn $100 in bonus cash for every $400 wagered!

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.