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NFL Futures Wagers

   by ASA - 09/08/2012

As always, we are looking for the best value when we pick our divisional champions. The team we pick may not be the “favorite” or have the best odds, but we feel that the teams that we select have the greatest value.

ASA’s NFC East Champion

New York Giants (+200)

Despite being the lone playoff team from the NFC East and winning the Super Bowl last season, the defending champions aren’t even favored to win their own division this year. The Eagles have the best odds while the Giants and Cowboys have the same. Sure the Giants were fortunate to get into the playoffs last season at 9-7, but New York really put things together late in the season, riding a confident hot streak to a Super Bowl victory – much like the 2010 Green Bay Packers did. Green Bay barely made the playoffs as a Wild Card team, but got confident and hot at the right time. They then rode that confidence to a 15-1 record the next season. Expect a confident Giants squad to do the same. The Giants hitched their wagon to a scorching Eli Manning to their 6-0 finish last season (including playoffs). Manning averaged 298.3 passing yards per game with 13 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. However, the biggest catalyst for their Super Bowl run was probably their defensive improvement – mainly the pass-rush. Despite playing against some of the top offenses over the final six games (Dallas, Atlanta, Green Bay, New England), New York allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 59% of their passes for a modest 247 yards per game with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. NYG also averaged 3.7 sacks per game and allowed opponents to score just 14 points per game (down from 26.6 PPG over the first 15 games of the season). Early reports from camp suggest that HC Tom Coughlin has his players extremely focused and motivated to carry over last season’s success into 2012-13. Take the Giants to win the NFC East this season.

ASA’s NFC North Champion

Green Bay Packers (-300)

Green Bay finished one of the best regular season’s in NFL history in 2011-12. The Pack went 15-1 while scoring 35 points per game (1st in the NFL) and gaining 405 yards per game (3rd). QB Aaron Rodgers added an MVP to his resume after tossing 45 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions and set an NFL record with a 122.5 quarterback rating. It looked as though the Packers were headed for a second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl. Instead, the Giants caught the Pack playing their worst game of the season in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Green Bay didn’t lose much from last year’s prolific squad, while also adding some strong pieces this offseason – most importantly on defense – and we expect the Pack to be right in the thick of the Super Bowl chase come season’s end. GB’s defense set the record for most passing yards allowed in a season in 2011 and they allowed the most yards per game overall. The main goal this season was to add pass rushers to get more pressure on the opposing QB (ranked 27th in the NFL with just 29 sacks last season) and take the heat off of their secondary. GM Ted Thompson used his first six draft picks to upgrade the defense. With the first two selections, GB took OLB Nick Perry out of USC and DE/DT Jerel Worthy out of Michigan State, both of whom have high motors and are expected to have an instant impact from day one. Offensively, the Packers retained all off their playmakers and as long as Rodgers remains healthy, this unit shouldn’t miss a beat in 2012. Take the Packers as your NFC North Champions in 2012.

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