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Heading into this second-to-last week of NFL play, an amazing 21 teams can still mathematically get to and win Super Bowl XLIX while 11 teams can earn playoff berths here in Week 16. And besides finishing your Christmas shopping, now is the perfect time to try to find perceived value in teams who may have either a decent path or a realistic chance combined with some long odds to get to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona to play in the NFL championship game—aka the Super Bowl—on Sunday, February 1. On Monday, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released updated Super Bowl Futures Book odds for the big game, so let’s take a look at those new numbers—updated Thursday (Dec. 18) afternoon—as well as the openers and find 7 teams and wager $111 in a mythical bankroll in an intended manner to have some balanced bets and ultimately end up with that one winner—because there is always only one winner in professional sports leagues as well as Futures Bets—and attempt to find a semi-wise way to try to have fun and turn a small profit with the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl XLIX.

Before talking about the AFC contenders to win the Super Bowl, it’s important to remember again that the word “value” in the context of sports betting is basically a perception beforehand made individually by each bettor and that True Value probably only really exists in a winning ticket/bet. Getting the best number or the best odds is meaningless unless you can return to the betting window with the selection you made and get your winnings along with your original bet amount back. Losing tickets are just worthless little pieces of white paper. The husk is always the husk and the corn is always the corn.

 

Super Bowl Futures Odds – Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook

New England Patriots 5/2 (Open: 7/1)

Seattle Seahawks 3/1 (4/1)

Green Bay Packers 4/1 (12/1)

Denver Broncos 5/1 (5/1)

Dallas Cowboys 14/1 (75/1)

Indianapolis Colts 16/1 (22/1)

Arizona Cardinals 16/1 (50/1)

Detroit Lions 20/1 (40/1)

Philadelphia Eagles 25/1 (25/1)

Baltimore Ravens 30/1 (25/1)

Cincinnati Bengals 30/1 (22/1)

Pittsburgh Steelers 30/1 (12/1)

New Orleans Saints 30/1 (7/1)

Kansas City Chiefs 80/1 (50/1)

Atlanta Falcons 100/1 (60/1)

San Diego Chargers 100/1 (25/1)

Buffalo Bills 200/1 (60/1)

Carolina Panthers 200/1 (60/1)

Houston Texans 500/1 (35/1)

Miami Dolphins 500/1 (50/1)

Cleveland Browns 1000/1 (100/1)

 

AFC

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (5/2) are the corn in the above paragraph and will likely end up with the homefield advantage in the AFC with games at the Jets in this Week 16 and against the Bills at Home in the regular season finale and be less beat up and tired. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos (5/1) are in that current Fab Four of NFL teams, but Manning hasn’t been his self of late and if taking the best team to come out of the AFC is a strategy, than the Patriots have to be the call and the Broncos have to be the one who gets the axe and are one of two big pull-againsts in this group of bets. Denver is at Cincinnati this week on Monday Night Football (ESPN, 8:15 p.m./5:15 p.m. PT) and then hosts the Raiders in Week 17.

The remaining teams in the AFC also may provide some value, albeit shock value if someone can theoretically beat the Broncos in Denver and the Patriots in Foxboro and three of the next four teams in the odds could probably do so if everything went just right. And they all have the QBs that would be up for the task. The Indianapolis Colts (16/1) with Andrew Luck are definitely in and have the skill position players and defense to win the Super Bowl. The Colts are at the Cowboys in Week 16 and at the Titans in Week 17. The AFC North has the next three listings, but with the Cincinnati Bengals (30/1) having to play the Broncos and at rival Pittsburgh in the finale—the Steelers are an impressive 7-2 ATS over the the L9 against the Bengals—the feeling is that Cincinnati will either be bounced or be too beat up after those two games to make any kind of postseason run. The Baltimore Ravens (30/1) and Pittsburgh Steelers (30/1) are both priced the same as the Bengals, but the perceived value edge goes to Ravens QB Joe Flacco and the Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger—who have bot already won Super Bowls. Andy Dalton just doesn’t instill the kind of confidence in making a run at the Super Bowl as do Luck, Flacco and Roethlisberger, let alone Brady and Manning.

Longshots the Kansas City Chiefs (80/1), San Diego Chargers (100/1), Buffalo Bills (200/1), Houston Texans (500/1), Miami Dolphins (500/1) and Cleveland Browns (1000/1) are all mathematically alive but in reality have about as much of a chance at winning the Super Bowl as do the Jets, who have already been eliminated. No sense wasting any precious time here if we’re talking about betting on teams that could really get to and win the Super Bowl.

 

NFC

The NFC seems like a two-team race between the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (3/1) and the Green Bay Packers (4/1) and Aaron Rodgers, but if only one could be taken here, Russell Wilson and the league’s best defense get the nod. This team looked dead after Week 11 with a 6-4 record but the Seahawks have rallied to win and cover 4 straight and with a victory at Arizona and a win over the Rams at Home in the regular season finale next weekend, Seattle can actually snag homefield advantage if all goes right. And the Seahawks (#1 in opponent’s Rushing and Passing Yards) are playing the same way they did at this time last season and with the Packers great at Home but a little suspect on the Road, the thought is that Green Bay is the other team in that Fab Four—along with the Broncos—that has to be eliminated in favor of the better defensive team.

