A year ago the collective NFL world thought they knew for sure who would be going to Super Bowl 50. The New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks were far
and away the top contenders to win the league’s title.
Of that group, only the Patriots came close, as they reached the AFC title game before being smothered to death be the elite Denver Broncos defense.
The Broncos were a team no one saw coming. Peyton Manning looked done at the end of 2014 and even after a strong 6-0 start, it just didn’t look like a team ready to win a title.
The team they wound up beating, the Carolina Panthers, eventually looked the part, but no one was crowning them during the preseason. Cam Newton hadn’t yet figured out how to win and there was
just no way he was going to magically figure it all out with his #1 target, Kelvin Benjamin, going down with a torn ACL.
Denver’s defense proved to be good enough to overcome Manning’s regression and Newton did in fact elevate his game, as Denver and Carolina gave us a Super Bowl we really never saw coming.
Heading into 2016, Bovada has the Patriots – Tom Brady’s 4-game ban and all – as the leaders with +600 odds. The Green Bay Packers
(+850), Seattle Seahawks (+1100) and Pittsburgh Steelers (+1200) round out the top four contenders.
If we’re to assume the prognosticators have it wrong again going into 2016, we may need to stretch our necks for the best bets. In fact, we may have to get a little crazy.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five crazy Super Bowl bets that just might be
ridiculous enough to make sense:
Washington Redskins (+5000)
Is this really a crazy bet? It might even be crazy that no one is giving the Redskins a little more credit. After all, this team did just win the NFC East and made the playoffs in a
season where everyone expected them to vie for the bottom of their division.
Washington has a lot of question marks, but Kirk Cousins at least somewhat feels like the real deal, Matt Jones is an intimidating power rusher (if he can fix those fumbling woes) on paper and
Josh Norman comes over and helps fortify an improved – if not at least very aggressive – defense.
The Redskins could disappoint, but at their current odds they’re not even being treated like a threatening playoff team. Even if it’s a small dart of a bet, they’re worth a glance.
Chicago Bears (+5000)
The Bears are actually probably a step down from the ‘Skins, which is why they rank #2 here. You know, as in crazier.
It’s easy to point out the bad in Chicago: Jay Cutler has won exactly one playoff game ever, the Bears can’t defend, they’re losing all of their star offensive talent and they endured a ton of
injuries in 2015.
Still, despite all of that, they were surprisingly competitive last year. Entering year two of the John Fox era, it’s very difficult to imagine the Bears get by with shoddy defense or an
improperly balanced offense. Losing the likes of Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett over the last two years has hurt, but Chicago has replaced them with steady guys like Zach
Miller, Jeremy Langford and Kevin White.
If the Bears are healthier and can add some bite on defense, Fox’s crew could seriously be a surprise unit.
Los Angeles Rams (+6600)
The Rams have one true blemish, and it continues to be under center. If they are serious about moving forward with Case Keenum as their starting quarterback instead of would-be franchise passer
Jared Goff, then we may have problems.
However, Goff was the top pick of the 2016 NFL Draft for a reason, and if he starts and is able to mature on the fly, the Rams just might have something here. There is no denying the experience
of head coach Jeff Fisher, the dominance of running back Todd Gurley or the high upside of a flat-out stacked defense.
Emerging from the crowded NFC West as a viable title contender won’t be easy, but as the Rams have shown us over the last few years, they are inching closer to being that surprise threat.
San Diego Chargers (+6600)
I can’t help but toss the Bolts in here for a few reasons. For one, I don’t think Mike McCoy is a bad head coach. San Diego’s offense has been more than fine under his watch, and this team has
really only struggled on the ground or with their defense.
With McCoy calling the shots, Keenan Allen healthy, Melvin Gordon hopefully the answer at running back and Philip Rivers as determined as ever, there’s plenty of reason to buy into San Diego’s
The defense could be the problem, as rookie first round pick Joey Bosa still hasn’t signed and star safety Eric Weddle left for Baltimore. A lot still has to happen and go San Diego’s way for us
to feel awesome about them on that side of the ball, but there is talent and coaching here. Who are we to say Rivers and co. can’t finally put it all together?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+10000)
The previous four teams are fun considerations, but if we want to get really crazy, I see no other Super Bowl bet as fun as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It seems the Buccaneers have covered a lot of the bases, with their defense ranking 10th overall in 2015 and running back Doug Martin leading the league in rushing. On paper, all that is left is
for second-year passer Jameis Winston to take a huge step forward in his development.
[email protected]_Benoit on why @Jaboowins sophomore season will be fascinating: http://t.co/TH3inGah72
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) August 17, 2016
That figures to be very likely, as Winston has been focused all off-season in becoming a better quarterback and has been regarded as being in the best shape of his life.
If that’s true and Martin and the defense show up as well, a 6-10 team a year ago could be a viable threat in the NFC South. From there, it’s any guess what a +10000 odds team can do. All we know
is the Bucs are on the upward swing and a paltry $100 bet could net you a cool 10 grand.