Despite losing to the Giants 21-17 in last night’s Super Bowl, the Patriots open the 2013 betting season as the Super Bowl favourites, at 5-1. The Giants reward for their second Super Bowl win in five seasons? 8-1 odds, good for the fifth highest.
The Green Bay Packers, who nearly ran the table in the regular season before finishing 15-1, are right behind the Pats at 11-2. Yet another seemingly perennial elite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are right behind at 6-1 tied with, curiously enough, the Eagles. Last year, after adding Nhamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in free agency and by trade (respectively), The Eagles failed to live up to the self-given “Dream Team” title. Giving the Eagles such high odds is likely an attempt by Vegas to lure in people whose judgment is still clouded by potential rather than actual results, considering the Eagles missed the playoffs last year.
Some of the strongest-looking teams of this past regular season come next with the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers at 10-1, and the Houston Texans at 12-1. If you’re looking for an up-and-coming team with slightly lower odds than the presumptive favourites, you can do worse than any of these three. As a Houston Texans fan I’ll admit some mild bias, but with a top-ranked defense and running game filled with young stars, (and a non-injured Matt Schaub), the Texans could surprise some people next year.
Like most NFL fans with eyes and brains capable of seeing and evaluating talent, Vegas found two of this year’s playoff teams, the Bengals (30-1) and the Broncos (50-1), to be more “pretender” than “contender”. Oddly enough, both of these playoff teams find themselves behind the last place Colts, who are somehow at 25-1, right in the middle of the pack, according to Vegas. This is likely another case (along with the Eagles 6-1) of potential over actual performance. The Colts’ play last year showed how truly valuable Peyton Manning was to the team, as they finished with a paltry 2-14 record. Even with the addition of Andrew Luck, it’ll be tough for the Colts to even manage a .500 record, much less a Super Bowl.
With free agency, the draft, and money starting to come in, these odds will likely change a lot over the next few months. If you see some odds that jump out at you now, do what you need to do before the public starts throwing money at your pick and the odds lower. Based on the current odds given, and my projected off-season moves and next-season performances, some teams that jump out at me are the Texans at 12-1, the Cowboys and Ravens at 20-1, and if you want a shot in the dark, the Dolphins at 50-1. Signing Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning could jumpstart the Dolphins hype train, whether it is deserved or not.
While I do recommend you be cautious with your money (sports gambling is illegal in most countries/states), it’s always fun to speculate on NFL futures.
Hit the jump for the rest of the odds, and sound off in the comments below with your reaction.