Wednesday, 21 August 2019 13:15 EST
Ah, yes – the incredible, inexorable and irresistible pull of the preseason NFL team proposition bet! Particularly alluring is the siren’s call of the Super Bowl winner prop, which all but the sharpest of sharps should admit is essentially gambling. Who can resist throwing a few moneys at one’s favorite team or a nice longshot that banks a great return and potentially viralizes the story? After all, some NFL bettors covered the Philadelphia Eagles at 40/1 and even 50/1 prior to the 2017 season…
So, sure, NFLbets’ll be wagering on the Super Bowl LIV winner, but you damn skippy we won’t be betting the house on any team. The odds table running below lists odds from leading online sportsbook My Bookie and odds offered at the average Las Vegas sportsbook, respectively. Note that Vegas offerings are far less fluid than their online counterparts’: Lines on the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns have all seen noticeable shrinkage since these odds first dropped in February. (Odds up-to-date as of August 20, 2019.)
Odds to win Super Bowl LIV
Kansas City Chiefs, 6/1; 6/1
New England Patriots, 6/1; 8/1
New Orleans Saints, 9/1; 8/1
Los Angeles Rams, 12/1; 8/1
Cleveland Browns, 12/1; 20/1
Indianapolis Colts, 12/1; 20/1
Philadelphia Eagles, 13/1; 20/1
Los Angeles Chargers, 15/1; 14/1
Chicago Bears, 16/1; 14/1
Dallas Cowboys, 20/1; 16/1
Green Bay Packers, 22/1; 16/1
Pittsburgh Steelers, 25/1; 14/1
Minnesota Vikings, 25/1; 16/1
Atlanta Falcons, 30/1; 40/1
Houston Texans, 33/1; 20/1
Carolina Panthers, 35/1; 60/1
Seattle Seahawks, 37/1; 30/1
San Francisco 49ers, 40/1; 50/1
Baltimore Ravens, 45/1; 20/1
Jacksonville Jaguars, 50/1; 40/1
New York Jets, 70/1; 80/1
Tennessee Titans, 90/1; 60/1
Denver Broncos, 100/1; 60/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 100/1; 80/1
Buffalo Bills, 100/1; 100/1
Detroit Lions, 100/1; 100/1
Oakland Raiders, 125/1; 100/1
New York Giants, 145/1; 40/1
Arizona Cardinals, 150/1; 100/1
Washington, 150/1; 100/1
Cincinnati Bengals, 180/1; 100/1
Miami Dolphins, 200/1; 300/1
Onto the takes – and tips!
Kansas City Chiefs: Best hedge on the board
NFLbets begins the wagering with MyBookie’s co-favorites and Vegas’s odds-on favorite. Normally, we’d eschew the top pick on the Super Bowl table because a) the odds are too short and b) examples of underdogs taking the title are rife.
In 2019, however, the top-dog Chiefs are going off at 6/1, more than reasonable for a team that appears to be on the classic ’Bowl-winning trajectory. RBs Spencer Ware and Kareem Hunt are gone, taking 1096 yards rushing along; after a fairly brutal 2018, Carlos Hyde joined Kansas City this offseason and … ah, never mind – we’re talking about Patrick Mahomes’s team here and the Chiefs ranked just 16th in rushing attempts last season. And check this out: How many changes did the Chiefs make on the offensive side this past offseason? Zero.
Meanwhile, the new defensive coordinator is apparent upgrade Steve Spagnuolo (formerly of the New York Giants), though quite honestly Mike Pence would have been a certain improvement for a D ranked dead-last or dead-penultimate by most key statistical measures.
With an average rushing attack and a pretty bad defense, Andy Reid still got Mahomes & the boys to the AFC championship game. If one contender doesn’t regress in 2019, this is likely that team. We’ll say take the Kansas City Chiefs at 6/1, thereby allowing us five other bets with the opportunity to still break even on K.C.
Chargers, Saints, Cowboys: Don’t lose money on these three
Beyond the top two, the NFL bettor considering the Super Bowl LIV winner prop soon lands upon the New Orleans Saints at 9/1 (or 8/1 in Vegas), Los Angeles Chargers at 15/1 (14/1), and the Dallas Cowboys at 16/1 (20/1) – bad bets one and all, simply put.
First up are the Saints, whose darling status twice crested last season, first when 173-year old QB Drew Brees broke some individual record on Monday Night Football and later when a blind referee screwed them in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game. But just take a closer look at some of the stats as 2018 wore on…
In his final seven starts last season including the two playoff games, Brees passed for over 300 yards just once and couldn’t manage to break 200 in four more; in those game, New Orleans managed to win five SU while going just 2-5 ATS. Note that Brees will be taking snaps from a new center, i.e. free-agent signing Marcus Henry from the Seattle Seahawks and, while TE Jared Cook and RB Latavious Murray *might* make an impact, the clever bettor will definitely expect regression to the mean from this team.
As for that on-again/off-again defense of ’18, some 10 signings in free agency spun forecasting this side of the ball in New Orleans the purview of chaos theorists. We’ll be staying away from the Saints.
Did we say “regression to the mean”? The 2018 Los Angeles Chargers were statistically freakish in many many ways, but off-the-charts bananas was their home-away split. In games played outside Los Angeles, the Chargers were a ridiculous 9-1 SU, including wins at Seattle, Kansas City, Denver and Baltimore. And who knows what might’ve happened in the divisional playoff in New England if the team hadn’t jetted from East Coast to West and back inside of a week after playing the Ravens. Can the Chargers be expected to reproduce those particular results? Unlikely to say the least.
