Who will win the 2019 NFL Super Bowl?
Sept.6 will signify the start of the 2018 season with the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons. Just shy of five months later, the season will conclude with Super Bowl LII in Atlanta. Which team has the best chance to get there and win it is the subject of much debate, but equally important to bettors is sleuthing out wagering value.
Here are the top 5 betting choices with less than a week to opening night:
- New England +625
- Philadelphia +900
- Los Angeles +1000
- Pittsburgh +1050
- Minnesota +1250
Most critical factor: Value
Let’s get right to the crux of the discussion: when you take a long-term prop bet like this, value becomes even more of an obsession than it would playing week to week. A lot of fortuitous things have to happen for any team to make the Super Bowl, so getting short-changed is just unacceptable.
For me, this means, I’ll not be playing the Patriots at +625 when they have a QB old enough to have fathered many of his counterparts in the league. Similarly, I’ll let less imaginative players take the Philadelphia Eagles to repeat at +900 when a QB controversy is now thrust upon the organization, and did you see that offense in the preseason? Uninspiring.
So which teams are inherently more interesting? Among the top five betting choices, Minnesota looks to be a pretty square price at +1250. The Vikings had a nasty defense a year ago and signed free agent QB Kirk Cousins to a massive contract in the offseason. There’s no reason to believe the Vikings won’t be in the hunt every step of the way in 2018 as they are built to endure the rigors of the season as well as anyone. It’s also worth considering that it took an epic meltdown for the Vikes to lose to the eventual Super Bowl champs in the playoffs a year ago.
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Looking just outside the main contenders, the New Orleans Saints (+1300), Green Bay Packers (+1400) and Jacksonville Jaguars (+1600) all have a live look. The Saints and Packers share one of the most precious commodoties an NFL francise can have as both are led by veteran, star QBs. Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees may be slightly outside the prime of their careers, but both are still plenty capable of leading their teams to the Super Bowl. Green Bay and New Orleans each have a formidable cast of offensive and defensive talent around these star QB’s and must be considered contenders.
As for Jacksonville, I really like their defense and run game. Outside of Minnesota, no defense in the league compared to Jacksonville’s statistically a year ago, but Blake Bortles is still their starting QB. Even still, it’s worth remembering that the Ravens won the Super Bowl way back in 2001 with Trent Dilfer behind center. If Bortles can be as good as Trent Dilfer – a highly reasonable goal – I don’t think it’s unwise to make a wager on the Jags to win the Super Bowl.
The pundits are wrong – really wrong – every once in a while. Consider the 1999 St. Louis Rams won the Lombardi Trophy after starting the season as +30,000 underdogs. A couple of years later, the New England Patriots started their dynasty in earnest by winning the 2001 Super Bowl despite starting the year at +6000. While it’s hard to catch lightening in a bottle, what do these examples have in common? If you answered “great and unexpectedly great quarterback play,” you’d be on the right course.
So which unsung NFL starter seems ready to emerge as one of the league’s better QB’s? And, more importantly, perhaps, is which one has enough talent around him to make a surprising impact on the league?
I’m rolling the dice and saying that Lamar Jackson will be a star QB in the NFL; the only variable may be how long it takes him to reach that status. Ostensibly, he seems to be number 3 on the Ravens depth chart, but I don’t think the aging Joe Flacco or injury-riddled/ineffective Robert Griffin III will stand in the rookie’s way for long. He’s just that talented and dynamic. Thus, the Ravens at +4000 look like a reasonable longshot play.
For another +4000 play with potential, I’ll offer the Chicago Bears. Mitch Trubisky will be much-improved after learning the ropes last year and the Bears acquired some key free agent talent at WR over the offseason. Trubisky won’t have to be great as the Bears defense is plenty good enough to keep the team in games.
Picking a longshot – or any shot – to win five months in advance is certainly challenging, but it’s a wagering proposition well worth its salt. With less than a week to the NFL season, do the reasearch, find the value and dive in with confidence!
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