There are so many wonderful things to gamble on in this world. With the Oscar nominations announced this morning, a lot cleared up in those gambling races. Twelve Years a Slave’s money line is -250, which along with American Hustle at +275 and Gravity at +750 wraps up the favorites. And while perusing such lines, what do you know, there are early money lines out for all 32 teams on Super Bowl XLIX, taking place February 1st, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Let’s take a look!
|Rank||Team||American Odds||Fractional Odds (to One)|
Funny how none of the bottom teams have a clear guy at quarterback yet. Who might be worth putting some money on?
The New England Patriots, +1200
This team is playing in the AFC championship game this Sunday. How could they be underrated? Well, they have endured one of the more tortured campaigns in recent memory with injury after injury, almost none of their ten best players from a year ago are still playing, and with Bill Belichick at the reins and Tom Brady in the huddle they are still playing in the freaking AFC championship this Sunday.
The counter argument here is that Patriots won one and a half more games than they “should” have this season,1 and that the player I mentioned in the previous paragraph will be 37 years old. Still, with the Pats basically making the playoffs every year, at 12-1 it might not be crazy.
The Green Bay Packers, +1500
By some measures, the Packers actually suffered more bad injury luck than the Patriots this season. Oh, and also by conventional measures: Aaron Rodgers missed two months and Clay Matthews was out for good by the time the playoffs came round. Which the Packers still made; which they went out of on the last play of the game, by three points, to the 49ers, currently headed to their third straight NFC championship game. The Packers can play with the very best. Aaron Rodgers probably is the very best.
The NFC North will likely be a tougher beat than the AFC East, however. And the Packers’ coaches, particularly Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers, do not seem to be in quite the same class as the league’s best. Still, a better than a one in sixteen chance that the Packers win it all seems likely.
The New Orleans Saints, +1500
Drew Brees. Also though stuck in the six seed this season, the Saints were a couple of games away (read: road losses to the Jets and the Patriots) from better playoff positioning.
But, you know, they still have to play eight road games next season, so…
The Atlanta Falcons, +1800
The best bet of the bunch? Maybe. If not, it will be the next one. There is a lot to like about the Falcons, who lost Matt Ryan’s top weapons on offense (like seriously, the wide receivers and the running backs), and eventually resorted to starting only high school seniors on defense, or something, I forget. But that Matt Ryan! Matt Ryan has been one of Pro Football Focus’ top five quarterbacks four of his six seasons in the league. Among the league’s elite quarterbacks, his team is getting the worst odds (which is to say, the best odds). Oh yeah, and the Falcons have the sixth pick in the draft.
The main downside here is the NFC South. The Falcons will have tough competition next year. In fact, the Panthers at +2000 might be more compelling than these featured teams. The Panthers might be so compelling that one might be compelled to write a post just about them in the near-ish future. (HINT: One such person might be me.)
The Houston Texans, +3000
“Houston, we have a quarterback.” These words must be realized in order for Houston to win it all. But the Texans do not need the best quarterback, they just need a starting NFL quarterback. They have the number one pick in the draft. But yeah, Manziel or Bridgewater, rookie quarterbacks cannot win the Super Bowl, etc.2 But what if they trade that pick for an established quarterback (and that team’s first rounder, or some later round picks or whatever)? Philip Rivers will turn 33 in December of next season. Michael Vick will turn 34 in June, and apparently has lost his job to Nick Foles. Eli Manning just turned 33. Ben Roethlisberger turns 32 in March.3
Remember, Houston won a playoff game in each of the previous two seasons. They were the unluckiest team in the NFL this season, winning two fewer games than their net point total suggests they should have. Also, they likely adjusted their priorities when it became clear they would not make the playoffs. J.J. Watt and Andre Johnson have been among the very, very best at their respective positions since they entered the league. The toughest competition for their division will likely come from the Colts. They should have an easier schedule after finishing last in the league. They are currently 30-1. Remember this day, sports fans. Remember this.
- According to football’s Pythagorean theorem, they outperformed by 1.5 wins. ↩
- There is actually no rule that says that a rookie quarterback cannot win the Super Bowl. Keep that in mind. ↩
- Confession: All I want to do now is get in a room with Rick Smith, Houston’s general manager, and talk about this. Also, how crazy would this be: the number one pick for RGIII? Tragically, Washington already gave their next 4,500 draft picks to the Rams, and without anything else to work with not even I will grant this feasibility, but… damn. ↩