NFL Super Bowl 54 Futures Preview
Which teams are good bets to win Super Bowl 54?
Four teams currently have Super Bowl odds sitting at less than +1000 and it’s no surprise that they are all teams that made it to their conference championships last season. The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots come in as the betting favorites at +700. While New England will be without TE Rob Gronkowski who retired in the offseason, they should easily walk into the playoffs given how weak the AFC East projects to be.
The Chiefs narrowly lost to New England in the AFC Championship and are a close 2nd in Super Bowl 54 odds at +800. Kansas City’s offense will have a new look this season without Kareem Hunt in the backfield and they may also be without WR Tyreek Hill whose status is up in the air following his off the field issues. It will be interesting to see how defenses adjust for QB Patrick Mahomes after having a year of tape to study on him and a difficult divisional battle with the Chargers make the Chiefs a tough sell for me at their current number.
The Rams and the Saints come in next at +900 and both of these teams are the clear class of the NFC. New Orleans showed off a vastly improved defense in 2018 and they should yet again win the NFC South as long as Drew Brees is still performing at an MVP level as he has for the last decade. Los Angeles was the breakout team of the league last season, led by 2nd-year head coach Sean McVay. Regression could be due from the Rams in 2019. Bill Belichick may have given the blueprint to counter McVay’s offensive scheme, and there are serious concerns over Todd Gurley’s long term health.
While the Rams can certainly still be a great team without Gurley, they will have to now play a first-place schedule that will include games against an improved NFC West after offseason improvements from the 49ers and Cardinals. With that being said, they should still roll to the playoffs behind the most talented 53-man roster in the NFC.
The 2nd tier of teams in Super Bowl 54 futures odds is the most intriguing range for several reasons. First off, the Browns are by far the most overvalued team on this list at +1400. While I like the Browns to show significant improvement in 2019 in year 2 of the Baker Mayfield era, there is no way you can bet on a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 2007 to win the Super Bowl at +1400. Cleveland is a team that needs to first build a winning culture before they are ready to contend for a title and you have to ask yourself, can you see them beating out the Patriots, Chiefs, Chargers, Colts, Steelers, and Ravens in the AFC? If you like the Browns, then the more prudent bet is taking them to win the AFC North at +125.
I’m personally most interested in the Colts (+1400) and Chargers (+1500) in this range. Indianapolis was one of the most improved teams in the league last year behind a healthy Andrew Luck and one of the best offensive lines in the league. Many casual NFL fans remember the Colts as historically having a poor defense, but this no longer the case. Linebacker Darius Leonard is already one of the best defensive players in the entire league and this team looks primed to win an AFC South division that doesn’t feature a clear top dog.
The Chargers might be my favorite Super Bowl futures bet on the entire board at +1500. They are lead by an experienced veteran quarterback in Philip Rivers and have what projects to be one of the best defenses in the league led by Derwin James, Joey Bosa, and Melvin Ingram. From a talent perspective, the Chargers may have the deepest 53-man roster in NFL, but their biggest challenge will likely be contending with the Chiefs in their division. With that in mind, I love the idea of stacking a Chargers 'to win the AFC West' bet at +175 with a 'to win the AFC' at +700.
The +2000 to +3000 range in Super Bowl futures is loaded with teams that while having some talent, will have to overcome some roster holes to have a chance at winning the Super Bowl. The Packers at +2000 and the Vikings at +2200 are the two teams that are standing out the most to me at this point. The Packers should be improved following the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy whose play calling could no longer keep up with modern NFL trends. The biggest question mark with Green Bay may be the health of QB Aaron Rodgers, who has missed games in each of the last two seasons with various injuries.
The Vikings are also interesting at +2200 and I’m projecting that QB Kirk Cousins will be improved in his 2nd year in Minnesota. Add in a fully healthy Dalvin Cook to go with Pro-Bowl wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs and they could have one of the most lethal offenses in the league. Sure, both of these teams will have to contend with not only each other and the Bears in the NFC North, but both of them have the roster talent to make a run.
The Cowboys' Super Bowl odds at +2000 is overvalued, which is not surprising given that they are a very popular public team. Dallas will compete with the Eagles for the NFC East title and given their current odds, I see more value on Dallas to win the division at +140. For me, +2000 is an unbettable number for a team that does not have an elite quarterback and has shown a long track record of playing flat in big games under head coach Jason Garrett.
The rest of the teams in this range don’t move the needle too much. Pittsburgh missed the playoffs last season and lost Antonio Brown in the offseason. While Brown might have been a problem in the locker room, you can’t tell me that the Steelers offense is better off without him or Le’Veon Bell in the lineup.
The Falcons were one of the most injury-ridden teams in the league last season and their defense should be improved this season, but they simply don’t have the roster depth to contend with the Saints or Rams in the NFC barring injuries. I would much rather see them in the +3000 range.
The Ravens have a quarterback in Lamar Jackson that while electric with his feet, simply has not shown even close to the throwing ability for them to be considered at +2500, while the Seahawks and Texans have too many holes in their roster to put them into consideration for me.
The +3300 to +6600 range features some teams that may garner some attention from bettors who have a high risk tolerance. The 49ers should be better than they were in 2018 following the return of Jimmy Garoppolo back at quarterback, but +3300 is overvalued for a team that has struggled on both ends of the ball over the last few seasons and has a starting quarterback that while talented, has yet to prove that he can play at an elite level over a 16-game season.
The one team that is catching my eye just a little bit is the Panthers at +5000. We are just a few seasons removed from Carolina being in the Super Bowl and we have seen Cam Newton play at an MVP level before. Their defense is still led by All-Pro LB Luke Kuechly and RB Christian McCaffery is a star in the making. +5000 is a value and I think that they should be closer to the +3500 number that we are seeing with the Jaguars and 49ers.
The Buccaneers should be one of the more improved teams in the league this season following the acquisition of head coach Bruce Arians. However, taking a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 11 years to win the Super Bowl is a losing proposition.
Maybe Next Year
None of the teams in this tier are bettable for the Super Bowl, but I expect that some brave lads will still place a wager on the Raiders at +7500 following a strong offseason. The Redskins may also catch some eyes at +10000, but I believe that a better futures bet for Washington is taking them to win the NFC East at +800. The Cardinals should be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season and rookie QB Kyler Murray could electrify the league with his athleticism, but you are flushing money down the toilet with a Super Bowl bet on Arizona, even at +12500 odds.
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