Every so often, though, the oddsmakers will overlook a team that has championship ability. It happened most recently in 2017, when the Philadelphia Eagles opened the season with 40-1 odds to win Super Bowl 52. As we all know, they proved everybody wrong, and the bettors who were sharp enough to bet them early cashed in big.
With Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season rapidly approaching, here is a look at three long shots, who actually could win Super Bowl 53.
Odds courtesy of BetDSI as of August 17, 2018.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+1811)
The Jaguars came extremely close to winning the AFC championship in 2017 (remember the quick whistle on the Myles Jack fumble recovery?), and they look like an even better team going into 2018. Their defense is loaded with All-Pro-caliber talent, and is arguably the best defensive unit in the NFL. Their offense remains a question mark because of quarterback Blake Bortles and his inconsistencies, but they do have a workhorse running back (Leonard Fournette), who can help them control the clock.
At the end of the day, the Jaguars have the potential to be a very similar team to the 2015 Denver Broncos. Their defense will carry them, and if Bortles can effectively manage games, they will be a serious Super Bowl threat next January. This is a long shot bet worth making.
Houston Texans (+2213)
Health is a major concern for the Texans, but on paper, they look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Their defense features several All-Pros (J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Tyrann Mathieu, and Jonathan Joseph), and their offense features a game-changing wide receiver (DeAndre Hopkins), one of the premier young quarterbacks in the league (Deshaun Watson), a proven 1,000-yard running back (Lamar Miller), and a solid offensive line.
Bottom line: if their core group of players stays healthy, anything short of a deep postseason run will be unacceptable for the Texans in 2018. And when it comes down to it, they are talented enough to beat any team in the league on any given Sunday.
New York Giants (+4023)
Not a whole lot went right for the Giants in 2017. Still, we believe they have the makings of a bona fide contender in the NFC in 2018. Here’s why.
Eli Manning, despite his age, is a proven winner and leader; Odell Beckham Jr. is healthy and arguably the most explosive offensive player in the NFL today; tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Sterling Shepard are both good enough to contend for Pro Bowl honors and will take a lot of the pressure off Beckham; rookie running back Saquan Barkley looks like the real deal and adds a dimension the Giants have been missing since the retirement of Tiki Barber; left tackle Nate Solder and left guard Will Hernandez will be massive upgrades on their offensive line (which was awful in 2017); and their defense, led by Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Alec Ogletree, Janoris Jenkins, and Eli Apple, should be among the better groups in the league.
Like the other teams on this list, a lot will have to go right for the Giants to win Super Bowl 53. But make no mistake about it, this is a long shot that has the talent to win a Lombardi Trophy.