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We saw last season the value of investing money down the board in the futures market.
The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers - the top seeds in the AFC and NFC, respectively - were both 40-1 before the start of the season and didn't garner much attention, while the masses lined up to buy the preseason hype surrounding the Chicago Bears (12-1) and Cleveland Browns to (18-1).
So, which teams are primed to reward bettors in 2020? Let's look down the oddsboard.
|Kansas City Chiefs||+400|
|San Francisco 49ers||+800|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+800|
|New Orleans Saints||+900|
|Green Bay Packers||+1400|
|New England Patriots||+1600|
|Los Angeles Rams||+2500|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+3000|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+3500|
|New York Giants||+6000|
|New York Jets||+6000|
|Washington Football Team||+10000|
All the hype in the NFC South is being directed toward the Buccaneers (8-1), but I'd much rather invest in their division rivals with more than 400% return on investment. The Falcons have the sort of continuity that will prove essential following an unprecedented offseason; they return all five starters on the offensive line, the same wide receivers, quarterback, head coach, and coordinators after posting a 6-2 record in the second half of last season.
Atlanta will hope Todd Gurley can return to his pre-2019 form and work with the dynamic duo of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to put up points in bunches. And if you subscribe to the theory of Matt Ryan being good every other year, he's in line for another big season.
There remain doubts about the defense, but the unit was vastly improved after Dan Quinn let Raheem Morris take the reins. A.J. Terrell shot up draft boards in April for a reason and Dante Fowler's arrival is a massive boost and big help for 2017 first-round pick Takkarist McKinley. Additionally, Grady Jarrett is one of the league's best interior rushers and rookie Marlon Davidson looks like a force.
Year 1 under Kliff Kingsbury was the rehearsal, and Year 2 is the show. Kingsbury showed a great willingness to adapt and grow in his first NFL season - a quality many coaches lack.
There's a justifiable buzz surrounding this Cardinals offense, which is poised to take a massive leap: Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk return after a full season together, Kenyan Drake will look to build on a strong second half of the campaign, and DeAndre Hopkins now enters the fold. This could be a top-five offense.
On the other side of the ball, there's reason to believe Arizona will be improved. Isaiah Simmons has all the tools to provide a massive impact, with Devon Kennard brought in to alleviate the burden on the electrifying Chandler Jones. The Cardinals could be a massive surprise.
This is more of a stretch, but I'm buying the number here. The Lions have far too much talent to be offered at a generous 75-1.
Matthew Stafford was on pace for a career year in 2019 before getting hurt, and the Lions stumbled to an 0-8 finish without him. He's healthy once again and has an impressive complement of skill players around him to pick up where he left off - a great group of wide receivers, a budding star at tight end, and a potentially dangerous one-two punch in the backfield.
Defensively, Detroit brought in a ton of talent during the offseason. Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, and Jeff Okudah form a strong trio at corner, while Matt Patricia has called on former Patriots players Jamie Collins, Duron Harmon, and Danny Shelton for reinforcements. Trusting Patricia to get the most out of this group doesn't feel great, but the talent is certainly there.
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.