NFL Futures Bets
NFL Fool’s Gold Super Bow LI Picks
By Dan Favale
It’s easy to be seduced by certain NFL Super Bowl bets, especially now, when we’re halfway through the season. People tend to see that as a touchstone of sorts—a point in the schedule where everything we’ve seen thus far is for real.
But everything we’ve seen isn’t for real. There is still a lot of football left to play, and certain teams, for whatever reason are mirages. We’re here to help you suss out a few pretenders you should steer clear of when looking to place money on Super Bowl odds.
Oakland Raiders (+2500)
What’s not to like about the Oakland Raiders?
For starters, their Super Bowl odds.
Make no mistake, these Raiders are good. Their offense ranks sixth in points scored per game, and Derek Carr is a low-key MVP candidate. He has helped turn both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree into two of the most dangerous passing threats in the game, and his combination of accuracy and decision-making has completely negated the absence of a high-end running attack—which, by the way, is mostly due to an inconsistent and injured Latavius Murray.
At 6-2, sitting atop the AFC West division, the Raiders are, by all accounts, sitting pretty.
But not for much longer.
Though the final part of their schedule isn’t too harrowing, the Raiders are tasked with keeping pace alongside the reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, who are also 6-2 entering Week 9, when these two squads will meet. And if for some reason the Raiders are able to win their division, there’s a big problem waiting for them, one that applies to every other Super Bowl hopeful in the AFC, including some that will be talked about in this space: They have to go through the New England Patriots.
No team is built to beat the Patriots right now, so if you’re going to bank on a squad getting past them, it better be because they have +5000 odds or better. The Raiders don’t, which is a testament to their body of work, but also enough to avoid them as Super Bowl wagers altogether.
Dallas Cowboys (+900)
Look, the Dallas Cowboys have been incredible this season. They have the best record in the NFC, are essential locks to win the NFC East, have the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite in running back Ezekiel Elliott and a bona fide MVP candidate in rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.
Let’s answer that question with another question: Who have they beaten?
Six teams, yes. Not one of said teams, though, is more than one game over .500. That doesn’t discredit their 6-1 record or their top-seven offense and defense, but their strength of schedule is food for thought.
For all it’s success, the Cowboys are a long-shot Super Bowl candidates. And yet, as of now, they have the second-best odds in the NFL, behind only the New England Patriots. Think about that: Are the Cowboys really on or close to the Patrios’ level? Just because their record says so?
No, they’re not. But the sportsbooks are treating them as if they are. That gives you all the reason in the world to avoid them. They simply won’t give you a good enough return on your bet, even if they win.
If you want to use the Cowboys as a Super Bowl future, that’s actually fine. Just be sure to wait it out. Their odds will get more lucrative, believe that. This is their peak, and it’s a faux peak. They aren’t as good as the sportsbooks are portraying. It’s important you remember this, and then equally important that you wait at least two to three weeks before circling back on their odds. No matter their record, anything less than a +2500 isn’t worth your time.
Green Bay Packers (+1200)
As someone who assumed the Green Bay Packers would be legitimate Super Bowl contenders, this stings. But it’s the truth.
We can’t keep saying that the Packers are going to figure things out. They are one game over .500, trailing division rival Minnesota Vikings, a team that lost its starting quarterback and running back, by two full games. And their offense ranks 11th in the league in points scored per game, which just isn’t good enough when they’re not pairing it with a top-12 defense.
Having topped 25 points in each of the last two games, the Packers have some people thinking their offense is back, that Aaron Rodgers himself is back, but it’s a mirage. Each of those games have come versus than stellar defenses.
The only two above-average defensive squads the Packers have played are the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. The Packers are averaging 15 points in those matchups.
Throw in the injuries to running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks, along with wide receiver Randall Cobb, and the Packers don’t currently have enough weapons at their disposal to state a full-tilt turnaround. So unless their odds jump to +3000 or better, it’s best to leave them alone.
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