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Super Bowl LIV Futures Preview
If you stack ranked from 1 to 32 the combined job security of the Head Coach & Starting Quarterback for each NFL team, the results would be remarkably similar to the current Futures odds for Super Bowl LIV. In other words:
(Starting Quarterback Job Security+Head Coach Job Security)/2 = Super Bowl Chances
The logic is simple, not only are HC & QB by far the most vital positions to winning in the NFL, when an organization has these positions well established, it allows everyone in the organization to spend their mental and physical energies shoring up the other elements of their team. Odds referenced from FanDuel Sportsbook.
What Do you Know about your QB & HC? Each End of the Spectrum
Notice at the bottom of the Futures table we find at #32, the Miami Dolphins – currently 300/1 to win the Super Bowl next year. This ranking makes perfect sense given our formula: The Dolphins have a first time head coach, who only recently graduated from being a position-coach; And the only thing certain about the Dolphins Starting QB position is that it likely will not include a player that was on their previous roster.
Despite having a two-time Super Bowl Champion start as QB, the New York Giants only have a 100/1 shot to win it all. Such is the skepticism of Eli Manning going forward and Pat Shurmur period.
On top of the Futures table, conversely, we have ironclad certainty at the most important positions in football. First, at 7/1, we have the Kansas City Chiefs, who boast both the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year, Andy Reid and the 2018 NFL Most Valuable MVP, Patrick Mahomes. This duo combined to score 40, 51 & 31 against the eventual Super Bowl combatants, the Patriots and the Rams, with two of those stellar offensive performances coming in enemy territory in Los Angeles & New England respectively. Reid, the longtime Offensive stalwart, will be aiming for his 15th winning season in 21 total seasons as an NFL head coach next year. And he will hope to add an improved defense to his perennially explosive offense, after having replaced defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton, whose defenses ranked near the bottom of the league the last two seasons.
Co-favorites with the Chiefs at 7/1, we have the New England Patriots, and the laughably successful duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, who would no doubt rank first on this list other than the creeping notion that father time is undefeated, and eventually – one day, some day, maybe next year – the 66 year old coach & 41 year old QB will lose their fastball.
Given the resume of these teams’ leaders, their status as favorites seems to me unassailable. If I had to choose between the two, I’d pick the Patriots – who have a bevy of early round draft picks to shore up their Front 7 and find the WR deep threat that Brady was often missing last year, including in their final game, where his outside receivers Phillip Dorsett and Chris Hogan combined for 0 receptions.
However, at 7/1 neither of these two teams appeal to me as good betting options in the Futures pool – and it would be wiser to bet them game by game in the playoffs next year.
Compare the Patriots rout through last years playoffs. New England was a -150 favorite vs. Chargers, a +180 dog @ the Chiefs and -125 favorite in the SB vs. Rams. If you bet 1 unit on the Patriots the first game, then rolled over the winnings each game, you would be +7.4 units by the time they won the SB.
Conversely, if you had bet on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl before the playoffs you would need to take around +700 or less, which is only +7 units.
The Patriots were around the same 7/1 odds last year in the Futures pool – but if you simply waited for the playoffs to begin and bet them each game, you would have made a 6% better profit.
Instead of plucking one of the favorites, the best value Futures pick will be a team, an that could prove to be on equal footing with these teams by the end of next season, but are not currently viewed with such high esteem. To find good value, I suggest first looking for a rock solid HC and QB duo.
Best Bet: Wentz & the Eagles
My suggestion? Bet on the Philadelphia Eagles at 14/1, who boast a QB in Carson Wentz that looked like the league MVP last time he was fully healthy, and a HC in Doug Pederson who has consistently overachieved since taking over the reins in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Eagles at 14/1 are my best bet.
Since the beginning of his tenure, Doug Pederson’s Fred Flintstone visage and and unguarded manner of speech have lead some analysts to deride his credentials as a progressive NFL mind. But the results have spoken otherwise. He defied expectations by winning 3 games as an underdog in the 2017 playoffs including the Super Bowl, all in his 2nd season as HC, and all with his 2nd choice QB. Furthermore his team has been shown to respond to his “analytically-friendly” aggressive playing style, winning multiple playoffs game directly due to successful 4th & goal attempts. The Eagles followed their Super Bowl victory up by weathering a cluster of injuries to its skill players positions in the 2018 season, still making the playoffs without their Starting QB or top 2 RBs.
Though they had to scramble to get into the playoffs, they weren’t any slouches once they got there either, beating a top team on the road and nearly doing it again in New Orleans, where the Saints hadn’t lost a home game in over 25 years. Before Nick Foles’ pass slipped through Alshon Jefferies hands and into an interception, the Eagles were a coin-flip proposition on the road against the #1 team in the NFC. Pretty impressive for an injury-riddled team.
As for their QB, there are two ways of thinking about Carson Wentz’s future. If you think Wentz will perennially be an injury risk, the Eagles at 20/1 does not make sense as a wager. However, if you think the past two injury-plagued seasons were an aberration in Wentz college & pro career – then you’re looking at a 26 year old, still maturing QB who has demonstrated all of the tools & work ethic to be at the top of the game for years to come.
While I originally liked this pick at 20/1 in March – I still think these odd provide value because of the positive news we’ve received about Carson Wentz. Wentz has become one of the co-favorite to the Win MVP and we assume the Eagles knew enough good news about his medical report when they approved his massive contraction extension.
Another solid, HC & QB duo that may be being overlooked are former SB champions Pete Carroll & Russell Wilson & the Seattle Seahawks at 35/1. All of the preseason talk last year for the Seahawks was that it was a rebuilding year. And they nearly won a game in the playoffs anyway. If this form continues, they may exceed expectations yet again and be a serious threat to hoist another Lombardi Trophy.