Week 4: What Are NFL Futures, And Is Washington Worth Consideration?

Posted on October 1, 2021 - Last Updated on October 3, 2021

Although NFL Week 4 is here, it’s not too late to look ahead and place some mid-season NFL futures bets, including those for the Washington Football Team.

The WFT is just 1-2 this season and coming off a 43-21 drubbing to the Buffalo Bills.

In fact, Washington’s lone victory this year came via a single point over the New York Giants in Week 2.

Now, the team gears up for Sunday’s (1 p.m., CBS) matchup with the New Orleans Saints (2-1). A loss could be disastrous for Washington’s 2021 hopes. But what if you’re still bullish on the team’s 2021 playoff hopes? What if you think the WFT can win the NFC East and maybe even go further?

It might be time to tap into the NFL futures markets.

What are NFL futures bets?

A futures bet is typically a wager on something that involves and settles following the full season.

Rather than betting on a specific game or event, you’re often betting on a season-long performance or result.

Perhaps the best way to understand these types of bets, including NFL futures, is to look at some of the examples. All of these types of futures bets can be found at many US sportsbooks:

  • A team or individual winning the division, conference, or league championship
  • A team qualifying for the postseason
  • The total number of wins for a team
  • Individual performances, including season stat totals and records broken
  • League awards such as MVP and Rookie of the Year (these awards-based futures aren’t offered in Virginia)

Some sportsbooks are known to post futures as early as possible. For example, though the NHL season is still a few weeks away, and though NCAA college basketball is more than a month away, you can still place futures bets on both.

And as you might imagine, the odds can fluctuate wildly before the season even begins. Did a team have a good draft? Did a star player suffer a serious injury?

Or, perhaps, has the season already started, and now we know more about a team than we did before? After all, you can keep betting on futures, including NFL futures, throughout the season.

Latest 2021 futures for Washington Football Team

With the team’s mediocre start, the odds of the Washington Football Team winning the NFC East have dipped a bit.

For example, at FanDuel, which is currently the most popular sportsbook in Virginia, had the WFT with preseason odds of +260 to win the NFC East.

If you bet $10 on the team to win the division and you’re right, you’d clear $26 in profit. No matter what happens after you place your bet, your +260 odds are locked in for the entire season.

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However, if you made that same bet now, you’d get a much better payoff. With the WFT’s 1-2 start, those preseason expectations have waned. A lot of bettors don’t like what they see. So sportsbooks such as FanDuel and others have adjusted the odds to match that skepticism.

Although Washington was +260 to win the NFC East before the season started, the odds have since increased to +450. The potential payout on a $10 bet has also increased, from $26 to $45.

Think bettors and oddsmakers have overreacted? Not reacted enough? Those are the types of questions you need to ask yourself before you place a futures bet, especially a mid-season one.

Other NFL futures for WFT, Ravens, Panthers

So, how have other NFL futures odds changed since the start of the 2021 NFL season?

The odds suggest the Washington Football Team is more of a long shot to win the division. With a solid start and a +21 scoring differential, the Dallas Cowboys (2-1) are now solid -195 favorites (bet $19.50 to profit $10) to win the NFC East. Dallas was the preseason favorite to win the division, but the odds were just +110 during the preseason. Bettors (and thus, sportsbooks) clearly like what they see.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) have held steady as the AFC North favorites. The team, which is coming off an electric record-breaking win over the Lions,  was +115 preseason at FanDuel and is now +110.

Here’s a look at all of the main futures bets for the WTF and Baltimore:

 Odds to win the division pre-seasonOdds to win the division pre-Week 4Odds to win the AFC/NFC pre-seasonOdds to win the AFC/NFC pre-Week 4Odds to win Super Bowl 50 pre-seasonOdds to win Super Bowl 50 pre-Week 4
Washington Football Team+260+450+2700+3400+5000+7500
Baltimore Ravens+115+110+650+600+1400+1300

Does something seem “off”? Don’t agree with the odds? If so, then perhaps, it’s time to make a bet. But in addition to their performances to date, don’t forget about what’s ahead as you evaluate the current odds.

After all, a number of factors can impact playoff chances and season performance:

  • Strength of the remaining schedule
  • Injured players who could return to action
  • Future travel, expected weather, bye-week timing
  • Off-the-field issues or concerns
  • All of the above considerations for other teams in the division/league

Additionally, don’t forget to check out other VA sports betting apps. While we referenced FanDuel odds above, Virginia offers seven other sportsbooks, and each has its own set of odds of menu of betting options. So shop around if you’re ready to make your futures bets.

Photo by AP / Brett Carlsen
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, MLB.com and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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