NFL Sleeper Teams For 2012: Chargers & Panthers Ready To Jump

With the 2012 NFL preseason is set to kick off on August 5, it’s never too early to start thinking about this year’s NFL betting options. And an easy way to make the season more interesting, is by getting in your early odds to win the Super bowl wager.

Sure, there are always the favorites, but what fun is that? Payouts are skimpy, and besides, don’t you want to be the one at the end of the season that gets to say, “I told you so”.

To help make you that guy –or gal–we here at BetVega have compiled our list of the Top 5 2012 NFL Sleeper teams, to help you make the most out of your preseason wager.
And here they are in order.

Carolina Panthers: 35/1 odds to win Super Bowl – The Panthers finished a respectable third in a tough NFC South in 2011, behind first-year quarterback Cam Newton. And taking into consideration the team suffered through some pretty horrible injuries, particularly on the defensive side of the football. It makes their 6-10 finish a little more bearable. With that being said, Carolina did a good job picking up defensive impact player Luke Kuetchy in the draft. Kuetchy is poised to be one of the best tacklers in the NFL for a long time, and healing along with a healthy Jon Beason will comprise a truly fearsome linebacker duo.

While it’s often true that many quarterbacks go through a sophomore slump, I think Newton avoids this, as he is not only an effective passer, but is great on the ground too. That should help home compensate if either attribute goes in the toilet. Overall, the Panthers are equipped to be just as explosive as in 2011, so look for them to take a big leap in the win column.

San Diego Chargers: 25/1 odds to win Super Bowl – I know what you’re thinking. But just imagine this for a second….The oddsmakers had the Chargers as a top 3 favorite to win the 2011-2012 Super bowl last September. So with a new defensive coordinator and a healthy roster, the Bolts could do a better job rebounding than most think. For starters, this team had an offense that had key contributors that frankly just had an off season. In particular, quarterback Phillip Rivers, who threw an uncharacteristic amount of interceptions in 2011. In his defense, he did have several key starters miss time throughout the season because of various injuries. But no excuses, Rivers has to get back on track. And will.

Then you take RB Ryan Matthews, who had a decent season rushing for over 1,000 yards, but was in and out of the lineup with a myriad of aliments. If he can stay healthy, he could finally find a deadly rhythm to get into. On the other side of the ball, the defense has a lot of big and talented defensive lineman, and has added some depth through the draft. Look for this team to make a serious run.

Chicago Bears: 16/1 odds to win Super Bowl – The Bears were good defensively last season, and an 8-8 season was a bit of an underachievement, and a huge disappointment. But considering quarterback Jay Cutler was banged up for the most, it doesn’t seem all that bad of a finish. This year, a healthy Cutler will be reunited with Brandon Marshall following a three-year separation. The two were a serious force in Denver, with Marshall catching 206 passes for 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns in the two seasons they were together. With the addition of top-15 prospect–South Carolina wideout Alshon Jeffery. Cutler will have a couple of solid targets to toss to. He will also get some added run support via Oakland Raiders’ transfer Michael Bush along with incumbent RB Matt Forte.

Finally, it’s been proven repeatedly that Chicago’s defense is a completely different unit with future Hall-of-Fame middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, and he is 100-percent. Overall, Chicago has the talent on offense and the playmakers on defense to be a major player in their division, while making a serious run at this year’s Super bowl.

Dallas Cowboys: 18/1 odds to win Super Bowl – The Cowboys are the reason why the New York Giants won’t repeat as Super bowl champions. The Boys’ are going to be hungry, and they have all the talent in the world, including one of the all-time best regular season performing quarterbacks in Tony Romo. The problem. He has not led his team to one single playoff win in his career. But this could be the year that Romo shakes the playoff monkey of his back, and he certainly has the receivers that can help him get it done. Mix in a solid running attack, and a defense led by DeMarcus Ware who racked up 19.5 sacks in 2011, and it’s hard to bet against Dallas.

Nevertheless, the window of opportunity to make a deep playoff run is closing fast, and they need to find a way to put it all together, especially at the end of the regular season. Four of Dallas’ eight losses in 2011 came in the final five games, including one without Romo. If Captain America’s Team can keep from last season lapses, the Cowboys should nip the Giants in the NFC East.

Philadelphia Eagles: 12/1 odds to win Super Bowl – Speaking of nipping the Giants. The Cowboys will also have to get by our final and most promising sleeper team of the year–the Philadelphia Eagles. Before finishing a disappointing 8-8, the Eagles were one of the favorites to win the Super bowl in 2011. Nothing has changed those high expectations going into the 2012 season as quarterback Michael Vick has everything at his disposal to guide his team deep into the postseason.

After bursting back onto the scene in 2009, Vick is 15-9 as a starter with 40 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.  He also completed nearly 60 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns and 14 picks last season. This will be the first year since 2006 Vick will enter camp in the same system and with a full offseason to prepare, and with a variety of offensive weapons that the team brought in during the off season, he could easily help lift the Birds to the Promised Land.



Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian, the Oregonian, Springfield Republican, Sacramento Bee, and the San Diego Union Tribune. I leave handicapping to the pros. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

About Matt-Martz

Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian, the Oregonian, Springfield Republican, Sacramento Bee, and the San Diego Union Tribune. I leave handicapping to the pros. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.