- The Chiefs (+450) are slight favorites over the Ravens (+600) to finish with the most wins in the regular season
- The Saints (+800) and 49ers (+800) are still viewed as the class of the NFC, but how ’bout dem Cowboys (+1200)?!
- Could the Buccaneers (+1600) or Patriots (+2000) finish with the league’s best record?
Until Andy Reid suffers the inevitable heart problems that come with being a 300-plus-pound man in a high-stress position, the Kansas City Chiefs will likely enter every NFL season as the favorites to win the most games and capture the Super Bowl.
Patrick Mahomes and company are +450 to finish with the best regular-season record, just ahead of Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens (+600) who went 14-2 in 2019 before being bullied out of their gameplan by the Titans in the AFC divisional round.
Let’s examine the odds and take a few big swings on some franchises that could finish first-overall in 2020.
MOST WINS ODDS: 2020 REG. SEASON
|Kansas City Chiefs||+450|
|New Orleans Saints||+800|
|San Francisco 49ers||+800|
|Green Bay Packers||+1000|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+1600|
|New England Patriots||+2000|
|Los Angeles Rams||+2500|
THE NFL’S UPPER CRUST
Hamstrung by a salary-cap crunch, the Chiefs‘ main offseason priority has been keeping their championship roster in tact. After franchise-tagging defensive end Chris Jones and getting receiver Sammy Watkins to take a paycut, general manager Brett Veach will be making a first-round pick for the first time in his tenure.
Kansas City may have lost some ground to the Ravens, who have made a string of impressive moves to maximize Jackson’s rookie-contract window. Baltimore is also projected to face the league’s easiest schedule in 2020.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) April 19, 2020
San Francisco (+800) has two first-round selections on Thursday after dealing blue-chip defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts earlier this spring. Thanks to being in the ultra-competitive NFC West, the Niners will have to overcome the NFL’s fourth-hardest slate this season, as well as a potential Super Bowl hangover.
No franchise has experienced more hard luck than the Saints (+800) these past few years, but you have to respect Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis’ perpetual win-now mentality. After re-signing Drew Brees and bringing in two veteran free-agents in receiver Emmanuel Sanders and safety Malcolm Jenkins, don’t be surprised if New Orleans trades up in the draft to put the finishing touches on a loaded squad.
POTENTIAL FIRST-PLACE SLEEPERS
Thinking about all the boneheaded Mike McCarthy play-calls and clock-decisions to come is enough to make anyone hesitant to bet the Cowboys (+1200), but “the Beav” may actually represent an upgrade over Jason Garrett.
Despite finishing just 8-8 in 2019, Dallas had the point differential of a double-digit win club and are now set to face the league’s third-easiest schedule. With Dak Prescott tagged and Amari Cooper re-signed, the offense should remain explosive. If linebacker Leighton Vander Esch returns healthy and if reinstated defensive end Aldon Smith regains his beastly-form after four years of suspension, first-place is a definite possibility for the Cowboys.
Jay Glazer shared this video of Cowboys DE Aldon Smith from back in January.
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) April 10, 2020
It seems oddmakers aren’t too optimistic about 43-year-old Tom Brady pairing with 67-year-old Bruce Arians, listing the Buccaneers at just +1600 to finish with the most wins in the NFL. However, a path to first-place could open up if 41-year-old Brees were to fall off a cliff after signing his new TV deal with NBC.
“Tompa Bay” will put up points with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, and their defense already jumped from dead-last in the league in 2018 to fifth-best under defensive coordinator Todd Bowles last season.
In the past decade, Bill Belichick has guided the Patriots to a league-best (by a mile) 125-35-0 (.781) regular-season record. Even without Brady, that would suggest that New England is severely undervalued at +2000.
At this point, every one of my articles includes a passage where I write “imagine if (INSERT TEAM HERE) signed Cam Newton,” but if the Pats were to pull it off, you could expect their odds to shorten to at least +1000.