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Super Bowl 2021: Who are the early favorites – and are the Bills genuine contenders?

It has not been long since the NFL season ended and the 2020 Draft has yet to be concluded, but bookmakers are already taking bets on who will win the 2021 NFL Super Bowl due to be held in Florida in February 2021. But who are the early favorites and are the Buffalo Bills in the running?

A crucial off-season for leading contenders

Much will depend on which teams optimize their time in the off-season from the Draft through to pre-season preparation, but that hasn’t stopped experts and punters from making early predictions based on what information we have so far. With some teams better placed than others to get themselves in shape for the new campaign, there are already some clear frontrunners.

Both of last year’s finalists are among the contenders with the winners, Kansas City Chiefs priced at +600 and the runners-up, San Francisco 49ers, available at +900 with bookmakers. Wedged between the two are the Baltimore Ravens who can be backed at +700. Let’s begin by looking at these three contenders.

Can the Chiefs do it again?

The Kansas City Chiefs begin where they did a year ago, as +600 favorites to win the Lombardi Trophy. Punters who backed them were duly rewarded as they battled their way through to the final in Miami where they defeated the 49ers 31-20 to win Super Bowl LIV. Despite being reigning champions, their price is the same as 12 months ago when they had recently lost the AFC Championship game to the New England Patriots.

The Chiefs didn’t have it all their way last year and needed a stunning fourth-quarter comeback to end their 50-year Super Bowl drought. But with that monkey off their back, there is no reason to think they cannot do it again.

Baltimore Ravens will be a popular pick again

The one team that many believe can stop the Chiefs is the Baltimore Ravens. They entered this offseason as a popular pick despite flopping when ranked as favorites at the start of the last campaign. A 12-game winning streak – and dreams of a third Super Bowl – was brought to a crashing halt when they lost to the Tennessee Titans in January. But they remain one of the strongest looking teams in the league and the +700 available from Betway looks good value. When the Ravens host the Chiefs next term, the matchup between the NFL’s reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson, and the Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes, will be one of the most intriguing of the season.

A step backwards for the San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers were within touching distance of the trophy last season before they stumbled at the final hurdle. The defeat to the Chiefs was a massive blow to morale for the franchise. They are third favorites to claim the title in 2021 but there are question marks over whether they can go all the way again. The NFC West looks to be even tougher this year with the Arizona Cardinals having acquired the services of All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks also looking strong. What’s more, the 49ers have traded DeForest Buckner and could struggle to plug that gap.

Are the Buffalo Bills the value pick?

The Buffalo Bills are priced at +3000, and many punters may be tempted to place a small stake with such a large price available ahead of the Draft, which takes place at the end of April. Looking beyond their collapse against the Houston Texans in the AFC wild-card game in January, there was plenty to be optimistic about last season. They started strongly, winning nine of their first 11 and their defense was ranked No. 3 in yards allowed per game.

Then you have the upturn in performance from Josh Allen, who rushed for two more touchdowns than Lamar Jackson and posted a list of impressive stats (including 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions) considering he did not have great support around him. The Bills have already recruited receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings and, with a few more tweaks to the team, they could be the team to watch in the AFC East. They have a great chance of making the playoffs again – especially considering the situation of the teams around them. The New England Patriots, the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins all look to be far from their best.

The Baltimore Ravens look well placed to put last year’s errors behind them and may start as the top pick again once the season gets underway, but no team offers greater value in the market than the Bills at the moment.

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