On the plus side for Chargers backers is an easier schedule than in ’18: Beyond getting four ((((wins)))) games against the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos, NFLbets figures these guys are looking at four (or five, depending on how you feel about the Houston Texans): vs Indianapolis in the opener, at Chicago in week 8, and the two games against Kansas City – L.A. could even win the AFC West with a week 17 upset, but home field means little to these Chargers. We’re not feeling it.
As for the Dallas Cowboys … come on now. Yes, NFLbets realizes that the Ezekiel Elliott holdout melodrama is exactly that; Zeke will surely rejoin the Cowboys in due time, he’ll be productive barring an early injury due to lack of offseason training and will do amazing things. The promotion of Kellen Moore from QB coach to OC might even prove a boon to Elliott et al in getting Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper to play all-star seasons – but who outside of Cowboys fandom believes that’s enough?
Bears, Colts, Rams: Three bets we like more than the Chiefs
Odds on the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams at 12/1 (8/1), Chicago Bears at 12/1 (20/1) and Indianapolis Colts at 12/1 (20/1) all make NFLbets ask the same question: What are we missing here?
Okay, we’ll admit betting on the Colts at 12/1 is a bit dodgy, what with every month bringing news of a brand new injury to QB Andrew Luck; on the other (hopefully uninjured) hand, newly-acquired Chandarick West and WR Devin Funchess certainly can’t hurt an offense that was top-10 overall in passing yardage and overall yardage. Improvements to the skill positions plus losses of no full-time starter in free agency would be enough for a good value bet, but let us not forget that this team finished last season on a 10-2 SU run. Take the Indianapolis Colts at 12/1 – and absolutely definitely positively at 20/1.
And the Bears at that same 12/1 (20/1)? Bizarre. How did everyone forget Cody Parkey’s double doink to cost Chicago a deep playoff run after a 12-4 SU regular season with no losses of more than seven points. In the offseason, the Bears lost one key player – FS Adrian Amos – of a potential six from 2018’s world-beating, record-threatening, straight-up scary defense. And if you think a potential all-time great Khalil Mack can’t help win enough games in the days of point-a-minute offense to at least get his team to the Super Bowl, just ask Aaron Donald what he thinks.
And speaking (writing?) of Aaron Donald and his L.A. Rams, shouldn’t the conference defending champs be getting slightly more respect, particularly in Vegas at 12/1 odds…? Bettors at My Bookie have dragged down those odds from 10/1, but nevertheless in both spheres the, likesay, overhyped and downward-trending Saints are outdoing the Rams.
So … it’s all about Jared Goff, right? And sure, after that 105-point game against the Chiefs on MNF in week 11, the Rams offense got criminally low-watt in managing just 17.5 ppg in five games against playoff teams. Fair enough, but Goff’s favorite target Cooper Kupp is back after missing the last half of ’18 – and regardless of public perception of their QB, the Rams offense was top-3 in overall scoring, rushing TDs, first downs, yards per pass attempt, yards per rushing attempt and points per drive.
For 2019, the Rams defense looks just as impressive, as in-season acquisition Dante Fowler was extended and again disappointing Ndamokung Suh was not. We’d advise simply forgetting the name of the Los Angeles QB and take the Rams at 8/1 or longer.
Seahawks and Jets: A longshot and a really longshot
A tsunami of gushing about Bill Belichick has apparently swamped Pete Carroll’s reputation: Carroll fairly well rose to the consensus rank as no. 2 among head coaches after his Seattle Seahawks dismantled the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII – and he’s still got his Lombardi-winning all-star QB at the top of his game. Indeed, Carroll and Russell Wilson have made the Seahawks, even in the post-Legion of Boom era, a model of consistency in the NFC. In Wilson’s seven seasons at the helm, Seattle’s yet to have a losing season, making the playoffs six times.
The Seahawks have been undergoing something of a slow roster churn a la Belichick’s Patriots over the past four seasons or so; the departure of Earl Thomas represents the last of outgoing all-stars. Last season’s abominable 51 sacks allowed has got to improve with newly acquired guards Mike Iupati and Marcus Martin on the OL for 2019.
Now, Carroll & Co. still have the L.A. Rams and San Francisco 49ers to contend with before 37/1 odds to win Super Bowl LIV, while the playoffs have proven a stumbling block for Carroll’s ’Hawks since losing to the New England Patriots and the departure of Marshawn Lynch, with just a 2-3 SU/ATS postseason mark.
But say the Rams regress and the Niners aren’t quite up to the hype, so the Seahawks take the NFC West. Seattle’s famed homefield advantage – Carroll ‘n’ Russell are 5-0 SU/ATS in home playoff games – get them through one round, even two. (Heck, 12-4 could easily bag the no. 1 seed in the conference this season.) Imagine the season culminating in Carroll vs. Andy Reid with two minutes remaining. At 37/1 odds, we’ll take the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl and live that fantasy for a couple months at least…
Meanwhile, those wanting a serious stretch might consider covering the New York Jets at 70/1. NFLbets realizes such a wager is made in the face of loads of unknowns, chiefly that of Sam Darnold making The Leap, which may even be limited as the dude continues to resemble Vinny “Vinterception” Testaverde 2.0. Questions remain about the viability of LeVeon Bell (though we’d strongly hedge with the philosophy that Bell’ll rip shit up for the Jets in 2019) and the effect of losing Avery Williamson from last year’s 29th-“best” defense. Geez, these guys went 4-12 in ’18.
We’re not nutty enough to suggest covering the Jets to win the AFC East, mind you, but NFLbets will definitely be covering these guys to make the playoffs and you know what they say about anything happening during said playoffs; for confirmation consult last year’s Bears. Or Saints. Or Chiefs. Or…
So go ahead and join NFLbets in throwing a few moneys at a longshot – take the New York Jets at 70/1.