2021 Super Bowl Dark Horse Picks

Every year there are a couple of teams who have odds that are not representative of how good the team truly is. Now, that makes it no guarantee that the team will win a Super Bowl, but it does allow you to get some amazing value when betting on them.

A lot of the time, these are teams that have slowly gotten better and are overshadowed by more media-hyped teams in their division. Due to this slow progression, bettors, analysts, etc., did not realize that maybe this team was just one last step away from competing in a Super Bowl and maybe going on to win said Super Bowl.

Washington Football Team

Pre-Draft DraftKings Odds: +5,000

washington football teamThe reigning NFC East champions are not getting the respect that they deserve, and not enough people are talking about this team as a true Super Bowl contender. First, let us talk about last year. I think a game that shows what makes this team special is the playoff loss against the Buccaneers. I truly believe no team came close in the playoffs to matching Washinton’s performance against the eventual Super Bowl champs. The defense played well, and the team was able to put up 23 points with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback.

Going into this year, what makes Washington a true Super Bowl team is the defense. Washington had the second-best yards per play stat as a defense with 4.9 and the 4th best points against at 329. This is all while the offense was unable to do anything due to the issues at quarterback. There is no front-4 that even comes close to what Washington has with Chase, Payne, Allen, and Sweat. Then, the secondary is solid and even added William Jackson after losing Ronald Darby. The only weakness for the defense is linebacker, which I am sure the team will address in the draft. Washington is a Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah-type player away from being the best defense in the league.

Can the offense do enough to be a Super Bowl contender? I truly believe so. I think that Fitzpatrick is good enough to lead a team and take them to the promised land. He is not incredible, but he has incredible weapons around him. Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas are all great and much better than what Fitzpatrick had to work with in Miami. The team could still add another receiving threat and improve the left side of the offensive line in the draft, and if they do that, then I am smashing the Super Bowl bet for Washington.

In the first 90 picks, the Washington Football Team holds four of them at 19, 51, 74, and 82. The team can address these three weaker spots on the team and do so with top talents that can start. This draft is deep. I am fully onboard the Washington hype train.

Denver Broncos

Pre-Draft DraftKings Odds: +6,000

denver broncosThe Denver Broncos have one of the best defensive football minds in Vic Fangio. Now, with a healthy defense and revamped secondary, the team has some of the best defensive talent in the NFL to match that great mind. We saw it with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; you need great defense and a solid offense that moves the ball to win a championship. Well, the Broncos are literally only one piece away from having all of that.

If Trey Lance, Justin Fields, or even Mac Jones falls to the Broncos at 9, then I believe this team is instantly a competitor for a Super Bowl. Let us look at the offensive weapons that this young QB would have at his disposal. First off, a strong WR #1 who can get separation but also win all his 50/50 balls in Courtland Sutton. Then, Jerry Jeudy, a first-round WR who is a top-10 route runner already in the NFL; he will be wide open on most plays for his QB. Next in the receiving corpses is KJ Hamler, another high draft capital pick. Hamler has elite speed and will be terrifying out of the slot. Noah Fant is one of the most athletic and versatile tight ends in the league. Melvin Gordon is a top-tier running back who is a great security blanket for a young QB. This offense is scary.

The only issue right now is that Drew Lock is simply not talented enough to take advantage of all the weapons. If a QB can come in and just be accurate while executing the game plan, then this offense can compete with the Chargers and Chiefs in the AFC West. The team is in the perfect position to go and get that QB of the future at #9 overall, most likely via a trade-up.

Going back over to the defense, there really is nowhere to attack this team. The line is strong, and the EDGE rushing combo of Bradley Chubb and Von Miller is one of, if not the best in the league. Then, you now have Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Justin Simmon, and Kareem Jackson in the secondary, YEESH. That is a scary secondary to face, especially under the pressure that Vic Fangio can throw at your QB. The NFL is a passing league now, and you will not want to pass against the Broncos.

Josey Jewell has been solid in the center of the linebacking core, but if the Broncos can find another solid athletic ILB in the draft, then this defense will basically be complete.

The Broncos are a few good draft moves away from being a Super Bowl competitor. If the team can achieve those moves, it is very likely that these odds go shorter and shorter by the time the season starts. This is why I like the extremely long +6,000 odds that you are getting right now. The offense needs a QB and maybe one offensive lineman. The defense could use a big DT and ILB. That is a very, very short list of needs.

The Hail Mary: New York Jets

Pre-Draft DraftKings Odds: +8,000

new york jetsThe Jets have the second-longest odds in the NFL, only ahead of the Lions and Texans. However, with a new regime coming in, alongside a new star-rookie QB, I really believe that the Jets could have a one-year turnaround.

First of all, Robert Salah is coming over after running a successful defense in San Francisco. Now, I might be a bit worried about this being his first-ever head coaching stint, but the defense that he is putting together is actually pretty solid. The defensive line with Quinnen Williams, Folorunso Fatukasi, and Sheldon Rankins, is great. Plus Car Lawson rushing from OLB is terrifying. All of these guys grade out as good to elite under PFF’s grading system. The linebacking core is solid with Jarrad Davis and Blake Cashman. Meanwhile, the team has one of the best FS in the league with Marcus Maye. LaMarcus Joyner is also a great nickel CB as a safety/slot hybrid.

The only place Salah will need to improve is at cornerback. However, he has picks 23, 34, 66, and 86 to accomplish whatever he needs to. That is following No. 2 overall, which will be used on Zach Wilson.

On offense, the team went out and got a complimentary WR that will help Zach Wilson during his rookie campaign in Corey Davis. The starting trio of Davis, Mims, and Crowder is actually a pretty great receiving corpse to work with. Chris Herndon at tight end will hopefully take a step forward and also pose a threat to defenses.

However, where the new Jets scheme will make its money will be on the ground. Mike LaFleur is coming over from the 49ers after helping coordinate the offensive scheme with Kyle Shanahan, the best offensive mind in football. He will be able to coordinate the run and create perfect lanes for whatever rookie running back the Jets bring in.

While the offensive line is not amazing, it has a solid building block with Mekhi Becton, one of the best rookie LTs that I have ever watched on tape. With those four remaining picks in the first three rounds, the Jets could grab a star cornerback, an upgrade on the offensive line, one of the big three running backs, and another good corner or linebacker.

When you give a team all that talent, I am going to like their +8,000 odds as a nice Hail Mary play for my Super Bowl winners.

Matthew is a UC Berkeley economic and philosophy graduate. He has played DFS, Football pools, and survival leagues for most of his adult life. Matthew brings to the table great strategies for both your GPP and Cash plays as well as a winning track record with his picks of the week.

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