The Philadelphia Eagles entered the 2017 National Football League season a +3500 choice to win their first Super Bowl. There were a lot of reasons for caution. But they eventually made a lot of money for bettors smart enough to see their rise coming or hopeful enough to take a chance on the investment.
Seemingly in better position to repeat than to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy the first time, the NFC champions can’t hide this season.
But they have a lot of cover amid a clump of teams chasing the clear favorite: the New England Patriots, which, ironically, fell to the Eagles, 41-33, in Super Bowl LII. Having won two of the last four Super Bowls, the Patriots instill confidence and garner a lot of attention. And once again they have the players, not just the legacy, to justify both.
Here's a look at the favourites to win Super Bowl LIII and which 4 are worth backing.
The Vikings, who were excellent against the spread last year, laid out $84 million this offseason to supply what it believes is the final piece for a team that finished 13-3 last season and lost to Philadelphia in the NFC Championship.
Whether quarterback Kirk Cousins can be that piece remains unclear, but the former Washington quarterback has passed for at least 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns each of the past three seasons and joins an extremely talented team seemingly capable of squaring the ledger with the Eagles.
His effort will be aided by running back Dalvin Cook, who averaged 4.8 yards per carry in his first three NFL games before tearing his ACL on Oct. 1. Then there’s wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught 64 passes for 849 yards and a career-best eight touchdowns, including the “Minneapolis Miracle” that knocked New Orleans out of the playoffs. He should be mightily motivated after signing a five-year, $72-million contract extension.
Minnesota’s defense was exemplary last season, pacing the league by allowing just 15.8 points and 275.9 yards in the regular season. It was woeful in the playoffs. A repeat of the fine regular season seems more likely than the postseason regression, given the talent which returns.
Cousins could very well increase the Vikings’ margin for error anyway. Faith in the Vikings’ ability to reach the next level is predicated almost entirely on faith in him. Your bet on the Vikings can be found for 11-1 odds at Ladbrokes.
The Steelers’ quest for what would be a seventh Super Bowl victory rests very much on the combined success of the Three Bs: quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, 36, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell.
It’s a simple, but verifiable formula, and Pittsburgh will again tout one of the most versatile and explosive scoring machines in the league before Bell, presumably, leaves as a free agent after this season.
Brown caught 101 passes for a league-high 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns last year and Bell churned out a league-high 321 rushes for 1,291. Nothing to fix here.
Pittsburgh’s defense is not up to the same level of the offense – a big ask, anyway – but is no impediment. The Steelers, surprisingly were knocked out of the playoffs in the AFC Divisional Round last season by the insurgent Jaguars to finish 13-3. That shouldn’t have happened. They’re equipped to make amends in 2019.
You can back the Steelers at 10-1 with Ladbrokes.
Philadelphia figures to be even better than a year ago when they won their first Super Bowl. The reason: quarterback Carson Wentz.
It also figures to be one of the safest bets to return to the Super Bowl. The reason: Nick Foles. After an inglorious first few games to end the regular season replacing the injured Wentz, the 29-year-old journeyman settled in the playoffs and then won the Super Bowl MVP award with three touchdown passes and one receiving.
Once Wentz is fully recovered, though, it’s his job again, after establishing himself as one of the best in the league, finishing one touchdown pass off the league lead of 34 by Russell Wilson despite missing three games after tearing his ACL on Dec. 10.
Wentz will eventually get to utilize the Eagles’ dynamic running back tandem ofJay Ajayi and Corey Clement and receiving corps highlighted by Alshon Jeffrey and tight end Zach Ertz. Whether Wentz’s ability or willingness to use his mobility to enhance them remains a question, but he will have weapons aplenty.
As with the offense, most key contributors return to a defense that should be improved with a returning player who was injured last season. In this case it’s linebacker Jordan Hicks, who should only help the Eagles continue to harass quarterbacks after registering 38 sacks last season.
The window to improve on a 13-3 record and win at least one more Super Bowl is clearly open in Philadelphia. And the Eagles have two quarterbacks to push them through it.
If you think the Eagles will repeat, back them at 17-2 odds with Ladbrokes.
Just as the five-time champions seem to replenish and reload each season, so returns the confidence of the betting public. There is much to like, with three-time Most Valuable Player Tom Brady, 41, returning at quarterback.
His favorite target Julian Edelman will be back from a knee injury – albeit not until serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for PEDs – and tight end Rob Gronkowski.
But this was an offseason of unusual acrimony and turnover – wide receiver Brandin Cooks traded to the Rams, running back Dion Lewis at Tennessee via free agency and replaced by rookie Sony Michel – and head coach Bill Belichick will be tested to maintain a lofty status quo.
There is also the matter of a defense that Eagles’ backup Nick Foles made to look slow and ineffective. Ultimately, though, New England’s collection of quality parts in all facets of the game figures to beat a 13-3 record last season and remain the favorite to roll through the AFC East, even with Buffalo’s emergence last season.
Of course New England remains a strong contender for what would be an 11th Super Bowl appearance. Adding to the expectations, Brady opens as an 11-2 favorite to win what would be a record fifth Super Bowl MVP award.
Our top pick to win the Super Bowl is New England, you can back them at 11-2 odds with Ladbrokes.