Photo: AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

NFL bettors are treated to a veritable smorgasbord of NFL betting markets each and every season to sink their teeth into and of all the markets that go to press, Super Bowl odds are one of the first to hit the board. These NFL Futures act as a preliminary assessment of all 32 team’s chances of winning the coveted Lombardy Trophy. They’re typically based on the preceding season’s results – at least initially as bookmakers post the odds literally at the conclusion of every single Super Bowl. Some adjustments to the odds are of course made during the offseason, the period in which teams will restructure, expand and undergo all manner of wholesale changes and improvements. Based on those odds will improve or deteriorate accordingly.

The goal of every team is to win the Super Bowl but not all teams can accomplish the feat as the preseason NFL odds for the league’s big game so unequivocally would suggest. Only a handful of teams are deemed Super Bowl worthy contenders in the eyes of bookmakers while the rest are relegated into the pretenders or no-hopers column. Having said that the evaluation practice undertaken by oddsmakers isn’t fool proof. Short of a crystal ball, there’s absolutely no way that oddsmakers can predict exactly which team will actually emerge triumphant when all is said and done. It’s always a best guestimate as far as the betting goes, although the reasoning and rationale is based on very solid foundations.

The current serving of Super Bowl odds certainly takes a page from the conclusion of the previous season. Tampa Bay’s victory over Kansas City in Super Bowl LV, serves up both the Buccaneers and Chiefs as the top two bets for Super Bowl 55. Although the Buccaneers defied the NFL odds to beat the Chiefs, it’s the latter that emerge as the short-odds-on-faves over the defending champions who are priced as the second-best bet. After this pair. the rest of the field however is somewhat wide open with at least seven teams (give or take) emerging as viable contenders. These are the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers.

The 2021-22 NFL season is just three months away from the first kick-off in September, but with the NFL draft in the rear-view mirror, most of the wheeling and dealing in the offseason done and the NFL schedule dropped, there’s a clear idea of the makeup of each and every team and the course they must navigate in order to reach the postseason. That kind of insight is most helpful in the betting and determining where the value NF: picks may be at early doors.

Early predictions are exactly that: way too early presumptions about a future event that has yet to take place. A lot can happen between now and then and while early predications are rooted invariably in reasonable assumptions, they can’t take into account things that can materialise during the course of a season that are beyond control. Random and unpredictable situations such as questionable coaching, poor form or severe injuries to key players that are sure to derail a season.

In any event, we’re going to make a few early predictions here. However, instead of predicting the team to win SBLVI, we’re going to offer up several teams to avoid in the betting. Contenders that look attractive on the NFL odds board but that aren’t quite as good-looking as their odds would suggest.

SoFi Stadium is set to host Super Bowl LVI and perhaps, as a consequence of that particular nod, the Los Angeles Rams feature amongst the top betting faves to compete for the Lombardy Trophy. Given the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just accomplished the feat at their very own Raymond James Stadium last season, it seems somewhat understandable why oddsmakers would give the Rams similar such consideration. That and the fact that the Rams are a good team overall too.

And yet, comparing last season’s Buccaneers and this season’s Rams is to compare Tom Brady with Matthew Stafford which – let’s face it – is no comparison at all. Essentially, it boils down to a comparison between The Goat Tom Brady, an elite quarterback that has won seven Super Bowl titles with two different teams (six with the Patriots and one with the Buccaneers) to a quarterback that is statistically good but that has never won a playoff game in his career, never mind reached a Super Bowl. How is that a fair and equitable comparison?

Inasmuch as trading for Stafford was one of the biggest trades of this offseason, whether it will improve the Rams or not remains to be seen. Of course, one can argue that Stafford has been the victim of bad coaching and poor team decision-making over his career. However, until proven otherwise, the Rams are a team to avoid in SBLVI betting – at least in early NFL betting markets.

Another team to avoid in the betting is…wait for it…. drumroll…the Buffalo Bills. Yup, that’s right. Yes, the Bills are the vogue NFL bet right now after reaching the AFC Championship game last season. The expectation is that they’ll take the next step and reach Super Bowl 56, not unlike the Kansas City Chiefs did with Patrick Mahomes at the helm. Mahomes too the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game in 2018 where he lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots. A year later he took the Chiefs to Super Bowl LIV glory at the expense of the San Francisco 49ers.

Josh Allen showed perceptible improvement and maturation last year and reaching the AFC Championship game underscored his banner season. However, it’s worth noting that the Bills benefited from a relatively easy NFL schedule in 2020, not to mention the fact that Allen has yet to get the better of the league’s best teams in his career. When faced with such matchups, he’s come up short including twice to the Chiefs last season.

By any yardstick it’s a big deal to have failed to win a postseason game as is the case with Matthew Stafford or to have failed to get the better of your peers as is the case with Josh Allen. One can argue that trends inevitably end, which is fair enough. However, until proven otherwise, these two teams are the top bets to avoid in the upcoming season in Super Bowl LVI betting.




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