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The San Francisco 49ers were as high as 40-to-1 to win the Super Bowl last year at BetMGM. They came painfully short of winning a title, and while coming close to cashing that ticket wasn’t much consolation to 49ers bettors, it’s a reminder that the NFL is unlike the other major sports.
It’s not that champions in other sports don’t come out of nowhere, it’s just much more common in the NFL. Betting a heavy favorite like the Kansas City Chiefs or Baltimore Ravens doesn’t seem like the way to go. Besides, it’s more fun to try to hit a big ticket.
Once you get down to some of the bigger numbers on the Super Bowl futures board at BetMGM, one team stands out: the Pittsburgh Steelers at 30-1.
The Steelers have 1 key question to answer
With many of the teams beyond the obvious favorites, a lot of things have to go right for the Steelers to be true Super Bowl contenders. With the Steelers, there’s really only one key question.
It’s a big one. Ben Roethlisbger is 38 and coming off major elbow surgery that ended his 2019 season. He’s back and says he’s feeling better than ever. It’s OK to be skeptical. There are countless positive stories from every training camp each year. Roethlisberger could look like he’s 100 percent, but a small dip in velocity could be imperceptible to observers and it’s not like the Steelers would admit it. And even a small drop makes a big difference in the highly competitive NFL.
What if all the rosy stories are accurate? What if Roethlisberger is indeed good as new?
The Steelers have practically everything else in place. Offensively, they have numerous options at running back, a good line and receivers like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson could have big years with better quarterback play. The Steelers’ defense was fantastic in 2019 and almost dragged a team with horrendous QB play to the playoffs. Most of that defense returns.
In 2018, Roethlisberger led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards. If he’s reasonably close to that level again in 2020, it’s easy to see the Steelers being much better. They don’t have many weaknesses. Then that 30-1 ticket would look pretty good.
There is good value on the Steelers
There are 12 teams with better Super Bowl odds at BetMGM than the Steelers. Part of that is from being in the same division as the Ravens, who might be the best team in football this season. If we had no questions about Roethlisberger’s health, the odds would be much lower.
So a bet on the Steelers becomes a bet on Roethlisberger’s health. That’s scary given the nature of his surgery, but that’s baked into the long odds. It’s easy to envision a scenario in which Roethlisberger looks like he has for many years, his receivers look great with a competent quarterback throwing the ball, the running game is doing well, the defense that was so good last season is just as good again, and the Steelers look like one of the most balanced teams in the league.
There’s risk involved with taking a Super Bowl future bet on the Steelers at BetMGM, but we see surprise contenders each year in the NFL. And in the Steelers’ case, given their recognizable talent on both sides of the ball, it wouldn’t even be that much of a surprise.
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