Super Bowl LIII Dark Horse Contenders: Which Teams Can Defy Odds?

The Super Bowl isn’t always won by the odds-on favorite.

The Eagles entered the 2017 NFL season as relative longshots to win Super Bowl LII, but Philadelphia wound up making the oddsmakers look foolish when it hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in Minneapolis this past February.

The story is no different entering the 2018 campaign. Powerhouses like the Eagles, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, of course, have favorable odds, but there are plenty of teams flying under the radar at the sportsbooks that could make a run to Super Sunday.

So without further ado, here are four Super Bowl dark horse contenders (odds provided by OddShark).

Los Angeles Chargers (+2400)
The Chargers had a frustrating 2017 season, to say the least. While a 9-7 record isn’t terrible by any stretch, the Bolts suffered four (!) losses by three points or less. The Chargers still have all of their key pieces in place: Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen are one of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the league when healthy, while Melvin Gordon III routinely feasts on opposing defenses. Los Angeles’ pass rush also is nothing to scoff at, and Joey Bosa is poised for a run at the Defensive Player of the Year award. The Chargers benefit from a fairly easy schedule as well, especially considering the bevy of question marks that surround division foes Kansas City and Oakland.

Carolina Panthers (+3500)
The Panthers were a popular dark horse Super Bowl contender last season, but Carolina ultimately fell in a Wild Card nail-biter against the New Orleans Saints. Cam Newton still is an elite quarterback, and despite a general lack of big names at wide receiver, you can expect the Panthers’ offense to be explosive. Christian McCaffrey is as versatile as they come, while newcomer C.J. Anderson can provide some ground and pound. Carolina’s defense isn’t as vaunted as it once was, but Luke Kuechly and Co. sure know how to get after the quarterback.

Tennessee Titans (+4500)
The Titans are a popular “look out for” team this season. There’s plenty of new blood in Nashville, highlighted by first-year head coach Mike Vrabel and former Patriots Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis. Much of Tennessee’s success will hang in the balance of Marcus Mariota’s development. It’s not uncommon for young quarterbacks to make “the jump” in their fourth NFL season, and Mariota will have an opportunity to establish himself as a star in 2018. Not to mention, the AFC South is completely up for grabs.

New York Giants (+4500)
The Giants suffered a disappointing 2017 season, but there was an immediate silver lining in posting a 3-13 record in the form of Saquon Barkley, who the team selected No. 2 overall in this year’s draft. New York also addressed the offensive line, beefing things up with the likes of Nate Solder and rookie Will Hernandez. The Giants’ defense needs to have a bounce-back season, but there’s no reason to believe that can’t happen given the amount of talent the team has on that side of the ball. The major cause for excitement with the Giants is for the offense, though, as quarterback Eli Manning will have no shortage of weapons.

Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

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