The mid-range teams in terms of Super Bowl Futures odds in this conference are the Dallas Cowboys (14/1), the upstart Arizona Cardinals (16/1), the impressive Detroit Lions (20/1) and the Philadelphia Eagles (25/1). The thought process for these four is fairly simple: The Cowboys are the Cowboys; the Cardinals can’t win a Super Bowl with a third-string QB they cut in August (Ryan Lindley); the Lions will have their feelings hurt at Lambeau Field in Week 17 in the finale and will have too hard a path from a projected Wild Card spot; and the Eagles will have to do with a combination of Mark Sanchez and maybe Nick Foles at QB, but with NFC games at the Redskins and at the Giants to close out the season, Philadelphia can finish 11-5 and may be able to beat the Packers and/or Seahawks and the AFC representative in Super Bowl XLIX. We’ll see. Stranger things have happened brother. Remember when Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley?

NFC longshots, all Les Misérables from the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints (30/1), Atlanta Falcons (100/1) and Carolina Panthers (200/1) have all been deemed not playoff-worthy by The Masses but the NFL has its current set of rules and hosting a playoff game may be in one of these three teams futures. All three have been playing slightly better than they were this season, but is one worth a bet? You betcha. Maybe only $5 or the smallest level, but now at 30/1—down from 50/1 from Tuesday to Thursday betting—Drew Brees and the Saints could probably win a Wild Card game and maybe one in Green Bay—if they play like the Falcons did in the second half in Week 15 at Lambeau—and then who knows what theoretically happens in Seattle. New Orleans will probably be made into a beignet or something by that ferocious defense. But at least the Saints would come in with solid passing game, something the defending champs are sorely missing. New Orleans hosts Atlanta this weekend and then are at Tampa Bay in the finale so a 2-0 finish and an 8-8 record is definitely not out of the question and the sheer fact this line has moved from 50/1 to 30/1—taking away some of the perceived value in this play—shows that the Sharps have done their homework and think Who Dat Nation can win their final two, beat whomever they face at Home in their playoffs opener and then somehow pass their way to NFL glory and become an 8-8 Super Bowl champion and make everyone think that 2015 may end up being The Year of the Really Weird. As if 2014 already hasn’t.

 

The Strategy

Using that mock $111 mini-bankroll, betting $40 each on the top AFC (Patriots, 5/2) and NFC (Seahawks, 3/1) Futures Bets are a must and $40 wagers would both yield a profit from a theoretical -$111 start with New England paying $100, plus the original $40 bet back (+$40 = $140) for a small profit of $29 while a Seahawks $40 Futures Bet winning ticket would win $120 (+$40 = $160) for a $49 profit on maybe the team with the best chance to actually create that perceived value in this particular scenario. This Seattle team has a chance to win back-to-back Super Bowls wins after never even having won one before last season—and we all know how hard it is to repeat as Super Bowl champions these days.

The small (bet size) picks in this exercise would all yield a little bit more profit, but realistically, there are the Fab Four and maybe three other teams that can possibly shock and it’s important to remember that longshot bets seldom hit in most of these Futures markets. Look at past results in all of the major leagues, including soccer. Betting $10 on the Colts (16/1) would win $160 (+$10 = $170) and win $59 overall—the highest profit in this scenario—after subtracting all of the other losing bets. A quirky $6 bet on the Eagles (25/1) would reap $150 (+$6 = $156) and realize a $45 profit. And with $5 bets on the Ravens, Steelers and Saints—now all at 30/1 after New Orleans was bet down from 50/1—winnings of $150 (+$5 = $155) would be had if one of three could win it all which would result in rewarding the lucky bettor a $44 profit (put $111 out, get $155 back).

Now obviously, most bettors have their own way of betting Futures and strategies among gamblers differ from those serious about their bets to those just wanting to have some fun and bet their hometown teams. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the latter, just so the amounts bet aren’t so exorbitant that they ruin the point of either trying to actually win a little bit of money or just have some fun with the bet. Or in other words, be careful throwing $100 on the Dolphins because you “like the number” (500/1) and think that they can beat the Vikings and the Jets—both at Home in Miami Gardens—in the final 2 weeks (they certainly can) and make the playoffs and then somehow shock the world without first checking all the miraculous scenarios that would have to happen in these next two weeks for Miami to still even make the playoffs in the first place.

In all honesty, it’s very hard to make money or find value in Futures Bets, even at this point in time and the best idea may be to just load up on either the Patriots or the Seahawks and then hope that the one you picked ends up winning it all. And sometimes in that process, the ability to hedge and lock in a profit is created. But everyone has their own style and the best idea is to stick with your own and concentrate on getting the amounts right. Good luck.

 

SUPER BOWL FUTURES PICKS (Big): Patriots 5/2, Seahawks 3/1

SUPER BOWL FUTURES PICKS (Small): Colts 16/1, Eagles 25/1, Ravens 30/1, Steelers 30/1, Saints 30/1