Super Bowl Bets: Browns, Buccaneers and Bills Headline Favorite NFL Bets for Super Bowl LVI, Conference Championship
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images. Pictured: Browns’ Myles Garrett (left) and Baker Mayfield (right) celebrate.
Which team has the best chance of taking it all in Super Bowl LVI this season? The 2021 NFL season is nearly upon us and our betting experts weighed in on exactly what teams you should be looking at to win the Super Bowl and come out atop their division and conference this year.
The Buccaneers are still reeling from their Super Bowl victory last season — the first to ever happen in a team’s home stadium — but are they equipped to defend their title? No team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since Tom Brady’s Patriots in 2003 and 2004, so this might be the year for him to run it back with Tampa Bay.
Meanwhile in Cleveland, the Browns seem to have gotten the recipe right with Baker Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski — now it’s time to see just how deep a playoff run this team can have.
Before we get into the bets, here’s a breakdown of some of your top questions as we look toward Super Bowl LVI. (Click here to skip to our favorite bets.)
When is Super Bowl LVI?
Date: February 13, 2022
The NFL’s new 17-game schedule pushed the game back by one week.
Where is Super Bowl LVI?
Stadium: SoFi Stadium
Location: Los Angeles, California
The 2022 Super Bowl will be played in SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers’ new home as of September 2020 located near Los Angeles in Inglewood.
How to Watch Super Bowl LVI?
TV channel: NBC
Our Top Super Bowl, Conference and Division Bets
Browns to Win Super Bowl (+1600) at FanDuel
Brandon Anderson: This really might be Cleveland’s year. Last year it was the offense that all came together. The offensive line is the best in the league, and Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the NFL’s best 1-2 combo at running back. That opens everything up in the play action, and the return of Odell Beckham Jr. could stretch the field.
Baker Mayfield posted modest numbers last season and some of the underlying metrics make it look like Cleveland should regress, but those numbers forget a few of the ugly weather games the team played early and how well Mayfield and the Browns played late once they got their footing.
If this team is truly going to contend for the Super Bowl, though, it’ll be because the defense comes together this year. Jadeveon Clowney is a huge addition and has never played opposite as fearsome a pass rusher as Myles Garrett, who could be a Defensive Player of the Year contender. Garrett and lead corner Denzel Ward missed key time last year but are back now. Troy Hill, Anthony Walker, Malik Jackson and John Johnson were other key veteran additions, while Greg Newsome and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are big-time rookies ready to make a difference. Cleveland also returns Grant Delpit and Greedy Williams from injury.
That’s 11 difference makers on D that basically weren’t there last year for one of the league’s most injured defenses. If that defense comes together by season’s end, this could prove to be a bargain. Cleveland has the eighth Super Bowl odds, but would be fourth or fifth on my board. The only hesitation? The Browns play in Kansas City Week 1, so if you’re willing to wait a week, you might get an even better price.
Here’s five reasons why I’m so high on the Bills:
1. Elite Quarterback: I believe in Josh Allen, who has proven himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. You’re pretty much not winning a Super Bowl in 2021 without one. This is an elite offense.
2. First-Rate Coaching: An elite coaching staff that knows how to call a game. They have also made top-notch adjustments on both sides of the ball midway through each of the past two seasons. I also think they learned a great deal from that Kansas City loss in the postseason.
3. Trending Metrics: The Bills had a very good overall season in 2021, but the trending numbers in the second half of the season were even better after the offensive line started to gel and the defense implemented a few schematic changes.
4. Defensive Additions: Don’t sleep on the return of defensive tackle Star Lotulelei at the one-technique. That should help with the interior run defense and also allow Ed Oliver to slide over to his more natural three-technique defensive tackle. I also really liked the defensive additions off the edge this past offseason. This defense has a very high upside if it can stay healthy.
5. Division Dynamic: I’m much lower on the Dolphins than the market and think the ceiling of both them and the Patriots is limited by inexperience at quarterback. I’m also lower than the market on the Jets. As a result, despite winning the AFC East last year, I have the Bills with one of the three easiest schedules in the NFL and think they have a better shot at winning their division — and of also getting the No. 1 seed — than the market implies, which obviously contributes to value when it comes to the Super Bowl future.
I bet them at 14-1 a few months ago and still like it down to 12-1, which you can still find at FanDuel and other sportsbooks if you shop around.
Buccaneers to Win NFC Championship (+300) at BetMGM
Chris Raybon: Tom Brady has reached the Super Bowl in 10 of his 21 pro seasons, or 47.6% of the time. The odds imply a probability of only half that. The Bucs have a stupid-easy schedule. Especially considering they’re Super Bowl champs, and they returned pretty much every player of consequence from their championship-winning team. I’d bet this one to +150.
Buccaneers to win NFC South (-190) at BetMGM
Sean Koerner: Last season, the Buccaneers were the only team to finish in the top five of Football Outsiders’ DVOA for both offense (third) and defense (fifth). They were also able to hang onto all 22 starters from their Super Bowl-winning team.
For these reasons, it seems foolish to fade them in any way heading into 2021, but my projections do show potential value in them finishing under their 12-win total.
The Bucs had the best injury luck of 2020, according to Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Games Lost metric. It’s nearly a given they will face more adversity when it comes to injuries in 2021. They were also fortunate to go 11-5 based on their average time leading/tied/trailing. My expected wins formula had them closer to an 8.3-win team based on their splits.
While I still consider the Bucs a legit Super Bowl contender and have them at No. 2 in my power ratings, they are due for some slight regression in 2021. I’m projecting them closer to 11.5 wins this season.
All that said, I do see value in taking the Bucs to win the NFC South at -190 (BetMGM). It will be a much weaker division this year, and they don’t need to win 13+ games to finish first.
Here are how many wins the NFC South winner had in my simulations:
- 11 or fewer: 44.6%
- 12 exactly: 24.4%
- 13 or more: 31.0%