NFL Futures: Preseason Lessons Make Broncos Early Contenders
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | Aug. 26, 2013
Peyton Manning has a few reasons to be hungry even after 15 years in the game. That’s why his Denver Broncos are Super Bowl favorites on the NFL moneyline prior to the 2013 season.
However, on Sunday, the football betting community got a good long look at the veteran’s mortality when he checked out of the Week 3 preseason matchup with his team down 10 points. Although he’d already connected with Demaryius Thomas at that point (expect much more of that this fall), he was exposed by a jacked-up Rams club fueled by youth and momentum.
We’re not sure if it’s better or worse that his club clawed out in front of the Rams with Manning sitting on the sidelines, eventually eking out a one-point victory 27-26. These are the sort of questions we have to ask ourselves as Week 1 of the regular season fast approaches. The Broncos are favored on the NFL futures with 6/1 odds of winning the Super Bowl, but are they formidable enough to contend from now until February?
It all comes down to Manning. It’s hard to deny he’s anything but inspired – and not just because of a less than effective preseason showing against an NFC cellar dweller.
Perhaps it was Denver’s 11-game win streak last season that ended prematurely in the divisional playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Maybe it was the lost 2011 campaign that brought about the end of the Indianapolis Colts chapter of his career. Maybe it was any number of the four MVP, yet non-championship, campaigns he put together between 2003 and 2009, bookending the one time he was able to win it all back in 2006.
Perhaps he’s just ready for title No. 2.
Looking to spoil Manning’s bid for hardware are the San Francisco 49ers, another blue chip contender whose championship hopes were slashed by last year’s Ravens. Having wrapped up a decent preseason over the weekend – against reigning MVP Adrian Peterson’ Minnesota Vikings, no less – the Niners are ready to compete. They have 6/1 NFL futures to show for it. This season, however, anything less than a championship would have to be considered a disappointment.
The past few weeks of exhibition play have revealed more than just the early status of veterans and veteran teams gunning for a title though too; it also brings about its own set of plot points and story twists.
Perhaps no team has seen their 2013 plan turned on its head more so than the Buffalo Bills. While rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel has long been considered the eventual starter at Ralph Wilson Stadium, a Week 3 concussion to Kevin Kolb last Saturday has team doctors wondering if he’ll ever play football again. Such uncertainty forced Buffalo’s hand into signing Matt Leinart and trading for Thaddeus Lewis.
The shake up comes at an interesting time for Manuel and for football prop bettors. Could the first-year man out of Florida State now come through on his 10/1 odds of winning the NFL Rookie of the Year award?
Other teams like the Detroit Lions will have to pay special attention to the rehabilitation of individuals who sustained their own injuries during preseason – players like rookie end Ziggy Ansah who arrived in Motown as a possibly significant defensive force.
It may not impact their long-term forecast, but it may when the conversation comes to betting on individual NFL games this regular season. Take a look for yourself when the preseason comes to a close with 16 scheduled exhibitions this Thursday night.