Through five weeks, the NFL is starting to take shape and it seems as though we have a clearer picture of which teams are true contenders and which teams are merely knocking on the door. Consequently, the futures market reflects this perception, even though the playoffs do not begin for another three months.
Super Bowl options
The Chiefs fell flat in the weekend's biggest game and now find themselves under .500 at 2-3. It's nearly impossible for us to envision these struggles to continue, given we have only seen them succeed with an MVP at quarterback that's coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. While I realize things can change and their next three opponents are Washington, Tennessee and the Giants, the Chiefs defense is atrocious and that likely will prove insurmountable. The fact that they only have the third-shortest odds at +750 is wild. I cannot recommend a play. Remember, the "Super Bowl hangover" has been proven over time. The 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2018 Patriots are the only teams to lose a Super Bowl and win it the following season.
A week ago, in this very space, I explained how 20/1 odds seemed like a strike price for an emerging Los Angeles Chargers squad. Following a home win over Cleveland, the Chargers now have 16/1 odds. I still think it's an attractive price for two reasons. First, following that third loss, Kansas City sits two full games back and lost the first meeting with L.A. at home. Second, the Bolt travel to Baltimore on Sunday and then have a favorable schedule remaining, all things considered.
What if the resurgent Dallas Cowboys defense is legitimate? It's hard to constantly dismiss it, just because of last season's shortcomings on defense under a different coordinator that was constantly put in difficult situations by an offense that had lost star QB Dak Prescott to injury. Dallas is the only NFL team this season that's 5-0 ATS and sure seems like an intriguing play at 14/1 odds. The Cowboys are now favored by four points in New England. Yes, Mike McCarthy is laying more than a field goal at Bill Belichick. Before the season, the Pats were a short a home favorite of about one point.
Super Bowl futures
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +550
Buffalo Bills +550
Kansas City Chiefs+750
Los Angeles Rams +850
Green Bay Packers +1200
Baltimore Ravens +1200
Arizona Cardinals +1300
Cleveland Browns +1400
Dallas Cowboys +1400
Los Angeles Chargers +1600
As I predicted, Buffalo's win moved Josh Allen into serious MVP consideration. He's now a betting co-favorite with Kyler Murray at +500. I just cannot pull the trigger on either or any of the other top five players: Tom Brady, Prescott and Justin Herbert.
I wouldn't blame anyone for backing NFC quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers or Matthew Stafford at 11/1 odds. Their teams, the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams, are tied with the Tampa Bay Bucs with one loss and are just a game back of undefeated Arizona. The question is whether one of them can lead their team to the one-seed. Personally, I would wait longer to see if I can anticipate more outcomes and then try to find value in this one-way betting market.
Other awards to watch
Although five quarterbacks were drafted within the first 15 picks in this year's NFL Draft, a wide receiver is now the betting favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Ja'Marr Chase (+375) has reunited with his former college teammate, Burrow, and sits seventh with 456 receiving yards and is tied for second with five receiving touchdowns.
I recommended it last week and I'll do the same now. Dak Prescott is only -190 to win Comeback Player of the Year. It's as much of a sure thing as there is in the betting world. The quarterback is currently sitting fourth in the MVP betting board and it sure looks like only a serious injury would jeopardize his path to cementing this honor. Joe Burrow (+750) is part of the discussion and so is Jameis Winston (12/1).