2021 Super Bowl Betting Preview

Hail to the Kansas City Chiefs. It took them 50 years to win their second Super Bowl, which they did in style, coming back to beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 as 1.5-point favorites on the NFL betting lines. This was after starting the new season as +800 second favorites on the 2020 Super Bowl odds list at Bovada Sportsbook.

You could have made the case that Kansas City had betting value at No. 2 behind the defending champion New England Patriots (+700). But things look very different heading into the 2020-21 campaign. The Chiefs have opened as the clear favorites on the NFL Vegas odds for Super Bowl LV, even though there’s ample competition laying in wait for next year. Here’s how the top three contenders stack up on the NFL futures market at Bovada, along with three viable outsiders and three long shots who hope to pull off what the Niners (+3300) nearly accomplished on Super Bowl Sunday.

2021 Super Bowl Contenders

1. Kansas City Chiefs (+450)

As heartwarming as it was to see head coach Andy Reid finally get his due, the Chiefs will find it difficult to repeat their success in 2020-21. They’ll need to sign QB Patrick Mahomes to a contract extension, and they’ll have the last pick (No. 32 overall) in the first round of the NFL Draft, which will be held in late April.

2. Baltimore Ravens (+600)

This is the team that most closely resembles the 2019-20 Kansas City squad. They were arguably one step away from true greatness this past season; QB Lamar Jackson won the regular-season MVP award, but his decision-making and accuracy weren’t there during the playoffs. Having a full year under his belt should help the Ravens make that final push in 2020-21.

3. San Francisco 49ers (+700)

The Niners nearly pulled off one of the biggest heists on the NFL odds board, but passive play-calling by head coach Kyle Shanahan may have spelled their doom. Shanahan doesn’t deserve the flak he’s been getting, though. Perhaps he’ll follow the same path as Reid, who was criticized for poor clock management before finally winning his first Super Bowl.

2021 Super Bowl Underdogs

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (+2000)

Third-tier contenders often have the best value on the NFL lines, and the Steelers are one of several high-profile teams looking to bounce back after a spate of injuries squashed their 2019-20 hopes. Getting QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) back on the field should make Pittsburgh a well-balanced contender for Super Bowl LV.

2. Seattle Seahawks (+2000)

The Seahawks were inches away from taking the No. 1 seed in the NFC away from San Francisco. They may have gotten over the hump had they not lost both RB Chris Carson and RB Rashaad Penny to injury before the playoffs. We’ll see how the ‘Hawks reload for 2020-21 after enjoying a solid draft (including second-round wideout DK Metcalf) in 2019.

3. Los Angeles Chargers (+3300)

Modeling their defense after Seattle’s helped the Chargers make the playoffs two years ago, but they fell to 5-11 last year after only securing a league-low 14 takeaways. This is one of those high-variance stats that’s begging for some regression to the mean next year. But what will their offense look like if QB Philip Rivers is indeed on his way out?

2021 Super Bowl Long Shots

1. Carolina Panthers (+7000)

Speaking of new beginnings, the Panthers will start the 2020-21 campaign with a new head coach in Matt Rhule, and presumably a new quarterback to replace Cam Newton. The right replacement could be enough to get this defensively-stout team (against the pass, at least) back to the Big Game.

2. Detroit Lions (+7500)

QB Matthew Stafford missed the second half of the 2019 season with a broken back. He’s the be-all and end-all of Detroit’s offense; in theory, they have a quality defense waiting for his return, although head coach Matt Patricia has yet to put his stamp on this unit.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (+10000)

Nick Foles wasn’t healthy enough to work his Super Bowl magic from two years ago. However, the Jags appear to have a quality back-up in Gardner Minshew II, in case Foles isn’t able to cut it next season. Having two first-round picks (Nos. 9 and 20) this April won’t hurt, either.

*Odds as of February 21, 2020