The 2023 NFL season is in the books, as the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in overtime of Super Bowl LVIII, 25-22. Picking Super Bowl sleepers last year was a fool’s errand, as Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce once again fought for their place on the big stage, and came out on top. Still, the NFL is full of surprises. Anything can happen next year.
Let’s take a look at the odds for Super Bowl LIX, and then break down five value picks that could be worth putting some money on right now.
Super Bowl odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Houston Texans (+2200)
When it comes to Super Bowl sleepers, financially attaching yourself to a young star quarterback is a good idea. I’m not saying C.J. Stroud is Mahomes, but he had a historic rookie season while Houston won the division, made the playoffs and won a playoff game despite being expected to be one of the worst teams in the league. First-year head coach DeMeco Ryans deserves respect too, as he turned the defense around immediately. Houston allowed the sixth-fewest rushing yards per game in 2023 after the Texans ranked dead last in that category in 2022.
Not long ago, the AFC South was viewed as one of the worst divisions in the NFL. Now, it’s one of the most intriguing.
New York Jets (+2500)
Probably a polarizing pick here. The Jets almost appear cursed after Aaron Rodgers was injured just a few plays into Week 1, and I don’t know how much confidence I have in Robert Saleh, but it’s absolutely incredible that this Jets defense finished top three despite having zero offense. Imagine if they had an average offense to help out. I love this Jets defense and they are absolutely ready to contend.
As for the offense, maybe Nathaniel Hackett’s system doesn’t inspire optimism, but this offense is built for Rodgers. Whatever you think about Rodgers, the bottom line is that he thrives off doubt. When Jordan Love was drafted by the Packers in the first round, Rodgers responded by winning two straight MVPs! Now, he’s switched teams and is coming off of a torn Achilles at 40 years old. Plenty of people will be ready to count him out, which is why it’s a solid idea to back him. The offensive line needs to be revamped, but Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson are studs. The Jets will again be a major headline — for better or for worse — in 2024.
Atlanta Falcons (+3000)
Let’s get a little wild. I thought Atlanta should have targeted an offensive-minded head coach, but Raheem Morris is someone who really connects with his players, and I have no doubt that this defense is going to be solid after a nice turnaround in 2023. There’s the question of quarterback (maybe Justin Fields ends up in Atlanta), but the Falcons have plenty of talented players ready to be truly unlocked, such as Bijan Robinson, Kyle PItts and Drake London. New offensive coordinator Zac Robinson is going to have a chance to really shine.
The NFC South may be the worst division in the NFL, which helps Atlanta’s case. The Falcons also reside in the NFC, which could also be beneficial. The quarterback is the biggest missing piece, but if they find a way to hit on one, maybe the Falcons are a Super Bowl sleeper.
Los Angeles Rams (+3500)
The Rams rebounded to go 7-1 in their last eight regular-season games after starting the year 3-6. While they fell to the Lions in Super Wild Card Weekend, they still had an impressive season. Matthew Stafford showed he’s still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and then we were introduced to Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua as two of the best players at their positions.
When the Rams had Stafford, Williams, Nacua and Cooper Kupp on the field this season, they went 6-2 while averaging 28.5 points per game, 398.9 yards per game and 6.8 yards per play. They were an impressive offensive attack. There’s room to get better on defense, but they had three different players record eight sacks, which was tied for second-most in the NFL. There’s young talent on that side of the ball, and the front office can clearly draft.
Indianapolis Colts (+4500)
Yes, we already have an AFC South team listed above, but as we mentioned, the AFC South is one of the most intriguing divisions. Speaking of intriguing, that’s what Anthony Richardson is. He needs to stay healthy, but has a cannon for an arm and can run the rock. What’s great is that he’s paired up with Jonathan Taylor and Shane Steichen — who knows how to scheme for the run.
Defensively, improvement is needed, but the Colts were fifth in sacks last season (51), and had four different players record at least eight QB takedowns. By the way, all four are under contract for next season (Samson Ebukam, Kwity Paye, DeForest Buckner and Dayo Odeyingbo). Yes, I like the Texans better, but I have an eye on the Colts too.