It’s never too early to begin placing bets for the football season. In fact, you’re likely to get some of the best odds on futures now before NFL training camps begin.
There are some perennial favorites to win the Super Bowl, like the Patriots. So, instead of wasting your time and making the bold claim that New England is a good future bet to place, I am instead giving you my three favorite long-odd bets to win the Super Bowl. Each of these three teams have a legitimate shot to make a run, but they are not the favorites, making them some of the most valuable futures to get locked in right now.
Indianapolis Colts (+1300)
Possibly my favorite long-odd bet to win the Super Bowl is the Colts. The young defensive unit played at the top of their game down the stretch last season. After bringing in some free agents and drafting seven defensive players, the Colts remained dedicated to building a feared defensive unit, and I don’t think they’re done quite yet. With an estimated $57 million of cap space left (a league-high), Indy has money left to bring in some playmakers on either side of the ball.
When this scrappy, talented defense isn’t out there, Andrew Luck is. Luck certainly had his struggles at the beginning of last season but finished out the regular season 9-1 in the final 10 games, and he completed 70 percent of his passes during this stretch. The Colts brought in more weapons for the quarterback to utilize. They signed the big-bodied Devin Funchess from Carolina then drafted Parris Campbell in the second round. With a healthy T.Y. Hilton and a motivated Eric Ebron also on the field, not to mention the return of Jack Doyle, the sky is the limit for the offense in Indy.
The bottom line is that the Colts made it to the Divisional Round despite the injuries to their offense. They are obviously now healthy, and they continued to add onto this unit, as well as the defense. And with the most cap flexibility in the league heading into training camp, the Colts are the most dangerous team.
Los Angeles Chargers (+1600)
Another team in the AFC that few are talking about, but has a very real shot to win it all, is the Chargers. Many thought they could go all the way last season but ran into a big obstacle named the Patriots. They are essentially running it back again this year, with only minor tweaks to the roster. Defensively they lost Addae at safety, which they do not seem concerned about. They added rookie Jerry Tillery to the defensive front, and they signed linebacker Thomas Davis to add more veteran leadership on this side of the ball, which was needed in my opinion.
Offensively they lost Tyrell Williams, which does hurt since he was able to come up with big plays on the outside when the team needed it most. However, they get tight end Hunter Henry back healthy, and Mike Williams has the physical gifts to be a dominating force in this league. With an estimated $13 million left of cap space, it would be nice to see them add another receiver to the roster. Michael Crabtree would be able to replicate what Tyrell did for this offense, as could a couple other free agents still available.
While not making much noise this offseason, the Chargers are quietly in better position to win this year. The Chiefs and Steelers got worse in the AFC, and LA’s squad is healthier. They feel like a team that is one move away from winning a Super Bowl.
Dallas Cowboys (+2000)
It seems like the Cowboys have figured out how to build a winning football team again. Sure, the coaching staff is still suspect, but you can’t argue with who they will put on the field this season. Let’s start with the big men up front. Travis Frederick is back training with the team, which gives them the anchor up front that they desperately missed last season. With the offensive line back to full strength, this should make Ezekiel Elliott very, very happy. There were also changes to the receiving corps, letting Cole Beasley walk, but signing Randall Cobb. Oh, and Jason Witten decided to do what he does well, which is not commentating Monday Night Football. He adds the veteran leadership to this team that it lacked, and he will again serve as Dak’s security blanket.
Defensively, there are playmakers all over the front seven. The secondary is probably still about average, but when Demarcus Lawrence is coming at you every play, the corners do not need to cover for too long. This was a top-10 defensive unit last season, and they should be around the seven to five range again this year.
This team lost by just eight to the Rams in the Divisional Round last season. Through moves they have made and guys getting healthy, this team is built to be a contender. The two criticisms of the Cowboys in recent seasons, and which will be again going into training camp, are the coaching staff and Dak Prescott. Well, Dak has proven that he can be a competent game manager when his main guys are there. When Elliott is finding running lanes or Witten finds space underneath, Dak has done enough to win games. As far as coaching goes, they made it to the second round of the playoffs last season. They’re not the best staff in the league, to put it lightly, but there have been worse coaches to win Super Bowls.