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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Though we’re only talking about relatively small market moves in the big picture, Green Bay and New England both solidified their spots at the top of the NFL ladder with home blowout victories this week. Bettors are finding very little evidence that those AREN’T the two best teams in football right now. Barring injuries to Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, the market will be forecasting Packers/Patriots as a best expectation for the Super Bowl all season. Here’s what it looks like with the league elites…

(For first time readers…the numbers you see reflect the return on a $100 bet. If you bet on Green Bay to win the Super Bowl right now, you’re risking $100 to win $350. I’ve taken a composite of Futures prices in Las Vegas and offshore to arrive at the numbers. Prices vary at individual stores.)

 

TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL

Green Bay +350

New England +400

Seattle +700 (falling a bit)

Denver +1000 (improving from +1400 last week)

Arizona +1200 (improving from +2500 last week, and +3300 preseason)

Cincinnati +1600 (improving +2000)

Denver’s defense has been great…and the market is starting to realize that it’s easier to think of the Broncos as championship material if you focus on the stifling defense rather than Peyton Manning’s decline. They’re starting to look more like the best of Seattle from the past two seasons rather than an AFC West version of New England. The market has been much quicker to realize the rise of Arizona than the mainstream media has…with the Cards a solid top five team right now. Cincinnati’s 3-0 start has the Bengals in the discussion too.

 

QUESTION MARKS

Indianapolis +1800 (down from +1600 even off a win, and way down overall)

Philadelphia +1800

Atlanta +1800 (getting taken more seriously after undefeated start)

Buffalo +2500 (rising from last week’s +3300)

Pittsburgh +2500 (falling because Roethlisberger will miss several games)

Dallas +2800 (way down from +1800 with bad loss to Falcons)

This second group of six brings us to 12…and 12 teams make the NFL Playoffs. The market has really soured on both Indianapolis and Philadelphia compared to preseason expectations. Atlanta and Buffalo have played themselves into the championship discussion with 3-0 and 2-1 starts respectively. Pittsburgh and Dallas both lost their starting quarterbacks, but will get them back later in the season. That gives them a chance to be playoff spoilers, but extended time with their backups will probably set up difficult playoff paths (at best) featuring road games against tough opponents.

 

PLAYOFF DARKHORSES

Carolina +3300

Minnesota +3300

Kansas City +4000 (just seconds away from a 2-0 start, now falling)

NY Giants +5000

San Diego +6600 (can rebound after road losses in Cincinnati and Minnesota)

NY Jets +6600 (fell way back after Sunday’s loss to Eagles)

Miami +6600 (losing support very quickly, uncompetitive vs. Buffalo)

Baltimore +6600 (have fallen way off the pace after 0-3 start)

A weird mix here of teams who have the talent to be Wildcard contenders…but aren’t quite there in terms of perceptions. Can any of these teams win vs. quality on the road? Carolina is 3-0 against a soft schedule. Minnesota is 2-1 but the road loss at San Francisco looks even worse now. San Diego’s a good team that had a killer schedule. The Jets were supposed to be a bad team but impressed the first two weeks. Baltimore’s fallen off the pace with an 0-3 start…but they could certainly rally to a 9-7 type record that might sneak in. The next few weeks will short these teams out.

 

EVERYONE ELSE

St. Louis +8000 (plummeting after two bad weeks)

Houston, Oakland, Detroit +10000 (volatile group)

Tennessee, Washington, New Orleans +15000

Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville +20000

Chicago +25000

Roughly the bottom third of the league. Realistically, these teams aren’t in the championship discussion. St. Louis has fallen way off the pace with two horrible offensive performances. The market was fooled by the strong season opener vs. Seattle. A lot of sharps took very big hits with them the past weekend against Pittsburgh (after the public took a hit with them at Washington in Week Two). Oakland is a team on the rise after winning their last two games. But, that just means rising to respectability rather than being a real contender.

Houston and Detroit are teams to watch because they were getting early season market respect (at least compared to where they sit now). Houston need to get healthy. Detroit needs to get its bearings back when the schedule softens.

On the whole, it looks like the most excitement in the NFL in the coming weeks will be sorting out who has the best shot of chasing down Green Bay and New England. Those teams are very clearly on the inside track for #1 seeds and home field advantage through the playoffs in their respective conferences. Can either be beat at home in January if they’re healthy? It’s not looking that way now. But, it’s a long season and healthy quarterbacks are never a guarantee!

See you Thursday to begin our weekly series of “sharp betting” articles. Daily baseball BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card between now and then. If you have any questions about longterm packages, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 any weekday during regular business hours.

Thanks again for checking out this new Futures report. I’m sure it’s going to add some interesting context to our full season coverage. It already has! Back with you in a few days.

 

Be sure to follow:

Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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