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5 Teams Trending Downwards

With Ray Lewis and Ed Reed gone, the Baltimore Ravens are one of those teams heading south, according to bookmakers.

With Ray Lewis and Ed Reed gone, the Baltimore Ravens are one of those teams heading south, according to bookmakers.

With mini-camps opening around the league this week, BettingSports.com decided it was time to take a look at some of the movement on the NFL Futures list. Specifically, the negative movement.

The likes of the Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and Tennessee Titans are all sliding backwards, as was to be expected. Teams of this ilk will almost certainly in the upcoming season, and it’s only a matter of time before we see those odds extend into four figures. But there are some other teams that are currently trending downwards that make for interesting reading.

Here are five teams currently heading south, at least in the eyes of sportsbooks across America. Expect perennial ‘contenders’, defending champs, revamped coaching staffs, and one side that is more circus than football team.

Note: all odds quoted are courtesy of Bovada.

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DeMarcus Ware downplayed any potential disharmony in Big D.

DeMarcus Ware downplays any potential disharmony in Big D.

1. Dallas Cowboys

DALThe Cowboys began this offseason with odds of 25/1 to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Those odds have slipped to 33/1. Whilst this isn’t a huge drop – it’s the smallest decline of all teams listed here – it is significant.

It’s been a quiet offseason for the Cowboys, by their own standards at least. No big name signings, a mediocre draft, and only a few run-ins with the law. Of course, where there’s Jerry Jones, there’s potential controversy. This time round it appears head coach Jason Garrett is in the firing line.

DeMarcus Ware was quick to tell the Dallas Morning News that he believed Garrett was still very much in control despite ceding offensive play calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. You can count the number of people who believed him on one hand.

After a pair of 8-8 seasons – preceded by a 6-10 campaign – Garrett is without a doubt in the hot seat. That makes for an unstable setting for a team that has proved it necessitates stability. Add to this a roster that has some very noticeable holes (offensive line, anybody?) and you have a team in trouble.

If this wasn’t ‘America’s Team’ you can bet those odds would be a lot longer. But the Cowboys faithful is exactly that; faithful.

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2. Baltimore Ravens

BALAssigned odds of 12/1 to win the Super Bowl one day after lifting the Lombardi Trophy, Baltimore was quick to slip in the eyes of the bookmakers. Today the team’s odds sit at 22/1. Granted, a 10-point turnaround isn’t huge, unless you’re the defending champion.

The Ravens released full back Vonta Leach on Monday, adding another name to a list of outgoing players that already includes Ray Lewis (retirement), Ed Reed (Houston), Anquan Boldin (San Francisco), Paul Kruger (Cleveland), and Matt Birk (retirement). That’s a lot of talent to be losing.

Joining Joe Flacco and his monster contract will be Chris Canty, Elvis Dumerville, and Marcus Spears, all of whom should be able to contribute on the defensive side of the football. But make no mistakes about it; this Ravens’ side doesn’t look as good as the team that was victorious back in February. Still, that team wasn’t supposed to succeed either.

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How will Brian Urlacher's retirement affect the Chicago Bears?

How will Brian Urlacher’s retirement affect the Chicago Bears?

3. Chicago Bears

CHISitting at 33/1 right now, the Bears are level with the Cowboys. The Bears have dropped further though, having opened at 20/1.

Despite opening the season 7-1, Chicago missed the postseason last campaign. Cue much change. Lovie Smith is out as head coach. Marc Trestman is in as his replacement. A brand new staff joins him. Add to this the fact that Talismanic linebacker Brian Urlacher has called it quits, and you have a huge cloud of uncertainty hovering above Soldier Field.

If the Bears are to succeed they’ll improved performances from Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and (especially) Matt Forte on offensive, while Lance Briggs and the defense will now to plug the gap left by the departing Urlacher. Even with all of this, the Bears could struggle in the perennially-tough NFC North, hence bookmakers losing faith.

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4. San Diego Chargers

SDCAfter (yet another) disappointing season, the Chargers were assigned 35/1 odds to win Super Bowl XLVIII on February 4. That put the Bolts in the top half of the NFL, which was too high for some. Today, those odds have slipped to 50/1.

After six years at the helm, Norv Turner was given his marching orders, with former Broncos’ offensive coordinator Mike McCoy taking over head coaching duties. That means, like Chicago, there are a lot of questions lingering over the team. The drafting of Mant’i Teo will be one that is scrupulously examined all season, while Philip Rivers’ output this year will go a long way to determining if the Chargers can resurrect themselves from mediocrity.

With the Denver Broncos looking strong and the Kansas City Chiefs expected to improve, life in the AFC West might not be a beach for the SoCal side.

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Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith will be amongst those contending for a starting spot in New York.

Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith will be amongst those contending for a starting spot in New York.

5. New York Jets

NYJFinally, the biggest loser of the offseason so far is Gang Green. Sound a bit harsh? Well, the Jets were assigned 40/1 odds at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVII. Now the team has 100/1 odds. That’s the biggest drop-off of any team in the league.

After last year’s debacle of a season, the New York front office has had a makeover, with GM Mike Tannenbaum, offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine amongst those departing. On the field, the untradeable (in his own eyes) Darrelle Revis was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mike Devito (Kansas City), Dustin Keller (Miami), and LaRon Landry (Indianapolis) lost to free agency, and Geno Smith (begrudgingly) drafted in the second round. Smith is set to combat the confidence-frayed Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback role.

And then there was the small matter of Tim Tebow’s release which received virtually no press coverage at all.

With Tebow gone, the Jets figure to become a little more stable, except nobody really expects that. The Jets after all seem to attract controversy and drama like a sordid reality TV ‘personality’. That’s enough to turn the bookies off.

But, this is still the team that went to consecutive AFC Championship Games just two years ago. Without distraction and internal turmoil, could it do the same again? Yes, but who expects this team – the one that may have to look at Tebow’s smiling face on the sideline in Foxboro – to be without distraction and internal turmoil?

For the record, Tebow’s signing with the New England Patriots is the focus of a number of prop bets available.

For the full updated list of NFL Futures, visit Bovada.

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