“Always Bet on Black”: Best Super Bowl LII Bets

By Ha Kung Wong, Joanne Kong, Scott King and Ryan Whitfield

Ever wander up to the sportsbook in Las Vegas and wonder if you should place a bet on your favorite team to win the Super Bowl?

I have.

But then I remember that my favorite team is the Chicago Bears, who weren’t really good since 1985.  And since I don’t happen to have a time machine handy, the best I can do is place a bet on some other team.  But now that I’ve eliminated one team from contention, there’s still 31 more, most with different odds.  So how does one choose who to place their hard earned money on?  Or at least I’m assuming it’s hard earned.  I suppose you could be a trust fund kid and been given your money, in which case I know a Nigerian prince who could use your help.  Just email me directly and we can work it out.  But I digress.

If you’re betting on a regular season game, perhaps you should follow the advice of Sports Betting Experts.  But if you’re betting on who will win Super Bowl LII, and you’d prefer to avoid the oft used “eeney meeney miney moe” method, then it’s more than just looking at the odds or which team has the best shot at winning.  It’s also considering which team has the best payoff as compared to the risk.

But talk is cheap.  Let’s get down to brass tacks here.  Who would WE place our hard earned money on if we were looking to get the best payout to risk ratio?

Joanne’s Pick – New York Giants

Opening Odds to Win Super Bowl 52: 25-1

Current Odds to Win Super Bowl 52: 20-1

2016 Record: 11-5, second in the NFC East

Important Additions: WR Brandon Marshall, TE Evan Engram

Important Losses: None

The New England Patriots, who have won 5 Super Bowls during the Brady/Belichick era, have 3-1 odds to win Super Bowl LII

But, the last time the Patriots won back-to-back was Super Bowl 38 and 39, in 2004 and 2005, respectively.  So, will history repeat itself, or will we see another team rise from the Patriot’s ashes?  I’m betting on the latter, although every New England fan (like Ryan) would probably disagree.

The Patriots might be the surest bet to win some money, but are the odds and associated payout worth the bet?

Let’s face it.  300-1 odds sound great, but you’re not going to bet on the Cleveland Browns (at least not for Super Bowl LII) or the San Francisco 49ers.  So, which team should you count on with those hard working dollars?

The New York Giants.

Eli Manning

Although the Giants finished 2nd in the NFC East and 11-5 for the 2016 season, the Giants had trouble finding consistent rhythm throughout.  In the post season, the Giants lost the wild card game to the Green Bay Packers (13-38), looking competitive for a half but then completely falling apart, which pretty much sums up the Giants 2016 season.

With 20-1 odds, the Giants have upgraded their weapons.  They’ve added Brandon Marshall (WR) and improved their dismal tight-end position with their first-round draft pick, Evan Engram, both of which will aid quarterback Eli Manning and take some heat off Odell Beckham Jr. (WR).  Although there are still questions concerning the offensive line and running back position, the offense should be better than the previous season.  As for the defense, re-signing of Jason Pierre-Paul, adding 2nd round draft pick, Dalvin Tomlinson (DE) and the return of Olivier Vernon (DE), should together ensure that the defense remains near its 2nd best overall ranking from 2016.  With all this, there’s no reason this team should not be contenders in the NFC.

With the New England Patriots favored for the AFC and a little New York luck, a potential New York Giants vs. New England Patriots Super Bowl LII is a possibility and Vegas seems to agree with 30-1 odds.

The good news?  The New York Giants seemed to be New England’s Kryptonite, being the only team to defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl — twice.

Ha Kung’s Pick – Indianapolis Colts

Opening Odds to Win Super Bowl 52: 25-1

Current Odds to Win Super Bowl 52: 30-1

2016 Record: 8–8, third in the AFC South

Important Additions: S Malik Hooker, CB Quincy Wilson, LB Jabaal Sheard, LB John Simon

Important Losses: TE Dwayne Allen, LB D’Qwell Jackson, S Mike Adams

Since drafting QB Andrew Luck No. 1 overall in the 2012 NFL draft, the Colts have slowly slipped away from relevance on the back of one of the worst defenses in the league.  So the Colts have said “enough is enough” and went whole hog into shoring up the leaks.  They drafted lots of defense, including Malik Hooker, who managed to slip to them after being passed up by offense needy teams, and press cornerback Quincy Wilson, also acquiring two affordable pass rushers in Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, who combined over the last two years for 21.5 sacks.

