For all you current and future gamblers, let's run down the best Super Bowl bets at this point in the season. I wrote this article a few days ago, and I refuse to use the updated odds because then I have to rewrite the entire article. So, I apologize if the numbers have changed.
Let’s immediately take out every teams that have no chance: Arizona, Carolina, Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, Seattle, St. Louis.
Now remember, the key is to look for the best values. The team you pick doesn’t necessarily need to win the Super Bowl. They just need to get close enough where you can start hedging and guarantee some money coming into your bank account. With that said, I’m taking out the three teams with the highest odds (New England 4:1, Packers 5:2, and Baltimore 7:1), because I just don’t like getting that little return on what is a long shot for every team at this point.
Before I get to my rankings, I want to point out things I’m looking for.
Quarterback play: The average fan will split quarteback into two groups: those who can win a Super Bowl, and those who will never win a Super Bowl. The first group is made up of Brady, Rogers, Big Ben, and few others while the second is made up of Jason Campbell, Hasselbeck, Chad Henne, Kyle Orton and hundreds more. However, I think there is a third group that no one ever talks about: Quartebacks who are capable of getting hot for a few months and stealing a Super Bowl. Think Eli Manning. In order to find the most value, I look for these high-potential inconsistent quarterbacks.
Dominant pass rusher: If you’re going deep into the playoffs, you’re going to play against the top QBs. Everyone knows the best way to beat those types of QBs is to get pressure on them. Clay Matthews was just as valuable as Aaron Rodgers last postseason.
Running backs are overrated: Yes, you do need a threat in the running game, but an average running game will suffice. Star running backs just don’t seem to ever win Super Bowls.
Let’s get on with the rankings. In reverse order.
(Just missed the cut: San Franciso 15:1 – potential 1st round bye, but I have strict rule to never bet on Alex Smith)
5) Philadelphia Eagles 20:1 – These odds would be better, if it weren’t for Philadelphia being so hyped in the pre-season. I don’t really like their team, but there is no denying the talent. I think they actually matchup really well with the Packers and Saints with all of their cornerbacks. The way to beat the Eagles is to hit them in the mouth and run it right up the middle. Brees and Rodgers like to spread it out a bit more, and don’t have the most intimidating rushing attack. I’m skeptical of the Eagles even making the playoffs, but if they do, I think they are a very dangerous team. Also, Trent Cole (when he gets healthy) is an absolute beast.
4) Houston Texans: 20:1 – Edit: I forgot Mario Williams is out for the season. This is now a terrible bet. Let's roll the dice on St. Louis at 1000:1 odds.
3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 40:1 – Josh Freeman has an incredible amount of talent, and for some reason only plays like it in crunch time. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m a believer. I actually put him in the “will win a Super Bowl” category. They certainly have issues, but out of all the teams I thought could conceivably win, they had the longest odds. Blount is my type of playoff back (not a flashy guy, but converts those crucial 4th and 1s and 3rd and 2s). Think they’re D is pretty solid. If we played this season 40 times, do the Bucs pull out one Super Bowl? I say yes, and they would do it as a wild card team.
2) New Orleans Saints 12:1 – My Super Bowl favorites. Secretly the best offseason with the additions of Sproles and Kreutz while suring up that defensive line. I think Sean Payton is the best playcaller in the game (and the toughest!), I still love Mark Ingram, they have a star in the making at tight end, and the defense is a lot better than you think. What concerns me? I actually worry a little about Drew Brees. He was spectacular in their Super Bowl run, but I think he’s taken a step back since then. He definitely didn’t end the year strong last year, and he’s had a few shaky performances this year as well. If he gets it together (I think he will), then I think 12:1 is a steal.
1) Dallas Cowboys 30:1 – This is not a joke. Seriously. Stop laughing. The Cowboys have serious talent. They have the best receiver duo in the NFL (with Wes Welker/Aaron Hernandez being the only argument I’ll listen too) in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Arguably the best defensive player in the NFL in Demarcus Ware and a defense that did a surprisingly great job against the Pats. An improving offensive line with a rookie tackle who will only get better as the year goes on. I like Felix Jones more than most (yes, I’m biased). Jason Witten is as solid as they come. Jerry Jones has been relatively quiet for once. So what’s the issue? How are these odds so long?
The Romocoaster. I bashed this guy for years. I grew up in Arkansas where everyone loved the Cowboys, so I passionately rooted against him. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see someone fail. All the arguments that are made against him were my arguments I made for years. So I get what you’re saying. But be honest….weren’t we saying all these same things about Eli before he won? That he threw interceptions at the worst moments? That he may have thrown for a ton of yards, but he just couldn’t make the important plays when it mattered most? Has the hate on Romo gone too far? Do the Cowboys really have the same odds as the John Beck-led Redskins and the Matt Ryan-led Falcons, and worse odds than Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mark Sanchez, and Eli Manning (his type don’t win Super Bowls twice. Plus, look at that Schedule). Why are we so sure Joe Flacco can win a Super Bowl? Are you telling me that if we played this season from here on out 30 times, the Cowboys wouldn’t win once? Sure they would lose several of them in horrific fashion, but not every time. I think the Romocoaster is the perfect nickname, because it reminds us that he does have the potential to play at an extremely high level. If he can just stay high enough for long enough in January, then I can bet the house on the Patriots to beat the Cowboys in the Super Bowl, and I'll guarantee that I win some money either way. Win-Win.