If you love defense, you loved Super Bowl 53. The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 last Sunday in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all-time; the Pats covered as 3-point favorites on the NFL betting lines, and sailed Under the posted total of 56.5. While it was a close contest until the late minutes of the fourth quarter, New England dominated possession and could have won handily, had it not been for several first-half miscues that kept the Rams in the game.
With their record-tying sixth Super Bowl victory, the Patriots’ dynasty will continue for at least one more season. And while the Rams may have been out-classed on Sunday, they’re still a young team with plenty of upside – and they’ll head into the 2020 campaign hungry to take that next step forward.
Even before Super Bowl 53 kicked off, the Patriots and Rams were +700 co-favorites on the Super Bowl 54 odds board at Bovada Sportsbook. But winning the title has put New England over the top for now. Here are the four leading contenders at press time, and a special look at some of the underdogs who might out-perform their NFL lines in 2020.
The Patriots will presumably have another year with Bill Belichick as their head coach and Tom Brady as their quarterback. And they will still be in the AFC East next year, which is like getting a golden ticket to the playoffs before the season even starts. But their Super Bowl 2020 odds aren’t as short as they have been following other championship runs. That’s because this was a relatively weak Patriots team, the competition level is high, and TE Rob Gronkowski may or may not be back next year.
It was almost shocking how poorly Los Angeles played on Super Bowl Sunday. Credit the Patriots’ defense for stepping up, but the Rams’ coaches will have to go back to the drawing board if they want to win the title in 2020, let alone beat the NFL Vegas odds. Drafting some more targets for QB Jared Goff seems even more important after Sunday’s result; at least they’ll have the first crack at someone like Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. now that they’re selecting at No. 31 and New England at No. 32.
How close did the Chiefs come to winning the Super Bowl this year? Achingly close; they had the best AFC Divisional odds of anyone, then fell to the Patriots in overtime in the Conference round. Newly-minted league MVP Patrick Mahomes will carry big expectations at quarterback, but Kansas City will need to load up on the defensive side of the ball at this year’s draft – otherwise, Mahomes’ considerable talents will be squandered.
Have the Chargers finally turned the corner? Their window of opportunity is small with Philip Rivers at quarterback, but after a healthy 2019 campaign (linebackers notwithstanding), the Bolts proved they have what it takes to compete with the best. However, they’ll need more help in the trenches to keep their NFL playoff betting odds from slipping away in 2020. Good thing Los Angeles have all their draft picks in what should be a deep and talented player pool.
The NFC Divisional odds almost looked good for the Chicago Bears (+1200) this year, but they got tripped up by the Philadelphia Eagles (+2000) on Wild Card Weekend. Either team could end up on top in 2020; the Bears are in their ascendancy, while the Eagles will need QB Carson Wentz to stay healthy if they’re actually going to go ahead and trade Nick Foles, their Super Bowl MVP from the 2017 campaign. Don’t overlook the Seattle Seahawks (+4000) after their late-season surge.
PAside from the awful AFC East, this was the dominant conference in 2018, and they’ll be loaded for bear come September. The Pittsburgh Steelers (+1600) should be competitive again if they can keep their roster intact; the Baltimore Ravens (+3000) have a full season of QB Lamar Jackson to look forward to, and the Houston Texans (+4000) feel the same way about QB Deshaun Watson – again, if he can stay healthy. Keep checking in with Bovada for the latest NFL playoff odds for the 2019 campaign, and watch out as well for the upcoming CFL season kicking off in June.
*Odds as of February 6, 2019