You might not be allowed to put any 16-team combo bets in your football picks this year, but you can always go to the NFL props market and bet on someone to go undefeated.
It's the ultimate long shot. Sure, you could bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars or Tennessee Titans to win Super Bowl 50 (+20000 at Bovada), but those teams are at a competitive disadvantage. You could also bet on Arizona Cardinals OT D.J Humphries to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award (+15000 at 5Dimes), but the Associated Press has never voted for a lineman. When you're taking a flyer with your football picks, you want to bet on something more within the realm of accomplishment.
How about an undefeated regular season? It's only happened twice in the modern era: the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who went 14-0, and the 2007 New England Patriots, who went 16-0. We're still waiting at press time for the NFL odds to come out on this popular prop bet – as if that's going to stop us from speculating about which teams have the best chance to make it happen in 2015.
Seed of Chucky
First off, a nod to our colleague Jordan Sharp, who examined this prop a couple of months ago and picked the Indianapolis Colts out of the crowd. Quality team? Check. Strength of schedule? No. 31 in the league. You can't ask for much more than that, but we'll add that the Colts have just entered their prime in Year Four of the Chuck Pagano-Andrew Luck Era, and in each of their first three seasons, their win-loss record was much better than their advanced stats would have suggested. Maybe they've still got some of that Chuckstrong special sauce in the cupboard.
We're going to add some more logs to the fire, though. How about the New Orleans Saints? Yes, they went 7-9 last year, and we can't blame Bountygate for that one. But the Saints have also won at least 11 games in four of the past six seasons under head coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees. And they've got a SAWFT schedule this year at No. 28 overall. With an improved offensive line, they've got a shot at dominating the NFC South and running the table.
The Gates of Delirium
Of course, we have to give the New England Patriots some consideration. We keep thinking the AFC East has improved, and we think that's the case again this year, but New England hasn't failed to post double-digit wins since 2002. They've been remarkably consistent (cough cough Spygate cough cough Deflategate) under the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady regime, and we wouldn't run away from this bet just because Brady might not play the first four games. The Pats have the No. 22-ranked schedule, by the way.
Then you have the team the Patriots beat to win Super Bowl XLIX. The Seattle Seahawks have led the league in efficiency each of the last three seasons, winning at least 11 games every time. They've got the No. 4-ranked strength of schedule this season, but let's not worry about that too much. Those rankings are based on last year's records, and this year, the San Francisco 49ers don't look nearly as scary in the NFC West. We expect another strong season for the 'Hawks under head coach Pete Carroll and QB Russell Wilson.
The other two obvious candidates are the Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers. There's been a regime change in Denver, though, with Gary Kubiak taking over from John Fox as head coach. It could be a positive move, but for the purposes of our long-shot football pick, we'd still lean toward the stability of the Packers, who posted double-digit wins in five of the past six seasons under coach Mike McCarthy and QB Aaron Rodgers. Row row row your boat, gently down the winner stream.