Finishing with the best record in the NFL doesn’t come with the same perks as topping the NBA or NHL standings; you don’t get home-field advantage in the Super Bowl, nor do you get a fancy President’s Trophy for your awards room.
But some sportsbooks offer props on which team will finish with the best record, so bettors should be keenly interested!
This year, there’s a clear favorite, and it might not be who you’d expect.
Odds to finish with the best record in the NFL (2016)
Green Bay Packers: 6/1
Yes, the best bet is the Green Bay Packers, who didn’t even win their division last year. You can basically ignore much of what happened to Green Bay last season; Jordy Nelson will be back as Aaron Rodgers’ top receiver. He’ll be joined by new tight end Jared Cook, giving the Packers a much better and deeper group of targets than they had last year, when Rodgers uncharacteristically struggled in the passing game.
Add in a seemingly fitter Eddie Lacy, who should be a real threat on the ground, and the Green Bay offense is primed to return to the upper echelons of the league.
In addition to the revitalized roster, Packers have the benefit of a soft schedule. They face the NFC East and the AFC South in their inter-division contests. Outside of their home-and-home with the rival Vikings, they only play three other playoff teams from last year. They have as good a chance as anyone to rack up 12 to 14 wins.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 15/2
With Tom Brady out for the first four games of the year, the Steelers emerge as the top option in the AFC. Like with the Packers, that’s partly due to a dynamic offense and partly due to a decent schedule. Tough division games against the Bengals and Ravens will be balanced out by softies against the Browns. Interdivision matchups with the NFC East and the AFC East are middle-of-the-road in terms of difficulty.
The real key for the Steelers will be health. The team was decimated by injuries last year and won’t be winning much if Ben Roethlisberger isn’t on the field. When the QB is healthy and flanked by WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell, though, Pittsburgh has the scariest offense in the NFL.
Bell may miss the start of the year due to suspension, but the team actually got on just fine without him at times last year. DeAngelo Williams proved to be a 1A option.
New England Patriots: 8/1
You already know this, but I’ll say it anyway for completeness’ sake: the Pats’ odds would be better but for the fact that Tom Brady will miss a quarter of the year. The untested Jimmy Garoppolo will lead the team against Arizona, Miami, Houston, and Buffalo to start the year.
But New England was able to survive an injury to Brady back in 2008, going 11-5 with Matt Cassel at the helm, and Garoppolo will be surrounded by one of the strongest rosters in the game. He’ll also be guided by the greatest football mind of this generation in Bill Belichick.
Interdivision games against the NFC West and AFC North are about as tough as they come, but count out the Patriots at your own risk. They’ve finished 12-4 for four straight years.
Seattle Seahawks: 9/1
The Seahawks might be the best team in the NFC, but they have a tougher road to hoe than the Packers. Their crossover with the AFC East is going to be challenging (especially a Week 10 game in Foxborough), and facing the NFC South won’t be as easy as previous years. Two tough games with division rival Arizona also loom large, as does a Week 14 visit to Green Bay.
They’re still the team to beat in the NFC West, though, and shouldn’t limp out of the gate like they did last year. Yes, Marshawn Lynch is retired, but every indication is that Thomas Rawls will fill his shoes nicely as the lead back. Doug Baldwin emerged as a legit WR1 last year, and Jimmy Graham should find a bigger role in the offense. Meanwhile, the defense keeps on crushing it year after year. This is a complete team that will have a good chance to win every time it takes the field.
Carolina Panthers: 9/1
Arizona Cardinals: 12/1
Kansas City Chiefs: 12/1
Minnesota Vikings: 14/1
Cincinnati Bengals: 14/1
Dallas Cowboys: 18/1
Denver Broncos: 18/1
Houston Texans: 25/1
Indianapolis Colts: 25/1
Oakland Raiders: 33/1
New York Giants: 40/1
Baltimore Ravens: 50/1
Buffalo Bills: 66/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 66/1
New York Jets: 75/1
Los Angeles Rams: 80/1
Miami Dolphins: 80/1
Washington Redskins: 80/1
Detroit Lions: 80/1
Chicago Bears: 80/1
Atlanta Falcons: 80/1
New Orleans Saints: 90/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 100/1
Philadelphia Eagles 100/1
San Diego Chargers: 100/1
Tennessee Titans: 150/1
San Francisco 49ers: 200/1
Cleveland Browns: 250/1
Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].