If you thought betting on the Super Bowl winner was hard enough, try betting on both sides.
The payouts are enormous for those who can accurately predict both finalists for this year’s NFL championship. That’s much easier said than done: plenty of folks – myself included – picked the Rams to make it ahead of last season, but who expected the Bengals to be there? Even the matchup between the Chiefs and Buccaneers two years ago would have paid out nearly $3,000 on a $100 bet, even without betting on the ultimate winner.
This market is essentially just a parlay on two conference title futures, which are hard enough to hit in their own right. That said, if you’re looking to dabble in this market, it helps to think of correlations. What would this year’s Super Bowl matchup look like if, say, defenses reigned supreme? What if young QBs finally seized the day, or the league’s top rushers became the biggest X-factors?
With that in mind, here are our three favorite exact Super Bowl matchups to bet at BetMGM ahead of the 2022 season:
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Chiefs vs. Buccaneers (+2500)
We just saw this matchup play out two years ago in one of the most anticipated quarterback clashes in Super Bowl history. It’s famously hard to make it back the following year – but why not bet on an encore this season?
The Buccaneers are the clear favorites to emerge from the NFC (+325) with a similar core to the one that won it all in 2020. And while the Chiefs have the second-best odds in the AFC (+500), the favored Bills are clearly inflated across this market as easy public fodder. That leaves this as the best matchup to target at a reasonable price, especially given that these two quarterbacks own six conference titles in the last six seasons.
Broncos vs. 49ers (+8000)
I’m a big subscriber to the “one QB away” theory when it comes to betting title futures. We’ve seen two straight Super Bowl winners do so with a new quarterback: the Buccaneers (2020) and Rams (2021) both had title-ready rosters and a massive hole under center, and both won it all after getting their guy.
Could we see that trend continue in 2022? The clearest examples in both conferences are the Broncos and 49ers, both of whom have had Super Bowl aspirations but lacked a dynamic passer to carry them all the way. That’s especially true for Denver, which hasn’t made the playoffs since Peyton Manning retired after winning it all in 2015.
The Broncos finally have their answer in Russell Wilson, who beat Denver in the Super Bowl in 2013 and has been a perennial MVP candidate in recent years. The 49ers are hoping No. 3 pick Trey Lance can follow a similar trajectory in the wake of the Jimmy Garoppolo era. History says both are in a strong position to make the leap with a new signal-caller.
Ravens vs. Eagles (+15000)
The NFL has been trending toward dual-threat dominance for years, even if it hasn’t resulted in a title for any of the league’s premier rushing QBs. What if that finally changed this season?
The Ravens nearly pulled it off in 2019, when they set an NFL record for rushing yards (3,296) in Lamar Jackson’s MVP campaign and entered the postseason as +200 favorites to win it all. Clearly, that didn’t happen, but Jackson is a more polished passer than he was then and is surrounded by arguably the most talented group that he’s had since coming into the league in 2018.
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Meanwhile, the Eagles are in a similar situation to those ‘19 Ravens, building around a rush-first QB with passing upside and a loaded roster around him. I’m more skeptical of Jalen Hurts now than I was of Jackson three years ago, but both are dynamic enough to cause headaches for opposing teams, especially with this wave of elite passers forcing defenses to commit fewer resources to stopping the run. Eventually, it’ll catch up to the league, and these teams would be the clear beneficiaries.