We have passed the halfway mark of the this 2015-16 football season and things are really starting to shape up around the league. Lets examine our best NFL picks for Super Bowl 50 value.
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Super Bowl Futures Update
I’m a big proponent of preseason (and in-season) NFL futures bets. No, I’m not talking about odds to win the Super Bowl or to win either of the two conferences. Those tend to be terrible bets. Only one team out of the 32 will cash a ‘Win the Super Bowl’ wager; only one out of 16 will cash a ‘Win the Conference’ wager.
These are longshot bets, by definition, and the house cut at many properties is truly enormous, making the standard -110 juice on side and total wagers look like a real bargain. There’s a reason why every sportsbook in Vegas has their Super Bowl 50 oddsfutures market. prominently displayed for the tourists that wander in.
I understand the emotional (and financial) power of a longshot score, but most of the ‘live’ teams don’t even offer true ‘longshot score’ type odds. In fact, at preseason Super Bowl odds of 20:1 or higher, only three teams are better than one game over .500 right now – the Bengals, Vikings and Falcons; none of whom will enter January’s postseason run as a favorite to win more than one game.
I’ll use William Hill odds for the purposes of this article. Obviously, lines vary – often dramatically – from book to book. The current Super Bowl odds market is a dismal proposition for bettors. All the teams worth betting on – those with a realistic and legitimate shot at winning the title – have seen their odds dropped significantly from where they were a month or two ago.
New England at 2:1 is not a ‘value’ bet, by any stretch of the imagination. Carolina was 50:1 in the preseason; now they’re down to 6:1. Cinci’s 40:1 from August is currently down to 8:1; not exactly a great ROI for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since January, 1992. Even very good teams like the Packers and Broncos who’s odds have dropped in recent weeks still don’t offer great returns, with Green Bay sitting at 12:1 to win it all, and Denver at 15:1. Plain and simple – these ‘win the Super Bowl’ odds are not attracting one iota of wiseguy betting attention.
But there are futures bets that are still worth making here in mid-November. Odds to win divisions are worth discussing here; bets you can make throughout the season at the best sportsbooks here in Vegas and offshore. I’ll use William Hill odds for the purposes of this article. Obviously, lines vary – often dramatically – from book to book.
A Jaguars to win the AFC South ticket at 5:1 doesn’t look too bad for a team that’s one game out of first place right now; very ‘live’ in the division. Indy has been terrible all year and Andrew Luck is hurt. Houston is not juggernaut; a sub .500 squad with QB issues, no running game and a suspect defense. The Titans have already dumped their head coach, not primed for a strong late season run. Jacksonville only faces one opponent with a winning record the rest of the way, capable of a late season surge.
Dallas is certainly worth a look at 25:1 to win the NFC East. Tony Romo returns this weekend following the 0-7 Brandon Weeden/Matt Cassel debacle. The Cowboys are three games behind the Giants in the standings, but there’s no shortage of talent here, and the Giants (and Eagles right behind them) aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire with their play.
There’s one more live longshot worthy of discussion here; KC at 15:2 to win the AFC West. Yes, Denver holds a three game lead over the Chiefs right now. But the Broncos just made a QB change, replacing a Hall of Famer with Brock Osweiler making his first career start. Denver still has games remaining against New England, Cinci and Pittsburgh outside of division. KC’s remaining non-divisional games are Cleveland, Baltimore and Buffalo. KC certainly isn’t a favorite right now to win the AFC West, or even close. But they’re live…