Long term Ante post bets are not for everyone. There’s only a small percentage of people that immediately pull up Super Bowl outright markets as soon as the season has finished. I find myself in that small percentage as this is where value can be found, especially if you are looking for teams that you think will improve considerably in the offseason not only in the draft, but in the impending free agency “frenzy” starting next week.
After tipping the Philadelphia Eagles last year (amongst some other picks that worked out not quite so well) as well as an indication that the Jags aren’t far away, I’ve decided to take an early look at some teams that could give you a decent run for your money at decent prices.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 28/1
It’s only right that I start with the Jaguars as I mentioned them in an ante post piece last year as one to keep an eye on. Whilst the price could’ve been a bit more juicy had they not made the playoffs after coming from the clouds to win the AFC South and also their wildcard round win against the Chargers, there is certainly plenty to like about how they’ve righted the ship with Doug Pederson after Urban Meyer’s car crash of an attempt and as a non T-Law believer, he could be on the path to proving me wrong.
If the upward trajectory continues with this team, 28/1 could look quite big.
They are in a terrible division where the Titans seemed to be regressing and could hit the reset button at any time with Henry and Tannehill looking like they are near the end of their roads, the Colts look certain to do the same and draft a rookie QB in this year’s draft but have an overpaid offensive line relative to their levels of performance and the Texans….yeaaaah.
It seems that it is almost certain that they’ll reach the playoffs, and host a game, again this year and at this stage, that’s all you can ask for. The Jags were top 10 in a lot of offensive metrics in 2023 and ended the regular season with 6 wins out of 7, taking down the likes of Dallas,
Calvin Ridley looks set to return to the NFL in 2023 after his suspension relating to gambling and adds another dimension to an offence with the franchise-tagged Evan Engram who has career highs in receptions and yards, similar comments apply to the big free agency signing from last year Christian Kirk. Travis Etienne lived up to his 1st round draft capital in his first taste of NFL action.
The defence, young and hungry led by linebackers Foyesade Oluokun and Devin Lloyd will need to improve as a unit on their 2022 performances in order to get to the big game.
It will seem weird not seeing Jacksonville early in the NFL draft order over the next 5-10 (barring injuries/trades etc), but I’m sure their fans (both in the US and UK) will not mind one bit.
New York Jets – 24/1 (VBet)
The Jets seem certain to upgrade the Quarterback position this offseason. Zach Wilson linked to moves away, Aaron Rodgers has said he’ll be playing there and if just waiting for the teams to sort out his trade,
The Jets put up some fantastic defensive performances last year and in only 3 games did teams score 27 points or more on them (2 of which were playoffs teams last season). Gang green amassed a 7-10 record. 6 of those wins came before their week 10 bye. Wins at Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Denver on paper don’t look that impressive considering the state of those teams, but as Jets fans who have suffered for long enough, it’s at least a signal of intent from Robert Saleh’s men that things are looking up. A home victory vs the Bills was their statement victory just before their bye and succumbed to issues with the QBs as well as the carousel along with the season-ending injury to Breece Hall, who looked explosive and should be ready from the get go in 2023 provided his ACL injury doesn’t see him lose any of that.
Their Wide Receiver room is varied and talented with the newly crowned offensive rookie of the year Garrett Wilson leading the way but have a lot of capable players for Rodgers to utilise should he join.
If they can stop the bleeding on teams rushing on them, they could easily challenge the Bills for the AFC East. Sauce Gardner proved every bit of his 4th overall pick landing the defensive rookie award and the combination with him and DJ Reed proved hard to beat with any ease.
The price is a bit short for my liking, but if Aaron Rodgers walks through the door, you’ll see it tumble further (as indicated by only Vbet having 24/1 with everywhere else a lot shorter).
Cleveland Browns – 40/1
Bit of a harder case to make here and the Browns threatened to throw their promising last few years out the window with the trade for Deshaun Watson however, if Watson manages to shake off the rest of his rust and find some sort of his old Texans form, there is a path that finds the Browns into the playoffs. Lamar Jackson looks certain to be heading for the exit door in Baltimore and the Steelers don’t convince me with that offensive line. The Bengals will be around for a few years but they are beatable as proved by their victory against them at home with Jacoby Brissett.
They too have enough pieces on offence and defence that warrant consideration at the prices but won’t get a chance to add to their roster in the 1st round of this year’s draft and aren’t sitting pretty with cap space.
Seattle Seahawks – 66/1
Geno Smith has just signed a deserved contract with the Seahawks and will lead the team once again next season. The Seahawks played some really good football last season, something which is synonymous with Pete Carroll coached teams. Kenneth Walker fit like a glove at running back and run his legs into the ground behind an offensive line that had two rookie tackles that played beyond expectations and could provide solid foundation for the Seahawk’s notorious love for the run game, whilst Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf continued to do what they do.
They have 2 1st and 2nd round picks courtesy of Denver which will help them beef up the defence once more as it seems their 2022 class on the offensive side was a big success.
One to watch: Detroit Lions – 33/1
There seems to be a theme for all the teams that have found their way into this shortlist, teams where the fanbases have suffered for a long long time. The Detroit Lions probably can argue for the longest about that particular element but the pieces are starting to fit together for Dan Campbell’s team and whilst Jared Goff is not going to win any team a Super Bowl, they have pieces on both sides of the ball which can be built upon. Pick 18 in this year’s draft may not get them a QB that is the highest on their big boards and they’ve committed to Goff this year, but that may be a blessing in disguise as there are plenty of Quarterbacks in this year’s class that may allow them to take one and let sit for a year.