Super Bowl 56 Futures
We are deep into free agency. The Super Bowl odds have not made any meaningful moves, like we saw last year after Tampa signed Tom Brady. It is still very early to be making any significant wagers, since doing so will tie up a portion of your bankroll for nearly 9 months. But… I think a couple teams clearly improved and are worth consideration.
Before Free Agency
While still early to place any meaningful bets, it is exciting to see teams already making moves and trying to break through into the next level of competitiveness, such as the Los Angeles Rams; we also see mainstays like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remaining favorites as the odds for next year’s Super Bowl begin to roll out.
Let’s see if we can find a team or two that might be worth a bet.
I’m using the Futures odds from PointsBet.
Super Bowl 56 Betting Favorites
|Kansas City Chiefs||+500|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+550|
|Green Bay Packers||+1000|
Kansas City Chiefs
The team with the lowest odds, which shouldn’t shock anyone, is the Kansas City Chiefs at around +500 at most major sportsbooks.
While they have many of their cornerstone pieces signed long-term, they have an estimated -$11 million in cap space heading into next season. With many starters needing extensions to remain with the team next season, the front office will need to make some difficult decisions that will result in several players getting cut.
The number one concern heading into this offseason should be the offensive line. If the Chiefs can address their injuries on the offensive line and make it out of the offseason without losing key starters in free agency, the future for Kansas City will continue to be bright with Mahomes under center, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see them in their 3rd straight Super Bowl.
Free Agency Update
The Chief’s did indeed lose two important pieces of their offensive line when they released tackles Schwartz and Fisher. However, they added two guards, Joe Thuney and Kyle Long. Thuney is solid, but Long is coming back out of retirement so who knows how that will go. They still haven’t resolved their tackle situation, which should be their biggest concern.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The team that has the second-lowest Super Bowl 56 futures odds is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +900. The Buccaneers’ short-term future looks bright as they have an estimated ~$38 million in cap space with only a few key pieces they need to re-sign in Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, and Rob Gronkowski.
While they have a few other pieces they also need to sign, winning the Super Bowl and Brady announcing that he is returning in 2021 could result in players taking a potential pay cut to remain on the team in hopes to go back-to-back in the next year’s Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay had a great year with a top-six offense and a top-six defense; they have a legitimate chance to build off this tremendous year. The most impressive part of this Super Bowl run was that they were able to create an entirely new offense starting with Brady but also including a new running back (Fournette), a new receiving room (Gronkowski), and adding Antonio Brown late in the season.
They made all of these changes without being able to meet in person until late July-early August. Arians even made a point in the post Super Bowl interview that it took them “forever” to come together. With an entire offseason to meet and practice in person, it wouldn’t be surprising if Tampa Bay came back more robust next season, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Free Agency Update
Tampa did re-sign their key free agents and their odds dropped from +900 to +550.
Green Bay Packers
Rounding out the top three for Super Bowl LVI’s betting odds is the Green Bay Packers coming in at +1000. The Packers are in a very similar position to the Kansas City Chiefs, with an estimated -$13 million in future salary cap.
The major hit comes on the offensive side with lineman Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor plus running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, all hitting the open market. The Packers are anchored by the recently crowned MVP at quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.
While there are going to be significant changes in Green Bay, if Rodgers returns they seem to be a lock for the postseason every year. Expect the Packers to have another strong year in the NFC North with a postseason berth and a deep playoff run in 2021.
I don’t see much value in the Packers, other teams in the NFC have improved while Green Bay didn’t add much. If you think they’ll be better than last year then a 10-1 price is not a bad bet. Not for me though…
Super Bowl 56 Futures – Early Contenders
Rounding out the top six, we have…
Los Angeles Rams
Of these three teams, the Rams have the most value in the long run. While all three of these teams could easily be considered high value picks, the Rams are the most interesting.
LA made the postseason with a 10-6 record while facing inconsistent quarterback play down the stretch, including their win against the Seahawks on Wild Card Weekend.
While they had the number one scoring defense this past season, this team’s most intriguing addition is the new offense with Matthew Stafford under center. Improving the quarterback position was necessary for the Rams this offseason and sends a positive signal to the clearly frustrated defense.
Stafford will allow Sean McVay to open up his playbook to get the ball downfield to receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. The emergence of Cam Akers is a huge development as well. The combination of Akers and Stafford will increase the effectiveness of the play action game, which should lead to more big plays.
Raising the offense’s ceiling will ultimately help the defense get even better as they won’t be on the field as frequently as they were this past season.
The Mid-Pack Players
|San Francisco 49ers||+1500|
|New Orleans Saints||+2500|
This is really where you have to predict one of these teams will pick up DeShaun Watson or Russell Wilson without giving away a key player(s) in exchange… or a career year from Baker, Dak, Wentz or Tannehill.
To me, the Colts are one of the two teams out of this group that can make the jump to Super Bowl winners but it relies on Wentz proving all the experts wrong. They made a little run last season and I don’t think the betting public gives them much respect at all.
