As per VegasInsider’s averages across five major sportsbooks Thursday afternoon, the New Orleans Saints are the 15th-most likely NFL team to win Super Bowl LVIII in February. Their lines ranged from +3000 (DraftKings) to +3500 (PointsBet and Caesars) to +4000 (BetMGM and FanDuel), and while they were the top-ranked team in the NFC South by those odds, the books certainly didn’t have a lot of overall confidence in them.
But former ESPN and current Fox Sports NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson sure does, predicting on FS1’s Undisputed Thursday that the Saints will win that Super Bowl and beat the Baltimore Ravens (eighth in those consensus odds):
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) September 7, 2023
Johnson’s point on the Saints’ weak division certainly stands, as they’ll have two games each against the Atlanta Falcons (23rd of 32 NFL teams in those consensus odds), Carolina Panthers (26th), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (29th). But Johnson is a lot higher on new New Orleans quarterback Derek Carr than many. And yes, he brings up fair points about the coaching and personnel challenges Carr faced with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, but there aren’t many other people as high on Carr. And Johnson is also higher on the Saints’ receiving corps (including his nephew Michael Thomas, which he admits is a factor here) than many.
Could Johnson’s bold Super Bowl pick pay off? We’ll have to wait and see. But it’s certainly interesting to see him going so far off the board with a prediction like this and to see him doing so so early in his Fox career. Undisputed may be going for more discussion than debate these days, but this particular pick from Johnson sure felt like an #EmbraceDebate moment.
[Undisputed on Twitter]