The Philadelphia Eagles almost did it.
Before last season, they were between 25-to-1 and 30-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. They were a great bet all season, getting off to a fantastic start, winning the NFC and then going into the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl with the lead. Then the Kansas City Chiefs rallied and won the championship.
Everyone dreams of hitting a long-shot Super Bowl champion bet. In the NFL, where fortunes turn quickly, it's possible that some team far down the odds can make a run. Yahoo Sports' Nick Bromberg, Frank Schwab and Scott Pianowski got together to discuss their best division, conference and Super Bowl bets (we've previously discussed our best bets for player awards and win totals):
Let’s start with the divisions, which division champion bets do you like?
Nick Bromberg: I’m somewhat surprised the Jaguars aren’t the biggest division favorites in the NFL given the rest of the AFC South. Jacksonville at -155 feels like a steal. Outside of the favorites, the Ravens at +220 to win the AFC North looks tempting along with the Dolphins at +300 to win the AFC East. I think more people are going to realize just how flexible of an offensive coordinator Todd Monken is, especially if the Ravens get off to a hot start.
Frank Schwab: My Packers love this season knows no bounds, so, of course, I have them at +375 to win the NFC North. Also, my skepticism about the 49ers leads me to the Seahawks winning the NFC West at +195. I’ll have a little bit on the Falcons +200 to win the NFC South, but I mostly like favorites in the divisions and won’t bet many of them. Though like Nick, I'm OK laying the juice and taking the Jaguars at -155. Jacksonville will win the AFC South by three or more games.
Scott Pianowski: Shop around and you might find the Titans at +350 to win the AFC South. All that probably requires is the Jaguars hitting an ice patch — the Texans probably aren’t ready to compete and the Colts have become a bad reality TV pitch. Tennessee obviously crash landed last year and the infrastructure has holes, but a healthy Ryan Tannehill covers up for a lot. At this overlay, I’ll give the Titans a chance to steal a flawed division. I’ll also backline Frank’s optimism on the Packers; a discerning shopper can find up to +400 on the Pack, and you can easily talk down all of their division rivals. Jordan Love doesn’t need to be Superman; if he’s even close to league average, Green Bay contends.
Any teams you like to win their conference (but not necessarily the Super Bowl)?
NB: No team has gotten back to the Super Bowl the year after losing it since the New England Patriots in 2018. This Eagles team is deep enough to get back, but I’m a bit concerned about the losses on defense. This is a team that’s thin at linebacker. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think the Cowboys can get to the Super Bowl this year and I’ll take them at double the Eagles odds to win the NFC at +600.
FS: For some reason I just can't buy into the Cowboys making a Super Bowl. For me, it’s hard to pick anyone in the NFC but the Eagles. I don’t love the +300 odds, but I don't trust Dallas or San Francisco to make a Super Bowl, and who else would win the conference? I guess I should sprinkle Seahawks +1400 and Packers +2800 just in case. But Philadelphia is the best team in that conference, and I don’t know that it’s close.
SP: Dallas at +600 sounds good to me, too. Philly lost that key personnel and also play-calling savant Shane Steichen. The 49ers roster jumps out at you, but we don’t know for sure that Brock Purdy is good and there’s the ongoing Nick Bosa drama. Isn’t it about time something nice happened in Dallas?
OK, it’s time: What’s your best Super Bowl bet?
NB: Assuming Joe Burrow’s calf injury isn’t a long-term deal, the Bengals at +1100 looks like the best value on the board. I know I mentioned the Ravens as a good bet to win the AFC North, but even if Cincy loses the division by a game or two, its road playoff record with Burrow and Co. gives me faith it doesn't need home-field advantage to get to the Super Bowl. I also think the Chiefs are deserved favorites, but would prefer to get them at 9-to-1 or so instead of +600.
FS: In doing the team-by-team previews, it stood out how good the Bills were last season. We forgot about that because of the playoff loss. But Buffalo was a dominant team that picked a bad day to have a bad day. They weren’t the buzzy team of the offseason, and as a result their odds are a more manageable +900 this season. I’ve said often this offseason: If you liked the Bills to win the Super Bowl at this time last year, you should like them even more now at better odds. Let’s go, Buffalo.
SP: I’m also buying that small dip on Buffalo, it’s like taking a beaten favorite at the track two weeks later. The conference is obviously a meat grinder — and the AFC East has no gimme wins — but Buffalo’s 53-man roster inspires a lot of confidence. And keep in mind, Josh Allen is healthy again — he was playing hurt for several weeks down the stretch last year.