LAS VEGAS--Super Bowl LIII is in the books, but it’s not too early to look ahead to Super Bowl LIV as it’s less than a year away on Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Betting has already been open for two weeks in states where sports betting is now legal. As of Monday afternoon the Patriots, Rams, Saints and Chiefs are all tied for favoritism at 7-1. There doesn’t seem to be any value in tying up your money for nearly a year at those odds (especially since it’s unlikely those teams’ odds will change much before the start of next season in September).
If we’re going to find anything worth betting now, we have to look a little farther down the list, though we don’t want to go too far because even though it’s possible to go from worst to first in a division in today’s NFL, it’s much harder to make a serious case for the teams at the bottom as they’re more likely to be “a year away” (at least…and, yes, Jets fans, we’re looking at you, even though some dreamers apparently bet them at 150-1 as William Hill has lowered them to 125-1).
On another side not, it’s funny how the Browns have gone from the laughingstock of the league to now being everyone’s darlings. Well, maybe not everyone, but they have had their future-books odds pounded more than any other team as they’re down to 30-1 after opening at 50-1.
So, let’s look at for the top value play in each conference that I believe are worthy of a future-book bet at this time, or at least to keep an eye on while continuing to monitor the futures during the off-season.
AFC: HOUSTON TEXANS (28-1)
The Texans were my value bet this past season. I felt like an idiot with their 0-3 start, but then my pre-season bets of 22-1 and 25-1 (plus another bet at 60-1 after they won their first game) looked a lot better when they turned that into a nine-game winning streak before having their season end in the wild-card round against the Colts. I’m firing back on them due to a lesson I learned in horse racing: I often would lose on a horse only to see them win a race or two later (at bigger odds) and I realized I was correct in seeing their potential but was just a little too early. I feel the same way with the Texans as I believe I have the horses with a defense with a ton of playmakers (J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Benardrick McKinney, Tyrann Mathieu) and an offense built around QB Deshaun Watson (certainly still a work in progress but with superstar upside) and WR DeAndre Hopkins. I’m on the Texans regardless, but there’s also a rumor of the Texans perhaps getting Le’Veon Bell. If that happens, Houston’s odds will plummet so I advise betting now.
NFC: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (18-1)
The Eagles are the NFC East’s most complete team whether it’s Carson Wentz back at QB - as expected - or Nick Foles. Despite suffering a Super Bowl hangover (only the Patriots seem to have the secret antidote), they still made it back to the playoffs, disposed of the up-and-coming Bears and then led the Saints 14-0 in the divisional playoffs before letting that slip away. The Eagles should be right in the mix again as they aren’t likely to lose many key pieces of their core to free agency. Just one year removed from being world champions, I can’t see books raising the Eagles’ odds above 20-1, but shop around as I do see other books at 20-1 so it might pay to wait a little.