Raybon: Only 11 NFL Teams Are Worth a Super Bowl 54 Futures Bet

Raybon: Only 11 NFL Teams Are Worth a Super Bowl 54 Futures Bet article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: DeAndre Hopkins, Lamar Jackson, Von Miller

  • Where a team ranks in DVOA at the end of the season is a strong predictor of its Super Bowl chances for the following season.
  • Chris Raybon uses DVOA to identify which teams are worth a Super Bowl 54 futures bet as well as to project the odds to win for each contender.

Super Bowl 54 odds have been released for all 32 NFL teams, but history tells us that bookmakers might as well have not even bothered posting them for roughly two-thirds of them.

With all due respect to the unbridled optimism that permeates every NFL fanbase at this time of year, most teams’ Super Bowl chances are already closer to zero than the number of factual statements at a Roger Goodell press conference.

Why?

A team’s end-of-season ranking in Football Outsiders’ DVOA provides an overwhelmingly strong indication of whether it will win a Super Bowl the following season.

Since the DVOA database dates back to 1986, there are 32 Super Bowl champions we have prior season data for.

  • 30-of-32 (93.8%) finished the season before winning the Super Bowl ranked 13th or better in overall DVOA
  • 30-of-32 (93.8%) also finished the previous season ranked seventh or better in at least one phase (offense, defense or special teams)

The outliers in cases in which teams finished worse than 13th in overall DVOA and didn’t rank better than eighth in any one phase were the 1999 Rams and 2001 Patriots. And there are reasonable explanations for both.

The Rams were 4-12 in 1998, but acquired future Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk and handed the reigns over to a little-known former Arena Football quarterback named Kurt Warner ahead of the 1999 season.

The Patriots went 5-11 in 2000, but that was also the year drafted a seventh-round passer who still refuses to stop winning championships.

Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK. Pictured: Former St. Louis Rams quarterback (13) Kurt Warner

No matter where you stand in regard to the odds of a similar recurrence, the bottom line is that there’s better than a 90% chance that we already know exactly which teams won’t win the Super Bowl in 2019.

Here are the 11 teams that do make the cut:

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