It’s unfortunate that the Colts didn’t bother to add much on offense, particularly to protect Luck in light of his growing injury history, but perhaps solid ground and receiving options will keep Luck upright.  T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett and newly acquired Kamar Aiken should be a respectable receiving core, and current top TE target Jack Doyle looks to carry significant upside after leading all NFL tight ends in catch rate (78.7%) last season and ranking fifth in red-zone receptions (9).  As for the backfield, although Frank Gore is getting long in the tooth, he’s as reliable as they come and can be spelled by rookie Marlon Mack, the owner of the all-time rushing record at USF.  Even without Mack in 2016, the Colts were still the 10th best rushing offense in the NFL.

Andrew Luck & Frank Gore – AP Photo

Two things may get into the way of success for the Colts in 2017.  One is Luck’s health.  All indications are that he’ll be full go for game one, but it’s tough to be sure as there has been little information about his progress coming off significant shoulder surgery.  Second is the offensive line, which has been less than stellar in the recent past.  Other than drafting Zach Banner, the 6′ 8″, 350-pound USC tackle in the fourth round, little else was done to shore up Luck’s protection.

But even with all the offensive woes the Colts had in 2016, they still ranked 12th in total weighted offense in the NFL by Football Outsiders.  And they’re just getting better and healthier.  Sure, the Pats look like a sure thing at 3-1.  But wouldn’t you want to take a little more risk for a potential 10x higher payout?  I would.

Scott’s Pick – Oakland Raiders

Opening Odds to Win Super Bowl 52: 20-1

Current Odds to Win Super Bowl 52: 12-1

2016 Record: 12–4, second in AFC West, lost in Wild Card Playoff

Important Additions: CB Gareon Conley; TE Jared Cook; RB Marshawn Lynch; DB Obi Melifonwu; OT Marshall Newhouse.

Important Losses: S Nate Allen, CB DJ Hayden, DT Stacy McGee, RB Latavius Murray, LB Malcolm Smith.

Derek Carr – SI.com Photo

Favorites rarely win at anything, and usually get tripped up along the way.  Last year, the Raiders really made huge strides but we weren’t able to see how far they could go in the playoffs with the unfortunate injury to Derek Carr.  I think they continue to move forward and I like the addition of a veteran like Marshawn Lynch in the locker room.  I’m going to put my cabbage down on the Raiders at 12-1.

Ryan’s Pick – New England Patriots

Opening Odds to Win Super Bowl 52: 6-1

Current Odds to Win Super Bowl 52: 3-1

2016 Record: 14–2, first in AFC East. Super Bowl champions.

Important Additions: CB Stephon Gilmore, WR Brandin Cooks, DE Kony Ealy, TE Dwayne Allen, RB Mike Gillislee, LB David Harris.

Important Losses: CB Logan Ryan, RB LeGarrette Blount, TE Martellus Bennett, DL Chris Long.

Tom Brady – AP Photo

Picking the favorite isn’t the bet with the pay off.  And in most years I wouldn’t touch the 3-1 odds on favorites.  But it hasn’t been since the 2003-2004 Patriots team that we’ve seen a defending champ get this much better in terms of personnel.  This Patriots team is a bandwagon that you don’t want to miss and there is no other bet then to bet on them.

Alright, so what are you waiting for?  Get those bets in!  Remember, as Paul Newman said in “The Color of Money” — “A dollar won is twice as sweet as a dollar earned.”  Or as Wesley Snipes said in “Passenger 57” — “Always bet on black.”  Actually, that has nothing to do with this article.  I just really like Wesley Snipes.

Wesley Snipes is cooler than you.

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