I can see the Browns jumping up this year like Buffalo from last year. There’s a lot to like from their talent standpoint and I think Baker is capable of winning big games. The coaching staff is very good, confident and not afraid to take risks – which is why I think they have some value. Personally, I’d put them at the same price as the LA Rams.
Free Agency Update
Cleveland had the best free agent class in the NFL. The Browns filled a huge need at safety by signing the top defensive player on the market John Johnson. Additionally they picked up a couple more defensive players that could start, but certainly provide quality depth.
Super Bowl Longshots – The Dogecoiner Bets
|Los Angeles Chargers||+4000|
|New England Patriots||+3000|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+4000|
|Washington Football Team||+6000|
|New York Giants||+10000|
If you’re an anal money manager type gambler this is the only group that makes much sense — you need a big payoff to justify locking up part of your bankroll for almost a year.
The problem is… there are no transformational players, like Brady, available this year. I know Watson and Russ are great, but you’re going to pay a big price to get one of them. Remember Tampa didn’t give up any pieces for Brady, he actually brought some with him.
Washington Football Team
Right off the bat I’m going to say I’m not confident in Heinecke leading WFT to a Super Bowl win, but that’s why we’re getting 60-1.
Washington will be loaded-for-bear during free agency and I’m confident Riviera knows how to build a winning team. They’ve got one of the top 3 pass rushes in the league already and it’s going to improve this year, maybe reach championship level. If somehow they were to end up with Watson things could get interesting.
Free Agency Update
The Football Team did some serious work in free agency. Signing Fitzmagic is a clear upgrade at QB who can take advantage of Terry McLaurin and the newly signed Curtis Samuel. They even managed to sign the best free Agent CB available, William Jackson, to replace Darby. They’re better than last year and will be a big threat to win the NFC East. They are significantly better but bettors haven’t noticed. Still 60-1.
Super Bowl 56 Futures – Wasting Your Bankroll
|New York Jets||+10000|
Free Agency Impact on Super Bowl Contenders
Free agency signings rarely have a big impact on who wins the Super Bowl. In fact the biggest spenders over the past several years have been Jacksonville and the Jets, who have combined to spend more than 2 billion dollars over the previous 9 years… with almost no success to show for it.
Of course last year was the exception with Brady moving to Tampa. Free agency usually plays a smaller role in building Super Bowl contenders as most successful moves occur without much notice, like improving a weakness or building overall team depth.
|Team||Odds Pre FA||Current Odds||Improvement|
|New England Patriots||+3600||+3000||20%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+650||+550||18%|
The early free agency news was dominated by the New England Patriots who went on a big spending spree from the very get-go. Belichick made moves to strengthen his defense plus signed the top 2 TEs available. According to the media experts and talking heads New England’s signings were a stroke of genius and surely will make them contenders again in 2021.
The gambling public wasn’t as impressed however. After all the moves, New England’s Super Bowl odds only improved from 36-1 to 30-1… which barely gets them into the playoffs as the 7th ranked team in the AFC.
Bettors moved Dallas’ odds based primarily on the Dak Prescott signing, which provides stability at the QB position and signals they’ll be focused on putting together a Super Bowl caliber team. I don’t think there’s any value in betting the Cowboys, Dak has to prove his health and their defense is still a long ways off. Actually… as you may have noticed, I like the Football Team much more than Dallas to win the East.
Tampa Bay didn’t add any new players, but showed gamblers their intentions by re-signing key players that led them to the Championship. They are a legitimate NFC favorite, but you’re not getting enough value to justify a bet at this point.
Bettors also took notice of the Browns additions. Cleveland focused on filling holes defensively and came up with the best group of free agents so far this year. They still have a juicy 22-1 price.
Super Bowl Bets to Make
So here’s the bets to make right now.
- Washington Football Team (+6000): They’ve already got a dominant defense that’s young and could develop into an elite unit. Rivera is an outstanding coach and he’s made wise choices in free agency that not only improved the team, but signaled they intend on making a run this year. The only missing piece is a QB, if they were to swing a blockbuster deal we’d see the odds drop to something similar to the Rams or Packers.
- Cleveland Browns (+2200): The Browns aren’t far off. Another season under the current coaching staff and a few tweaks in free agency should lead to a better team in 2021. Their division isn’t as strong as it was previously and Kansas City will probably take a step back this season. Buffalo will be better, but that might be the only team they’ll need to beat to get into the Super Bowl. My best bet on the board currently.
Futures betting is all about one of three things:
- Finding value on team that pays off a huge amount. You need that big return to justify tying up your bankroll for a long period of time.
- Laying down some cheddar on your favorite team in hopes of cashing in on a championship run.
- Playing a hunch or gut feeling about a team you follow or have some unique insight about.
Every season in the NFL is full of surprises and disappointments. Picking a a Super Bowl winner at this point is difficult… but not impossible. In fact, there were plenty of bettors jumping on Tampa early last off-season – anticipating Brady signing.
With this offseason, hopefully, in person, we should see teams gearing up for a very competitive 2021 season that should see teams come into their own. With several new coaching hires and a potential quarterback carousel to follow, this should be an exciting offseason that will provide some great new storylines along the way.
Who did I miss?
Let me know what you think below.