5 Teams Trending Upwards

Both the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers find themselves backed by the bookmakers.

Both the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers find themselves backed by the bookmakers.

Following on from last week’s look at five teams trending downwards, this week BettingSports.com switches roles and examines five NFL teams moving on up.

Believe it or not, as of June 19 only seven teams actually have improved odds over those they were assigned one day after Super Bowl XLVII. Five of those are listed below. The other two – the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles – have both seen their odds shorten in the interim, but currently have longer odds than what they’ve seen at other times this postseason.

Note: all odds quoted are courtesy of Bovada.

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Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are expected to be a contender.

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are expected to be a contender.

Denver Broncos

DENThe Broncos began the offseason with 7/1 odds to lift the Lombardi Trophy next February. Those odds have now shortened (marginally) to 13/2.

The Broncos are second only to San Francisco on Bovada’s NFL Futures list, and enter the season with the easiest strength of schedule in the league. Denver’s opponents recorded a 110-146 (.430) record last season, but the AFC West should be tougher and the NFC East could be tougher.

BettingSports.com pondered earlier this week if Peyton Manning might have his best season yet. His superb numbers of a year ago could be bolstered by the arrival of Wes Welker, while he’s now got a full season under his belt following those neck surgeries. It’s not hard to see why the bookmakers like the Broncos this season.

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San Francisco 49ers

SFAfter their 34-31 Super Bowl defeat to the Baltimore Ravens in February, the Niners were installed as joint favorites (with Denver) to win Super Bowl XLVIII with odds at 7/1. In the four months that have followed, Bovada has cut those odds to 6/1, and have the side as the standalone favorite.

Much of San Francisco’s success will depend on how quarterback Colin Kaepernick fares in his first full season under center. He’ll have a new target in Anquan Boldin – acquired in a trade from Baltimore – but will be without favorite target Michael Crabtree – at least for part of the year – who tore an Achilles in OTAs last month.

The Niners will face a tough road in their bid to return to the Super Bowl. The team’s strength of schedule is one of the 10 toughest in the league, while the NFC West looks set to be tougher this season with both the Seahawks (see below) and St. Louis Rams looking better than a year ago.

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The Cincinnati Bengals might not make a lot of noise, but sportsbooks like them more now than four months ago.

The Cincinnati Bengals might not make a lot of noise, but sportbooks like them more now than four months ago.

Cincinnati Bengals

CINSlowly does it. We’ve all heard the old adage, one that seems to fit the Cincinnati Bengals’ offseason. After opening with odds of 35/1 in February, the Bengals remained stationary on the NFL Futures list until the beginning of this month. Today the team sits at 33/1.

While it may be a small incremental change, the two-point turnaround is a positive adjustment, and there are few teams that can say that right now.

In reality, the Bengals are probably benefactors as much of the perceived downturn for both the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers as their own movements this offseason. Both of their division rivals are considered to have better chances, but after nearly stealing the division a year ago, betting against the team making an unthinkable third straight playoff appearance might not be the smartest move you can make.

Still, with confirmation that the Bengals will appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks, it’s worth pondering if the reality TV bug might hinder their chances.

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Seattle Seahawks

SEAAfter coming within two points of the NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks began this offseason with odds of 12/1 to win it all next season. These odds now stand at 8/1.

In some ways, Seattle’s prominence of the NFL Futures is a bit of a surprise. After all, the Seahawks will be starting a second-year quarterback who, while having enjoyed a fantastic year last year, is still unproven. Secondly, the team enjoyed a fair amount of luck last season and, as we know, lady luck is a fickle mistress. Thirdly, the Seahawks are in direct competition with the 49ers, the Super Bowl favorites. Then the team faces one of the toughest strength of schedules out there, including the second toughest road timetable. The addition of Percy Harvin will be of great help though.

If the Seahawks do win the Super Bowl, they’ll certainly have earned it.

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Mike Wallace is one of the additions that has the Miami Dolphins trending upwards.

Mike Wallace is one of the additions that has the Miami Dolphins trending upwards.

Miami Dolphins

MIAPerhaps the biggest surprise on this list, the Miami Dolphins began the offseason with 50/1 odds to win the Super Bowl. The team is currently 40/1 to lift the Lombardi trophy.

While the Dolphins remain a longshot, the addition of Mike Wallace, Dannell Elerbe, Dustin Keller, and Brent Grimes should make the team better. They certainly won’t make it any worse. Meanwhile, as in San Francisco and Seattle, much of the team’s success will be dependent on second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill; if he can continue to grow as a player the Dolphins will be on to a good thing.

Miami isn’t going to win the Super Bowl, but this is a team that has massive potential to improve on last year’s 7-9 campaign, although a tough strength of schedule means the team will have to work for it. Regardless, bettors will need to pay attention to the Dolphins week in, week out as there is some serious upset potential here.

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

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