More often than not, the defending Super Bowl Champions are usually the favorite to repeat the following season. The Baltimore Ravens are not one of them. Shortly after the Lombardi Trophy returned to Baltimore, the team began its purge of veterans through releases, retirement and free agent signings.
Fans and analysts alike began writing the Ravens obituary, but then GM Ozzie Newsome began to wave his Wizard's magic wand. Solid free agents signed with the team at salary cap-friendly prices and draft picks filled crucial holes, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Regardless, the Las Vegas bookmakers continued to have their doubts and the Ravens now sit far from the top of the list of teams with the best odds of winning next year's Super Bowl. According to Bovada.lv, the Ravens stand back as the ninth choice to win it all at 20-1 odds.
If that seems like a slap in the face, check out Pregame.com's list, which has the Ravens even longer shots to win it, at 28-1, with ten other teams having shorter odds than them.
Both wagering sites have the first eight teams virtually the same, but the Pregame site moves both the New York Giants and,...get ready for this, Ravens fans,...the Pittsburgh Steelers ahead of Baltimore. Yes, the 8-8, AFC North's third-place team is listed as having a better chance at winning Super Bowl XLVIII than the two-time defending AFC North as well as Super Bowl Champs.
If this doesn't make the Ravens feel like Rodney Dangerfield, nothing will. However, this team plays their best ball when they have a chip on their shoulder for getting no respect, so just like last year, bring it on and place your bets.