Most NFL seasons offer longshots that defy expectations, and through two weeks the Carolina Panthers and Las Vegas Raiders are riding high with 2-0 starts. Such surprise teams are a feature of today’s NFL, offering a significant payoff to bettors who identify those with lasting power early and fool’s gold for those teams headed for regression, according to TheLines, which tracks odds in U.S. regulated sports betting markets.

Fresh off their 26-17 road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Raiders are a 5.5-point favorite to topple the Miami Dolphins in Week 3 and get off to a 3-0 start, according to a consensus of the nation’s largest legal online sportsbooks — including BetAmerica, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, SugarHouse, and Unibet. The odds for Las Vegas to win the Super Bowl moved from +10000 to win the Super Bowl — meaning bettors would win $10,000 for every $100 wagered — to +4700 in just two weeks. Meanwhile, the Panthers dismantled the New Orleans Saints 26-7 in Week 2, and are 7.5-point road favorites to beat the Houston Texans on Thursday night. In starting 2-0, the Panthers have moved from +9000 to win the Super Bowl to +5000 now.

The Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals are also off to surprising 2-0 starts, but neither were considered as big a longshot before Week 1 as the Raiders and Panthers.

Can these teams sustain the hot start to become true contenders? The odds are against them, but none would be the longest of longshots to win a Super Bowl. The 1999 St. Louis Rams were +30000 to win the Super Bowl before that season kicked off, one of the greatest underdogs to win a championship in a major North American sport.

“Two weeks is too early to know whether a particular team can parlay a hot start into contention, or if regression is inevitable,” said Brett Collson, lead analyst for TheLines.com. “But surprise teams like the Panthers and Raiders can offer an intriguing bet even after their odds to win it all have improved.”

The consensus point spreads for Week 3 games, as of Monday, Sept. 20:

  • Carolina Panthers (-7.5) at Houston Texans; over/under 43
  • Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills (-9); over/under 46.5
  • Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns (-7.5); over/under 47
  • Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) at Detroit Lions; over/under 48.5
  • Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-5); over/under 50.5
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-7); over/under 54.5
  • New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots (-3); over/under 43.5
  • Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (-3); over/under 48.5
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5); over/under 44.5
  • Arizona Cardinals (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars; over/under 52
  • New York Jets at Denver Broncos (-11); over/under 41.5
  • Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders (-5); over/under 45.5
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (-1); over/under 54.5
  • Seattle Seahawks (-1) at Minnesota Vikings; over/under 55.5
  • Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (-4); over/under 48.5
  • Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-4); over/under 51.5

To access the updated futures lines for every NFL team, and for more analysis, visit TheLines.com/odds/super-bowl. To access Week 3 odds, visit www.thelines.com/nfl-week-3-odds-2021/.

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