This week, the wise guys in Vegas released the latest odds to win Super Bowl XLIX. And the usual suspects were at the top of the list, with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers the co-favorites at 5-1 and the Denver Broncos just behind them at 11-2.
Taking any of those teams is probably a smart wager, if there is such a thing, but it’s not a lot of fun. It’s like betting on California Chrome; sure, it pays off, but the lack of upside sort of takes the fun out of it.
Instead, it’s more enjoyable to search for “value” on the board. Find a team that had a bad season in 2013, but is poised to rebound this year. Grab them at long odds and then root like heck for four months that the dark horse comes in.
Will they? Probably not. But when the potential return is 40-1 or better, it’s worth a shot. That’s why they call it gambling, right?
So with that in mind, here are the best long shots on the board, just in case a trip to Vegas is on the horizon:
10. Cleveland Browns (70-1)
Is this buying into the Johnny Football hype? Yep. Lock, stock and barrel, it’s going all in on Manziel as the quarterback to resurrect the Browns. But that’s not the only reason that things could turn around quickly in Cleveland. This is a team that boast five Pro Bowl players from a season ago; they just need a quarterback. That’s the same formula that Kansas City followed from 2012 to ’13, which led to a huge turnaround.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (75-1)
Obviously, there’s a lot that would have to go right, in short order, for this to come to fruition. But it’s hard not to like what Tampa Bay did this offseason. First off, Lovie Smith is a very good coach. Second, they landed a capable veteran quarterback in Josh McCown. Third, they signed some solid free agents, including Alterraun Verner and Anthony Collins. And finally, drafting wideout Mike Evans. The cupboard has been restocked for the Bucs.