Odds to Win Super Bowl LII
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The Super Bowl odds are out, and here’s a look at some of our favorite bets…
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: There are folks out there who already have money on the Patriots to win it all again next year, and you can hardly blame them. With six straight appearances in the AFC Championship game, the timeless duo of head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady simply doesn’t take a year off from title contention, a guarantee that no other franchise can offer. The Patriots will find a way to compete for the Lombardi Trophy once again. Remember, Gronkowski and LB Jamie Collins could have been considered the Pats’ best offensive and defensive players, respectively, before this past season, and New England went ahead and won a Super Bowl without either of them on the field. And all they’ve done is add studs like WR Brandin Cooks and CB Stephon Gilmore to an already incredible roster.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS: There were moments last season—a Week 4 blowout of the Chiefs, a Wild Card Round beatdown of the Dolphins—when the Steelers’ offense looked at least as good as the New England and Atlanta units that thrilled in the Super Bowl. And with the trifecta of QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell the fold, there’s no reason they can’t be the league’s best offense next year. Roethlisberger’s age and the wear-and-tear he’s taken over his career are starting to become a concern, but Bell and Brown appear to be in peak physical condition and have become smarter players as their careers have gone on. If a receiving corps that suffered from injury and suspension is adequately reinvigorated, things will open up even more. There’s reason for optimism on defense, too, where CB Artie Burns and S Sean Davis made great strides while starting in the secondary as rookies.
CINCINNATI BENGALS: After finishing 12-4 and making the playoffs as the AFC’s No. 3 seed in 2015, the Bengals saw things fall apart in 2016, stumbling to a 6-9-1 finish. While the word “fluke” wouldn’t accurately describe Cincinnati’s record—they did, indeed, play poorly—there’s reason to believe a turnaround could be in order for 2017. The NFL’s 16-game season presents a notoriously small sample size, and the Bengals lost six games by a single score last season. They had made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons entering last year, suggesting that this Cincy roster has another run left in it. They certainly have talent at key spots, as WR A.J. Green, DT Geno Atkins and DE Carlos Dunlap are among the very best in the league at their respective positions. The Bengals also added studs like RB Joe Mixon and WR John Ross in the draft. Much of their fate will ultimately come down to QB Andy Dalton and his performance—his passer rating dropped from 106.3 in 2015 to 91.8 in 2016. If he (and the guys around him) can push that number back up, the Bengals should be in playoff contention once again.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: It’s easy to take QB Drew Brees for granted, because his 2016 stats (70.0 CMP%, 5,208 yards, 37 TDs) are the type of ridiculous numbers he puts up every damn year. At 38 years old, Brees would seem to be on the edge of at least slowing down, but he has shown almost no signs of doing so. For that reason alone, it’s a safe bet that the Saints offense, which led the entire league in total yardage this past season, will keep rolling in 2017. It certainly helps that the front office has put plenty of help around Brees: WR Michael Thomas went over 1,100 yards and caught nine touchdowns in his rookie season, and WR Willie Snead and TE Coby Fleener were weapons in the passing game, too. RB Mark Ingram rushed for over 1,000 yards and the team added future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson into the mix. Of course, the perpetual concern in New Orleans is, well, the entire defense. While the unit still struggled on the season as a whole in 2016, they showed improvement as the year went on, ranking 10th in total defense from Weeks 10 through 16. Rookie DT Sheldon Rankins made a huge difference, and more young talent can help the D improve further. If it rises to the point of being merely average, New Orleans could beat anyone.