One week before the NFL regular season begins, we surveyed the futures market to find our best bets.
The Chiefs and Eagles are betting favorites to meet again in Super Bowl LVIII, with BetMGM offering odds at +1400, which is as good a place as any to start with 2023 predictions.
History would suggest that bettors would be wise to expect a different matchup. There has been one instance (Cowboys vs. Bills – Super Bowl XXVIII) where the same teams faced one another in back-to-back Super Bowls.
Given the long list of talented quarterbacks like Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa in the AFC, the Chiefs face a more difficult road than the Eagles in returning to the Super Bowl.
Here are the most intriguing futures we found ahead of Week 1:
–Eagles to win the NFC (+330 at FanDuel)
When we examine the NFC at the most important position, quarterback, the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts appears to be head and shoulders above the competition.
Philadelphia finished with the highest margin of victory (9.3 points per game) in 2022 despite Hurts missing two weeks due to a shoulder injury.
For a second straight season, the Eagles pulled off another impressive draft haul, landing two defenders in the first round with Georgia’s Jalen Carter (ninth overall) and Nolan Smith (30th overall), who should boost the league-leading pass rush.
The Eagles used their fourth-round pick on another Bulldog in cornerback Kelee Ringo (105th overall). Ringo will join Illinois safety Sydney Brown (66th overall) in the secondary, which already features quality depth at cornerback.
In the second round, Philadelphia selected Alabama offensive tackle Tyler Steen (65th overall), and all five players could see plenty of action early on.
And the team addressed Hurts’ backup spot by signing Marcus Mariota. That depth and the lack of proven, quality quarterbacks in the NFC make Philadelphia the likelier of the two Super Bowl teams to get back to the big game.
–Bengals to win the AFC (+550 at FanDuel)
Bonus: Bengals vs. Eagles Super Bowl exacta (+2000 at BetMGM)
We already know the Bengals believe they’re the biggest challenge to the Chiefs.
The Bengals dodged a bullet with Burrow when their franchise quarterback suffered a non-contact calf injury during training camp. Although things looked grim initially, the Bengals plan to have Burrow ready for Week 1, and he was back at practice this week.
After narrowly losing to the Chiefs by a field goal in the AFC Championship Game, the Bengals retooled their roster, receiving an A for their offseason grade from Pro Football Focus.
Cincinnati bolstered its offensive line, snagging Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. on a four-year deal.
In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bengals used their first three picks to strengthen their defense with Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy (28th overall), Michigan cornerback DJ Turner (60th overall) and Alabama safety Jordan Battle (95th overall).
If there’s one team that can supplant the Chiefs in the AFC, it’s the Bengals. It’s worth noting that Cincinnati is 3-1 against Kansas City with Burrow under center.
But Cincinnati isn’t the only team with a legitimate shot to take down the champs.
–Ravens to win the AFC (+1100 at Caesars)
Bonus: Ravens vs. Eagles Super Bowl exacta (+4000 at BetMGM)
Healthy and happy, quarterback Lamar Jackson enters the 2023 season with the security of a new long-term contract. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if questions about his durability dissipate for good.
Let’s not forget that Jackson is still only 26 years old. The Ravens are 46-19 (.708) with the former MVP as their starting quarterback.
Baltimore’s defense finished the year seventh overall in Football Outsiders DVOA (defense adjusted value over average) metric. And despite opting not to re-sign veteran players like edge rushers Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul and Steven Means in free agency, the roster appears deep enough to withstand those losses.
Young edge rushers David Ojabo, Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser should be ready to take on more responsibility in pressure packages.
The Ravens are also well-positioned to overcome the loss of free agents Marcus Peters and Kyle Fuller at the cornerback position.
Veteran Rock Ya-Sin will join three-time Pro Bowl selection Marlon Humphrey in the secondary.
There are a few new toys to play with at the wide receiver position after the Ravens signed the dynamic Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year deal. Beckham could form a scintillating partnership alongside Baltimore’s 22nd overall pick, Zay Flowers (Boston College).
Flowers has been a much-discussed player in Baltimore for his potential to make a big impact.
–Field Level Media