Defining "dark horse" is a little bit like saying the bet you like is a "value" -- it's all in the eye of the beholder. My dark horse may be your favorite and your "value" may be wasted money in my mind.
That said, there are NFL teams whose talent belies their place in the Super Bowl odds pecking order at this late stage of the season and provides value in my mind.
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Best Super Bowl Dark Horse Bets NFC
Dallas Cowboys (9-3 -- No. 5 in the NFC)
The focus of the NFC has rightly been on the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles for the balance of the season and that makes perfect sense, especially since both teams have defeated the Dallas Cowboys already this season.
Yet, when we look up in Week 14 the Cowboys are hosting the Eagles and are only a game back and coming off extra rest, while the Eagles were most recently on the receiving end of a physical and mental beatdown at the hands of the 49ers.
The Cowboys potent offense leads the NFL in points per game and while they are fifth in yards per game, they are first in yards per game at home and their quarterback made a major move in the MVP race.
Perhaps you don't consider +900 to be enough of a dark horse to bet, but now would be the time to jump on the Cowboys if you are so inclined, because these odds will shorten with a Cowboy win on Sunday.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys +900
Detroit Lions (9-3 -- No. 3 in the NFC)
The Detroit Lions have a three-game lead in the NFC Central and appear to be cruising towards home playoff game.
The sentiment is split on Detroit as some see the Lions as an underrated juggernaut that's gone 17-5 in their last 22 games, while others see a team that struggled to put away the New Orleans Saints despite a 21-0 lead 8:45 into last Sunday's game.
The Lions defense is middle of the road, but the offense is second in yards per game and sixth in points scored. As long as Jared Goff is taking care of the ball, they have a chance to put points on the board.
Pick: Detroit Lions +1700
Best Super Bowl Dark Horse Bets AFC
Miami Dolphins (9-3 -- No. 1 in the AFC)
Maybe I'm wrong in considering the team with the third-best odds in the AFC as a dark horse, but this is about the +750 number you can get the Dolphins at.
The Dolphins are averaging 32 points per game and before you decide that's the residuals of the 70-point outburst against Denver earlier in the season, Miami has averaged 33 points in the last three weeks.
First in total yards per game, second in rush yards and first in pass yards, Miami's offense is versatile and often lethal.
The Jaguars' loss Monday night means you are getting the current No. 1 seed in the AFC at a bargain number.
Pick: Miami Dolphins +750
Buffalo Bills (6-6 -- No. 11 in the AFC)
This is a dark horse pick by anyone's definition and I've written before about why I believe the Bills are a value.
Looking at the teams in front of Buffalo, there are several teams with rookie or backup quarterbacks, leading me to believe the AFC playoff picture is very fluid.
Buffalo has to travel to Kansas City this week and if it manages to pull that one out, expect these odds to shift in a big way. So, the Bills could be worth a look at a big number with a team as talented as Buffalo.
The goal was to identify value and a talented team that's +101 in point differential with a star quarterback fits that description.
If you agree now is the time to jump on these odds, as they've already shifted from +4100 overnight.
Pick: Buffalo Bills +3500
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.