Super Bowl Outright Tips: Back the Ravens and Lions before NFL playoffs begin

By Tom Collins

Latest NFL Odds

9 January 2024

Lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements in sports, and in just over a month’s time that joyous and historic moment will be rewarded to the winners of Super Bowl LVIII.

Following the culmination of the regular season on Sunday, just 14 teams remain in with a chance of taking home the biggest prize. And there is no break in proceedings as the Wildcard Round of the playoffs gets underway this weekend with three clashes from each conference. Dreams will be quashed for those who exit at the first round.

Two post-season contenders won’t be in action in the Wildcard Round as both the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens earned themselves a bye after finishing as the top seed in the NFC and AFC respectively. A week off allows for extra time to tactically prepare for upcoming opponents and, perhaps more critically, a longer recovery period for injured players.

Unsurprisingly, the 49ers and Ravens head the outright market for Super Bowl 58 after thoroughly impressive regular season campaigns. Perhaps the obvious winner is San Francisco, who possess the best running back in the game, an elite offensive line, reliable yards-after-the-catch receivers, and the third best defence in the league. So, what’s not to like?

Well, I believe Kyle Shanahan’s side is short enough in the outright betting (9/4) considering they only have one standout victory over a top-tier opponent this season - a 42-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys way back in week five. Since then they have generally beaten up lower-level franchises with the occasional defeat fueling the doubters in regards to their Super Bowl capabilities.

It’s also worth noting that the San Francisco 49ers haven’t won the Super Bowl in 30 years. They have won their division seven times in the interim and been NFC top seed on two occasions yet have failed to succeed since 1994, which includes two Super Bowl defeats. Such a drought is concerning given the lack of value on offer.

I much prefer the price available (3/1) on the Baltimore Ravens. John Harbaugh has developed and overseen the building of an elite roster, which is headed by dual purpose quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Louisville product has proved doubters wrong with his throwing accuracy and decision making over the last couple of years and seems capable of winning with either a pass-first or run-first mentality.

The Ravens only lost three times when playing their starters during the regular season and thumped the aforementioned 49ers (33-19), Miami Dolphins (56-19), Detroit Lions (38-6), and Cleveland Browns (28-3) throughout the season. All four of those franchises made the playoffs with impressive records.

Ranking first for points allowed per game, turnovers, and sacks, as well as sixth for total yards allowed per game, the Baltimore Ravens defence is a scary unit to face for opposing quarterbacks. As legendary head coach Bear Bryant once said: “Offence sells tickets, but defence wins Championships.”

Given my confidence that the Ravens will win the AFC Championship and advance to the Super Bowl, I have no interest in backing another team from that conference in the outright market. Instead, I will take a small shot at an NFC rival in the hope that they face off in the showpiece event and provide me with a win/win match-up.

The team in question is the Detroit Lions. Dan Campbell’s coaching style is a bit like marmite - you either love him or hate him - but he has certainly got the best out of his players this season and their potent down-the-field offensive approach saw them score 30+ points on nine occasions this year. With such efficiency, it will take a good opponent to outbattle the Lions in a shootout.

There are obvious concerns around the recent injury to star tight end Sam LaPorta and the fact that the Lions are just one of four teams to have never played in a Super Bowl, but there are far worse longshot bets at bigger than 20/1 given their scoring capabilities and amount of playmakers on their depth chart. 

A home victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday would likely set them up for a tussle with the Dallas Cowboys, providing they beat the Green Bay Packers in their Wildcard match-up. The Lions and Cowboys met in a controversial week 17 match-up that ended 20-19 in favour of Dallas after the referees incorrectly scrubbed off a successful two-point conversion from Detroit to win the game. Campbell wants revenge.

Super Bowl Outright Tips

Baltimore Ravens @ 3/1
Detroit Lions @ 23/1

Latest NFL Odds

We use cookies to manage user login sessions, enhance user experience, perform essential site operations and tailor advertising and other content to reflect your specific interests. By clicking "I Accept" you consent to the use of cookies and similar technologies for the purposes we outline in our Cookie Policy.