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2023 Super Bowl Debate: Who's the Team to Back Following the NFL Draft?

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2023 Super Bowl Debate: Who's the Team to Back Following the NFL Draft?
Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills looks to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs. Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images via AFP.

With the 2022 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, we turn our full attention toward the 2023 Super Bowl when it comes to NFL betting. Our NFL experts debate who to back in the early Super Bowl futures markets.

The odds to win the 2023 Super Bowl have been posted at our top-rated U.S. sportsbooks since early February. Free agency, trades, and the 2022 NFL Draft have all impacted the early odds. While further shake-ups are sure to come via additional player movement, injuries, and suspensions, our NFL betting experts debate their top picks for Super Bowl LVII.

Follow along as NFL betting experts Michael McClymont and Jon Metler make their case for their top 2023 Super Bowl picks.

2023 Super Bowl Debate: Bills vs. Chargers

McClymont: Bills claiming AFC crown

It’s fair to say there’s a new team to beat in the AFC, and I’m not talking about the one that represented the conference in Super Bowl LVI.

The Buffalo Bills are not only the favorites to win the AFC, with +330 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook, they’re also the betting favorites to claim the Lombardi Trophy, at +650 odds. And it’s easy to see why.

The Bills have been on an upward trajectory since Josh Allen took over as the full-time starting quarterback in 2019. They’ve been knocking on the door ever since, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game in 2020 and the game of the year in the divisional round in 2021.

Now, the road ahead has only gotten more difficult for the Chiefs with the departure of star wideout Tyreek Hill and the strengthening of every one of their opponents in the AFC West. Meanwhile, the Bills have plugged the few holes they were perceived to have by adding pass-rusher Von Miller in free agency and crushing the draft with the additions of cornerback Kaiir Elam and running back James Cook.

Metler: New threat in AFC West

The Bills are without question one of the top teams in the NFL, but this early in the process I would rather back a team whose odds I believe will shorten over time. Considering that the Bills are currently priced at +650, I am not confident that these are the longest odds we will be given this season.

As an example, let’s consider the preseason Super Bowl favorites from last season. The Kansas City Chiefs opened as +450 favorites and by Week 8 of the NFL season, you could have purchased them at +1600 to win the Super Bowl.

The team I am considering backing for the 2023 Super Bowl is a little further down on the odds board, and that is the Los Angeles Chargers. As a result of their loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18 last season, the Chargers finished 9-8 and just missed the playoffs.

The Chargers have one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL in Justin Herbert, who finished the season with a Pro Football Focus grade of 90.1. His grade was surpassed only by Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Additionally, the Chargers made a splash in free agency by signing Khalil Mack, J.C. Jackson, and retaining wide receiver Mike Williams. I believe this is a team that is ready for the next step.

McClymont: Don’t miss out on Buffalo’s best price

It’s true, the Chargers represent great value at +1600 odds and also own a pretty complete roster.

It could also be argued they’re the third- or even fourth-best team in their division. The Chargers will have to traverse the loaded AFC West just to make the postseason, and that’s something they couldn’t do last season when Russell Wilson, Davante Adams, and Chandler Jones weren’t in the division.

So are we really so sure +650 isn’t the right price to buy now on the Bills? Sure, they’ll be playing a first-place schedule against other division winners in the AFC, but their 2022 opponents also include the woebegone NFC North and two games each against the lowly New York Jets and a Miami Dolphins team the Bills have defeated seven games in a row.

They’ll also face the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, and Cleveland Browns, who each have major question marks at important positions. Barring a major injury, which is already baked into any preseason futures bet, I don’t foresee a skid for these Bills like the 3-4 mark the Chiefs got off to last year.

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Metler: Bills facing new threats

You could argue that the Bills have an easier schedule than most teams, but their division is much stronger going into 2022 than it was in 2021. In addition to Hill, the Dolphins have brought in a head coach in Mike McDaniel who actually believes in QB Tua Tagovailoa.

In addition to the Dolphins’ improvements, the Jets just had one of the best drafts in the entire NFL. With their three first-round picks, they were able to add corner Sauce Gardner, receiver Garrett Wilson, and edge rusher Jermaine Johnson. New England Patriots QB Mac Jones will also have a full year of experience under his belt, following an impressive rookie season. And let’s not overlook the fact that the Patriots were -400 favorites in Week 15 to win the AFC East, the Bills did not run away with this division last year. 

The Bills will encounter more difficulty in the AFC East in 2022, and it is not as if their easier path through the division shortened their odds in 2021. Last season, the Bills opened with odds of +1200 to win the Super Bowl and while they were as low as +500 in Week 8, they were as high as +1600 by Week 15.

I find the Bills at +650 to be a little too low at this time, and I would rather invest in longer prices, such as the Chargers at +1600 or even the Baltimore Ravens at +2200.

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