One of the first markets to go to press every year with online sports betting sites is: Super Bowl Futures. The odds for the season’s corresponding Super Bowl that all 32 teams at the beginning of their campaign aspire to reach and yearn to win. However, let’s face it, not all teams can win the coveted Lombardy Trophy, despite the odds that would suggest otherwise.
Some teams are perpetually deemed to be in contention, some are perpetually middling, while some just can’t seem to shed the longshot stigma. Amongst these are teams that spend excessively to improve, teams that don’t spend enough while hoping to still win, and teams that seem to be transfixed by a continuous stream of coaches and quarterbacks trundling down the conveyor belt never seeming to quite land the right ones or the right combination of the two. And so on.
The 2021 season is still four months away from its first kick-off in September but the league has just dropped the NFL schedule, giving bettors a comprehensive insight into what to expect over the course of the 18-weeks and 272 games scheduled for 2021-22. Naturally, this has heightened the excitement by several notches amongst fans, and pundits and experts are beginning to speculate in earnest, serving up way too early NFL predictions. Just as yours truly plans to do here…although with a bit of a twist. Instead of identifying the best bets to win Super Bowl LVI, the focus is going to be on teams to AVOID in the betting.
Here’s a list of FOUR teams to avoid in the betting with a few words on why bettors should fade these from early NFL picks.
1. Los Angeles Rams +1200
A lot is being made of the blockbuster trade between the Rams and Lions that had them blithely swapping quarterbacks in the offseason, in particular where the former is concerned. By all accounts, the Rams are deemed the biggest winners in the trade. Everyone is practically gushing at Matthew Stafford’s move to Los Angeles, confident in the veteran’s ability to make an immediate impact on the team.
In fact, the way Stafford’s move is met in the betting is not unlike the manner in which Tom Brady’s move to Tampa Bay was received last season, providing an instant surge on the NFL odds board. Now, that’s all well and good for the Rams and Stafford. The Rams are a solid team and Stafford is a good seasoned veteran in the game. Except there’s a caveat to be considered here nevertheless, the teeny, weeny difference between Stafford and Brady – only the keenest eye for detail would catch it – and that’s Brady was a proven champion six times over before leaving New England while Stafford has never even won a playoff game in his 12 seasons with the Lions, never mind reach the NFC Championship game or Super Bowl.
By any yardstick that’s a pretty big deal. To have never enjoyed success in the postseason isn’t something that can be easily overlooked. One can argue maybe that Stafford was a product of circumstance: he wasn’t with the best organisation, he never had the right coaching staff supporting him, and he didn’t always have the best team around him. And perhaps, there’s some truth to that. However, it doesn’t undo the 12 seasons of disappointment that absolutely weigh heavily on him. How he reconciles his past remains to be seen but to all intents and purposes he’s yet unproven in the postseason and that takes the shine off Los Angeles Super Bowl odds.
2. Cleveland Browns +1500
The Cleveland Browns were the surprise package of the 2020-21 NFL season hands down. In Kevin Stefanski’s first season as the head coach, the Browns reached heights that conjured up sepia-toned memories a bygone era for Cleveland’s fans who’ve been the laughing stock of the league ever since the team’s heyday came to an end. The Browns reached the divisional round in the playoffs after upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wildcard round.
Inasmuch as last season was a banner year, it brings with it high expectations too. Higher than they were last season as the Browns emerge amongst the Top 5 best bets in Super Bowl LVI betting markets. Whether the Browns can live up to these expectations remains to be seen. One thing is certain though, they’re in unchartered territory having to backup their 11-5-0 run in 2020-21 all the while facing a much tougher schedule than they faced last season. In fact, this year’s schedule makes last year’s look like a doddle.
3. Indianapolis Colts +2200
The Indianapolis Colts acquired Carson Wentz in the offseason from the Philadelphia Eagles, a move that seemed almost inevitable after Doug Pederson benched Wentz in favour of rookie quarterback Justin Hurts last December. Wentz had fallen out
of love with the City of Brotherly Love as his relationship with the organisation that drafted him No.3 overall in the 2015 draft and the fans had soured bitterly.
On paper, the move to the Colts makes sense for Wentz as he is reunited with Frank Reich with whom he worked in Philly and enjoyed a breakout season in 2017. Equally, the Colts get a quarterback that many NFL experts and pundits continue to regard highly despite a conspicuous decline in performance over the last three years. Going back to 2017 actually, when Nick Foles, taking over from an injured Wentz, upstaged him by leading the Eagles to Super Bowl glory.
Whether this reunion works is up in the air, but if it doesn’t Wentz will have no more excuses for his declining performance. The Colts are a very good team with a respected coaching staff at the helm. Philip Rivers led the Colts to the postseason in his one and only term with the team in 2020, doing so in spite of a global pandemic and the challenges the unprecedented situation brought. Thus, any failure by Wentz, and you can bet the blame will be laid firmly at his feet, if not expose (or prove) his shortcomings as a competitor.
Lack of killer instinct is something that’s already being brandished about Wentz considering how poorly he’s reacted to having to look over his shoulders at both Saint Nick and then later Jalen Hurts. Poorly is putting it mildly though. Compared to Aaron Rodgers who despite facing a similar situation with Jordan Love waving a clipboard on the side lines went on to win the MVP award and lead the Packers to the NFC Championship game, Wentz’ account was nothing short of a spectacular practically implosion. Hard to buy what he’s selling as such.
Dallas Cowboys +3000
The Dallas Cowboys are tipped as a middling team but bettors all too often flock to them in the betting. Not for nothing are they known as “America’s football team” and one of the most popular teams to bet on within NFL betting circles.
In theory, Dak Prescott and his star-studded cast of players, along with a respected coaching staff and organisation, strike an attractive pose as one of several value best bets to spot. The question is whether theory and reality will meet in the coming season. Similar such high hopes were trotted out last year until Prescott’s awful injury derailed the Cowboys’ 2020 campaign and turned newly hired head coach Mike McCarthy’s first season into a forgettable one.
Talent aside, one can’t help but consider the fact that the lack of continuity puts Prescott and McCarthy – and in turn the Cowboys as a whole – at a huge disadvantage. Not only was 2020 disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but Prescott’s ankle injury has side lined him for months. He even needed a repeat surgery late last year, thereby pushing back his recovery. There are way too many unknowns surrounding the Cowboys to make them a reliable bet to put any stock into this early.
Super Bowl LVI Odds
- Kansas City Chiefs+500
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers+650
- Buffalo Bills+1200
- Los Angeles Rams+1200
- San Francisco 49ers+1200
- Baltimore Ravens+1500
- Cleveland Browns+1500
- Green Bay Packers+1500
- Denver Broncos+2000
- Indianapolis Colts+2200
- New England Patriots+2400
- Los Angeles Chargers+2800
- New Orleans Saints+2800
- Seattle Seahawks+2800
- Dallas Cowboys+3000
- Miami Dolphins+3000
- Arizona Cardinals+3300
- Tennessee Titans+3300
- Pittsburgh Steelers+3500
- Atlanta Falcons+4500
- Minnesota Vikings+4500
- Washington Football Team+4500
- Chicago Bears+5000
- Carolina Panthers+6000
- Las Vegas Raiders+6000
- New York Giants+6000
- Philadelphia Eagles+6600
- Cincinnati Bengals+8000
- Jacksonville Jaguars+10000
- New York Jets+10000
- Detroit Lions+15000
- Houston Texans+15000