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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Nobody in the NFL has played more than eight games out of their 16-game seasons. But, the Futures markets have pretty clearly defined the Super Bowl picture at the halfway poll. Only a handful of teams have legitimate shots at lifting the Lombardi Trophy. The good news is that…instead of what was shaping up as just a TWO-team race in early action…we now have SEVEN seemingly legitimate contenders.

The New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers are still ahead of the field…and are still expected to represent the AFC and NFC respectively in the Super Bowl. But, this past weekend’s action showed that it’s far from a foregone conclusion that the big game will be a Brady/Rodgers showcase.

*Denver absolutely crushed Green Bay this past Sunday night. The Broncos very clearly looked like a Super Bowl threat as Peyton Manning finally had a good outing. We know the Denver defense is amazing this year…championship caliber all by itself. If Manning keeps playing like THAT, the Broncos have a real shot to take out the Patriots. (Note, those two will play each other Thanksgiving Weekend).

*Green Bay getting crushed…and manhandled by a great defense…helped open the door over in the NFC. If Rodgers is the type of quarterback who runs up the stats vs. vulnerable opponents, but gets shut down by top defenses, then the Packers might run into trouble in January even on their home field. That keeps Carolina, Arizona, and even Seattle within striking distance.

*Cincinnati passed a huge test at Pittsburgh, in Ben Roethlisberger’s return to action. That road win for the Bengals kept them undefeated. Either Denver or Cincinnati is going to join New England with a first round bye in the brackets.

Here’s a look at composite odds entering Week 9 of the NFL season. These are compiled by looking at a variety of futures prices in Las Vegas and offshore. Prices will vary amongst stores…particularly once you get further down the list.

(If this is your first time reading one of my Futures articles, these are based on $100 bets. So, a $100 bet on New England would win $250 if they win the Super Bowl…a $100 bet on Arizona would win $1,400)

 

ODDS TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL (7-team race)

New England +250

Green Bay +350

Denver +800

Cincinnati +900

Seattle +1000

Carolina +1000

Arizona +1400

Denver and Cincinnati both moved up even though AFC power New England looked fantastic last Thursday night against Miami. That gives you a sense of how impressed the markets were with the Broncos and Bengals this past weekend.

In the NFC, Carolina stayed undefeated this past Monday by surviving Indianapolis. They didn’t look like championship material in doing so though. That defense better not wear down in the second half or Carolina’s Futures odds will plummet. Seattle is still being priced based on respect from the past two seasons and depth of talent. Barely beating Dallas isn’t consistent with Super Bowl greatness. If Super Bowl odds were only based on results, Seattle wouldn’t be listed with the elites. Still time to find their form.

This next group of teams has a chance to make the playoffs and do some damage. But, the markets aren’t confident that any can get to January and then run the table.

 

POTENTIAL SPOILERS

Philadelphia +2800

Atlanta, Minnesota, Pittsburgh +3300

Indianapolis, NY Giants +4000

St. Louis, NY Jets +5000

New Orleans, Oakland +6600

Dallas +8000

If Tony Romo ever comes back, there’s a good chance Dallas will jump higher. They certainly would be up near Philly (at least) if he hadn’t been hurt. He suffered that injury in a road win for Dallas in Philadelphia! Pittsburgh would have been more highly regarded if they hadn’t lost at home to Cincinnati. That keeps them out of the top seven (but still in the top 10).

How about the Oakland Raiders! Those of you who live in other parts of the country may not realize how big a deal the Raiders are here in Nevada when they’re playing well. Our “local” teams are Oakland and San Francisco on the NFL map. Raiders’ fans turn out in droves at Las Vegas and Reno sportsbooks when the team is good. It’s great to see that kind of buzz again. Great energy locally for the wins over San Diego and the Jets the past two Sundays.

 

DISTANT LONGSHOTS

Buffalo, Kansas City +10000

Baltimore Houston, San Diego, Washington +20000

Tampa Bay +30000

Interesting mix there. Tampa Bay is a developing story because Jameis Winston is improving with each week. He’s not in the Super Bowl discussion yet. But, that team has come farther more quickly than most sharps were expecting. There was more local enthusiasm about Tennessee and Marcos Mariota after the summer draft. Tennessee just fired its head coach! Jameis Winston has road divisional wins over Atlanta and New Orleans.

 

NO SHOT

Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit Jacksonville +50000

Tennessee, San Francisco +75000

San Francisco just benched quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Many sharps expected him to be in big trouble without former coach Jim Harbaugh hiding his weaknesses. The season opening win vs. Minnesota, and then a couple of decent games vs. the NY Giants and Baltimore only delayed the inevitable. He wasn’t an immediate disaster. But, he’s been a disaster the last two games. Time for Blaine Gabbert to get a shot.

Back with you again later this week to study sharp betting patterns. Our standard schedule…

Lunchtime Thursday: How Sharps are Betting Thursday/Friday Football

Lunchtime Friday: How Sharps are Betting College Football Marquee Matchups

Dinnertime Friday: How Sharps are Betting Sunday/Monday NFL

Among the marquee college matchups this Saturday are LSU/Alabama, Florida State/Clemson, and TCU/Oklahoma State. Big weekend!

Between now and then you can build some bankroll with midweek MAC action in college football and nightly NBA. You can always purchase my top plays right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about longterm packages, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 any weekday during regular business hours.

Thanks for reading. See you Thursday.

 

Be sure to follow:

Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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