Rule number one: Never bet futures. That has been my rule for years, but because of my historical behavior patterns I have decided to add rule number two: Obey rule number one.
I have probably made a dozen futures bets in my life and I don't think I have won any. They are sucker bets, all of them. There are far too many variables to make it worth the payoff. Don't do it. I am presenting the Super Bowl victory odds (snagged from Bodog.com around mid-August) next to each team solely for informational purposes. Seriously.
Baltimore Ravens 18/1
One year older. That's about it. The defense will likely be fine — Baltimore defenses usually are — but everyone who matters is just plain getting old. More importantly, Jonathan Ogden looks like he may be carrying a nagging toe injury. So now you got old guys plus a dubious offensive line. Not optimistic about this year. It's probably time to start planning the rebuild.
Observation: In the fifth round, the Ravens drafted QB Troy Smith. You remember him — Ohio State; Heisman Trophy; won the 2006 Fiesta Bowl over Brady Quinn and Charlie Weis; thrice beat Michigan including the famed "game of the century" last year. He's too small to be a QB in the NFL, though. I mean, Brady Quinn is 7'8" and weighs 475 lbs. JaMarcus Russell is 9'2" and weighs 835 lbs. Poor little Troy is only 6'0" and 225. He's not much bigger than Drew Brees. No way he's gonna make it.
Buffalo Bills 100/1
I see no reason to think anything positive has happened in Buffalo. Lots of turnover on defense, but no obvious improvement. The Bills have an absolutely brutal schedule. I wouldn't be surprised if their two games against Miami are the only ones that aren't against winning teams with playoff hopes. It's going to be a long winter in Buffalo.
Cincinnati Bengals 15/1
Levi Jones looks to return and that can only help Carson Palmer, already one of the elite QBs. Ocho Cinco will still be around and marginally sane, as will that Whosyourmama guy. The defense has reasonable talent, but has underachieved. A little reversion to the mean could make them average. No reason not to think Cincy won't not take their division. (A quadruple negative. That's working without a net, right there.)