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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM

We’re down to the final eight teams in the NFL’s championship chase. The four bye teams will take on the four Wildcard Weekend survivors this Saturday and Sunday. There’s far from a clear consensus in terms of who the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl should be. In fact, the consensus is that five different teams are in a virtual dead heat!

Let’s take a look at composite odds gathered from around Nevada and offshore.

 

ODDS TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL

New England +400

Carolina +400

Arizona +400

Denver +500

Seattle +500

Kansas City +1000 (up from +1600 amidst 11-game win streak)

Green Bay +1200 (up from +1600 after strong showing)

Pittsburgh +1400 (down from +1200 because of injuries)

Now, if you shop around, you will see some slightly different numbers. Some of the +400’s can be had for +450. A store here or there may have Arizona as the favorite rather than New England (banged up) or Carolina (forced to face Seattle this week). But, generally speaking…we have a three-way coin at the very top, and what is essentially a five-way dead heat for all practical purposes for the four bye teams and Seattle.

You could make the case that Seattle is seen as “the best team in the NFL” right now by the betting market given those prices. They’re at +500 despite having to play on the road in Carolina Sunday…and then on the road again (probably in Arizona) the week after that. If these were all neutral field games, Seattle would obviously rise a bit while all the bye hosts would fall. Seattle and Denver are at the same price even though one is looking at two road games while the other is looking at two home games.

Do any of the three longshots have a chance?

KANSAS CITY: you certainly can’t rule them out because they’re playing great lately…because New England may not be back to 100% health and form this week…and because Kansas City already has a road win at Denver this season! It’s true that the Chiefs have mostly been feasting on a light schedule. Houston sure didn’t look like a playoff team last week. The Chiefs haven’t played many eventual playoff qualifiers during their win streak. Still, this is a group getting some looks from sharp Futures bettors. If New England’s healthy is looking shaky on game day, the Chiefs might be a very aggressive sharp bet this weekend.

GREEN BAY: the problem here is that the Packers just got crushed at Arizona not too long ago, and they lost a home game to Minnesota right after that. All they did last week was bully a team that shouldn’t have been in the playoffs anyway. Sharps do respect Aaron Rodgers…but they saw enough of this offense to be pessimistic about running the table in January.

PITTSBURGH: would have been a very popular darkhorse bet if not for second half injuries in Cincinnati last week. Ben Roethlisberger is reportedly going to play despite a bum shoulder. Wide Receiver Antonio Brown is much less likely to play, or be a factor if he suits up. Very tough to score on this great Denver defense at altitude when they’re fresh and rested.

Since we have some time this week, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at what the Preseason odds were for these eight teams this past summer…

 

PRESEASON ODDS TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL

Seattle +450

Green Bay +600

New England +700

Denver +1200

Pittsburgh +2500

Arizona +3300

Kansas City +3300

Carolina +4000 (yes, a +4000 longshot would ultimately go 15-1!)

Seattle was seen as the best team in the NFL by the marketplace, and that’s still true now when you adjust for their remaining gauntlet. Arizona and Carolina turned out to be the big party crashers in terms of the best seeds. Easy to forget how well respected some of these other teams were back in August…

Indianapolis +900

Philadelphia +1600

Dallas +1800

Baltimore +2200

Miami +2500

Indianapolis was supposed to be second-best in the AFC behind New England. They underachieved even with Andrew Luck, and then turned awful when he got hurt. Philadelphia was very overrated by sharps all season (then the Eagles fired their head coach). Dallas probably would have won the weak NFC East if Tony Romo had stayed healthy. Definite disappointments in Baltimore and Miami.

A few surprises overall…but it’s still Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Russell Wilson playing quarterback in huge postseason games…and Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger aren’t exactly strangers to Super Bowl discussions. Are Cam Newton and Carson Palmer ready to join that echelon? We’ll know soon.

You can purchase my top selections in all sports right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Don’t forget that college basketball is my favorite sport to handicap and bet. Your January will be even bigger if you add in the baskets to playoff football.

Speaking of basketball, I’m going to start adding in some hoops coverage here in my web coverage.

Wednesday: College Basketball Futures Prices

Thursday: NBA “Best and Worst” Pointspread Discussion

Friday: NFL Divisional Round “Sharps” Report

Football’s about to hand off to basketball…and I’ll do my very best to keep you on top of market developments. Thanks for reading! See you again Wednesday.

 

Be sure to follow:

Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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