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2019 NFL Long-Shots to Watch

2019 NFL Long-Shot Teams to Watch

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Now is the time we start getting our NFL futures picks together. And that's especially true with our longer-odds picks. Once everyone sees in reality what we might suspect to be true, the value gets sucked right out of it. So we need to act now. We're talking about long-shots. Sure, anyone can bet on the top dogs in the league—the Patriots, Chiefs, Saints, Rams, and so on. Long-shots are simply more entertaining and a big part of that is the possible handsome return on our investments. We're not implying that those aforementioned top teams won't be on top, but we also feel there is a wide-open nature to the league, prime ground for a surprise or two to materialize. While a lot of preseason favorites have risen to the top, enough off-the-radar teams have made it to make longer shots a viable play.

Let's take a look at five longer-shot picks on the board. They're getting long odds for good reason, while also having a best-case-scenario component that makes them more-appealing than their odds might suggest. Here are five picks getting juicy betting odds that we will discuss:

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Pittsburgh Steelers (+2500): We understand the skepticism, with the Steelers getting the longest odds they have in some time. And when you lose your top two offensive tools in Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, one could see why they're downward-trending in some people's minds. They missed the playoffs last season and the division in which they play has grown stronger, with two other legit contenders in the Ravens and Browns.

I just sense some extra urgency in the air for the 2019 Steelers, who will be angling hard to right the ship this season. They still have Ben Roethlisberger, a top-notch offensive line, and two rising forces in JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner. Some additions and the draft could help both sides of the ball, as the defense is growing in stature with the added maturity of some key pieces. With a positive twist here and an interesting wrinkle there, it's not that hard to imagine the Steelers making a surge this season.

San Francisco 49ers (+2500): Last season didn't work out, despite a lot of preseason hype about a big surge coming off a strong 2017 finish. Injuries played a big role and while all that won't magically go away; one has to anticipate better fortunes on that front. And if that's the case, a roster that's suddenly loaded on both sides of the ball could create some havoc.

Rookie Nick Bosa and newly-acquired Dee Ford should help the pass-rush take a step forward and perhaps spring some better seasons for a lot of other promising youth on that side of the ball. With Matt Breida returning, a healthy Jerick McKinnon, along with Tevin Coleman and rookie Deebo Samuel, their run-game has a lot of diversity. George Kittle is a rising force at tight end and if WR Dante Pettis can find another gear or maybe rookie Jalen Hurd steps up, QB Jimmy Garoppolo could have the weapons to make this work.

Dallas Cowboys (+2800): A lot of this is riding on whether Ezekiel Elliott and the front office can work things out because if not, the prospects of this team take a major hit. If Elliott does find his way into the fold, however, the Cowboys look to have a lot of juice for a deep run this season. Dak Prescott has weapons at his disposal on offense, with Amari Cooper working his way in better with the offense after some very promising signs late last season. Jason Witten is back with his production and leadership. Randall Cobb is another reliable weapon. And that line is still very tough on opposing defenses.

The Dallas defense has been finding its footing over the last couple years and could be due to really round into form this upcoming season. With DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and Jaylon Smith, some rising stars are in place. They added Robert Quinn and promising rookie Trysten Hill, which could give them yet another boost. Sure, a lot of pieces need to fall into place, but that's usually going to be the case this far down the list at +2800. It's not often you can say this, but the Cowboys are getting pretty good value this season in this particular bet.

Seattle Seahawks (+3250): A strong finish last season and a playoff berth would suggest the Seattle rebuild is ahead of schedule. We saw a lot of youth flourishing on both sides of the ball and though there aren't a ton of faces remaining from their championship run, there are still a handful of guys who know what it's like to hoist the hardware. Combine that with solid coaching, thoughtful player-acquisition, and a lot of promising youth—and you have a team that can't be overlooked.

Alas, it won't be easy with a tough schedule and the rest of their division being on the rise. And when a team is +3250, there are going to be some issues. The O-line is good at run-blocking and Seattle could have one of their better rushing-games of the last several seasons. But the line doesn't protect Wilson that well, with his mobility needing to be put to high use. They don't have a lot of difference-makers aerially and that could hurt. But again, rising youth litters both sides of the ball and after getting pretty far last season, who knows?

Houston Texans (+5000): Let's get this out of the way early—they are 50-1. Any 50-1 wager will be accompanied by a lot of reasons why it won't happen. They already lost Will Fuller, which is a big blow to their aerial attack. DeAndre Hopkins will be productive, but the lack of game-changing weapons on offense is a concern. Lamar Miller is hardly a compelling tailback and injury-prone QB Deshaun Watson plays behind a line that might be up-to-snuff. But there are still a lot of the same pieces that led to a division-winning 11-win campaign last season.

And that's just the thing with Houston—a lot of success and not a ton of reasons for it that immediately come to mind. With JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and a lot of productive veterans on defense, they often times over-perform. Maybe some youth can step up, like rookie back Karan Higdon and help Watson see a surge in his third season. They always seem to get a lot out of what they have, making them an interesting value at these odds. They could have a higher ceiling than some can fathom. Granted, the division is indeed very tough, as is their overall schedule. Still worth a look. Did you know... that you could be wagering on games at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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