People were already talking potential betting favorites for Super Bowl LIII as soon as Super Bowl LII wrapped up.
To no one’s surprise, the New England Patriots appeared as the frontrunners in most sportsbooks. From there, the Los Angeles Rams are a close second favorite, which isn’t surprising given how far they got with such a young team last season. It’s from the batch of third-placed favorites that the eventual champion will likely emerge.
The Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers, and Houston Texans are all in close consideration for a futures wager. Basically, a repeat of last year’s postseason.
Out of these bottleneck teams, the Saints look to be one of the strongest. They had the #2 offense in the country last season behind veteran QB Drew Brees. Their defense also came in clutch towards the end of the season, when it matters most. If not for the Minnesota Miracle, New Orleans would have been in the NFC Championship.
It would be foolish to count out the Philadelphia Eagles. The defending champions retained most of their roster in the offseason and will have starting QB Carson Wentz back in the lineup for the new season. It is difficult to repeat as champions in the NFL, but this team could have the drive to do so.
Another contender to watch is the Jacksonville Jaguars. This season will be a chance to show if their last season was a fluke or if they are a real threat in the AFC. Their defense is solid with CB Jalen Ramsey leading the pack. The true question lies with the inconsistent Blake Bortles at QB.
The Houston Texans were incredibly dangerous behind QB Deshaun Watson. In just his first season, Watson was on track to a possible record rookie debut if not for his injury. With Watson back in the rotation and a strong defensive asset added in Tyrann Mathieu, the Texans will be a strong pick.
In terms of project picks, by which we mean teams that went through a radical change in the offseason and have a lot to prove, we’re looking at the Cleveland Browns. The Browns went 0-16 last year, but they have essentially reloaded the entire roster with WR Jarvis Landry, RB Carlos Hyde, QB Tyrod Taylor and the 2018 NFL Draft #1 overall pick in QB Baker Mayfield.
The Browns have the tools to, at the very least, improve upon last year’s record. Some analysts have them as a potential Super Bowl contender, though they have to build up chemistry and find out what works for them.
In the AFC, the Pats remain at the top of the sportsbooks. In the NFC, the LA Rams take the #1 spot. This could be a potential Super Bowl LII matchup, but there are plenty of opposing teams with stronger cases of actually getting there.