Technically speaking, the road to Super Bowl 51 is already underway, with teams trading players and coaches strategizing on how to improve their teams in readiness for the real battle in the 2016-17 regular-season NFL betting odds and the playoffs that will culminate with winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy. On paper, all the 32 teams in the NFL have a shot at the odds to win Super Bowl 51, but in reality, only a handful teams have what it takes to challenge for the nation’s most-prized sports trophy. Based on the current rudimentary outlook of the league, here are the teams you should back or fade in the Super Bowl 51 picks. Mind you, we won’t be talking about your usual favored suspects like New England and Seattle or your regular bottom-dwellers like Tennessee and Jacksonville; our focus will be on the obscure Super Bowl 51 picks.
Best and Worst Value Super Bowl 51 Betting Picks
Best Super Bowl 51 Value Picks
With the defending Super Bowl Champs, the Denver Broncos, seeing one QB head off into Sunset with his Retirement and the other being signed by the Houston Texans via Free Agency, General Manager John Elway suddenly has finds himself in a dilemma that entails signing a QB via Free Agency or getting someone from the current roster (Trevor Siemian) to work with. In spite of all that QB drama, the Broncos are likely to remain among the top teams in the nation, owing to the stifling nature of their juggernaut defense that has remained pretty much intact from last year.
Green Bay Packers
The mercurial Aaron Rodgers and the Packers managed a 10-6 regular season and a lively showing in the in the playoffs, but their success ceiling was limited, mainly because of a series of injuries in the course of the year. It looks highly improbable than the Packers will be struggling in the offense like they did last year, given that Rodgers will be getting some his dependable starters back in the team, including star receiver Jordy Nelson who is on course for a return from his season-ending ACL injury in 2015. Meanwhile, the Green Bay defense, which finished ninth in DVOA last season, will return nine of its 11 starters, and if the Packers can patch up both the O and D lines in the team, Rodgers and gang should be good for a deep run in the playoffs, possibly all the way to the Super Bowl 51 game.
Like the Packers, the Steelers weren’t able to have a better regular season record because of injuries rather than the lack of talent. You can’t, however, deny that the Steelers had a fun-to-watch run to the playoffs and decent postseason showing, one that could get better if the team is able to stay healthy. With Antonio Brown, DeAngelo Williams and Le’Veon Bell all healthy and clicking with QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh’s offense will be in beast mode. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers’ investments on the defensive side over the last couple of years have already started to pay dividends, as was witnessed last year, and with the draft and trade windows still open, Pittsburgh should be more than capable of becoming the best team in the AFC with a chance to reach Super Bowl LI in the upcoming season.
Worst Super Bowl 51 Picks
New York Jets
After a spirited 10-win season that could have actually been better had the Jets finished the season as strongly as they started it, the Jets find themselves in a not-so-looking-good-situation ahead of the new season. For starters, the Jets have a lot uncertainty at quarterback, and without an elite QB to lead the team, the Jets can only fly so high. Meanwhile, the Jets hope of making the postseason look grim, given that the New York franchise will face ten teams in 2016-17 season that won 8-or-more games last year, with their 2016 opponents having a whopping +365 in the point differential category. With that, the loyal New York fans will probably have to wait another year for a chance to solidly compete for the Super Bowl trophy that has eluded them for quite some time now.
San Francisco 49ers
All the writings on the wall at the start of last season screamed that it was a bad idea for the Niners to fire long-serving coach Jim Harbaugh. And to their credit, the 49ers did nothing to dispel those talks, finishing the season with a pathetic 5-11 mark. Fast-forward to their preparations for a rebuilding season, the odds for improvement still look bad. New head coach Chip Kelly, who was brought to San Francisco in a splashy offseason move, failed to succeed with the Philadelphia Eagles last year in spite of having tons of talented players at his disposal. In San Francisco, with far less talent compared to the team he previously coached in Philly, you wouldn’t expect him to do any better, would you? Making matters worse, the 16 opponents the 49ers face this season had a sizeable +590 point differential in 2015, guarantying an uphill task for San Francisco. So, unless you are expecting some cosmic miracle (of which I don’t think would help here anyway), stay away from the 49ers and their playoff odds, leave alone feature strongly in the Super Bowl 51 odds.