The Carolina Panthers have run away with the NFC South, but what about the rest of the field. Does any team have postseason upside? Let’s find out as we examine the NFL odds for Super Bowl 50.
Carolina Panthers NFC South Champions
The Carolina Panthers have run away with the NFC South title comprehensively. Reeling off a 13-0 SU record, which extends their regular season winning form to a staggering 17-0 going back to the end of the 2014 season, they are virtually untouchable. Not to mention the only undefeated team in the league. It’s interesting to note they aren’t the runaway faves to win Super Bowl 50 though.
To say the Panthers’ season was unexpected, is a bit of an understatement. Heck, they weren’t even favored to win the NFC South title in preseason betting markets. That was the domain of the New Orleans Saints.
Preseason Futures Betting Odds To Win Division
New Orleans Saints +100
Carolina Panthers +325
Atlanta Falcons +350
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +550
Tale told, the Saints prop up the division while the Panthers preside over it. In the middle the Bucs and Falcons are tied 6-7 SU, but both headed in opposite directions it would seem as the season winds down.
NFC Conference Standings For Playoffs Ahead of Week 15
1. Panthers (13-0)
2. Cardinals (11-2)
3. Packers (9-4)
4. Washington (6-7)
5. Seahawks (8-5)
6. Vikings (8-5)
In the hunt
7. Buccaneers (6-7)
8. Falcons (6-7)
9. Eagles (6-7)
10. Giants (5-7)
11. Rams (5-8)
12. Saints (5-8)
13. Bears (5-8)
14. Cowboys (4-9)
Week 15 Pivotal For Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As it so happens, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead us into week 15 with their pivotal showdown with the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football betting. A loss here won’t eliminate the Buccaneers, but it’ll certainly set them back further in the race. They are already two games behind Seattle and Minnesota in the wild card race and would need one of those to let up down the stretch to keep their hopes alive.
The loss to the Saints last week was a bit of a setback but they still have a theoretical shot to finish 9-7 on the season if they win out from here on. Isn’t it remarkable for a team that finished all the way at the bottom of the pile last season with a 2-14 SU record to be part of the postseason narrative the year following? Clearly, drafting Jameis Winston as the No.1 pick overall was the best move.
If the Bucs win out, they’ll still need at least two losses by either Seahawks or the Vikings in the next three weeks to sail into one of the coveted wild card spots. What are the chances either of those teams will let up? Slim where the Seahawks are concerned. The Vikings could wobble though.
It’s hard to see the Seahawks dropping that many games – they take on the Browns in week 15, the Rams in week 16 and the Cardinals in week 17. Only the last game of the season poses as a realistic stumbling block.
The Vikings, however, could potentially deliver those two losses or more with the schedule they have over the next three weeks. They take on the unpredictable Bears in week 15, followed by the equally unpredictable Giants in week 16 and then divisional leaders Green Bay Packers at Lambeau in week 17.
As far as the Carolina Panthers with a 13-0 record going into week 15 are concerned, they have the comfort of knowing they can do no worse than 13-3 SU should the unthinkable happen and they tank the remaining three games. It won’t cost them much to do so as the second-placed Packers can now do no better than 12-4. What that means is the Panthers have the top seed and the first round bye in the playoffs in no uncertain terms.
The Atlanta Falcons are still hanging in the balance, but after a clean sweep by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their postseason upside really hangs on a Hail Mary. Same goes for the Saints, who are fourth in the division with a 5-8 SU record looking at season best prospect of 8-8 SU.
To Win NFC Conference
The NFC is stacked deep with viable contenders, from the undefeated Carolina Panthers to the hot Arizona Cardinals, the former champions Seattle Seahawks and fan favorite Green Bay Packers. Any one of those has a conceivable shot to win the Conference.
How Does the NFC South Stack Up NFC Conference Futures To Win Outright?
The disparity in the NFC South is nowhere more evident than in the outright futures markets, both to win the Conference and Super Bowl 50 betting markets. To win the NFC Conference (see Table 2), the Panthers are riding roughshod over the entire field as the +150 favorites. Their NFC South cohorts though hover in the basement on significantly larger NFL odds to win outright. The Bucs and Falcons are priced at whopping +12500 while the Saints are living on the edge of elimination altogether with a +25000 price tag.
How Does the NFC South Stack Up in Super Bowl 50 Betting?
It’s much of the same in Super Bowl 50 Betting markets with the Panthers joint faves with the Patriots atop the Super Bowl 50 betting board. The remaining NFC South contenders are longshots for NFL picks and it remains to be seen whether they’ll even make the cut for the playoffs.