Super Bowl Picks: Best Value Entering Conference Championships

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 8:09 PM GMT

Once again, we will not a see a chalk final four in the NFL as the Indianapolis Colts' upset of the Denver Broncos kept the two conference title games from being 1 vs. 2 matchups. Here's a look at updated Super Bowl odds from Bovada for the teams.

NFC No. 1 Seed Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has been the Super Bowl betting favorite for a handful of weeks now and nothing changed in the divisional round as the Seahawks had the biggest margin of victory of any team: 31-17 over visiting Carolina. The Panthers were the sixth team to finish the regular season at .500 or below to make the divisional round in the current playoff format and the sixth to lose by at least 14 points. Russell Wilson was brilliant against a very good Carolina defense, completing 15 of 22 for 268 yards, three touchdowns and no picks -- good for a stellar rating of 149.2. Do you realize that Wilson's career rating in six playoff games is 109.6? That's phenomenal. Peyton Manning's career rating in 24 games is 88.5. Tom Brady's is 88.0. It's time to stop calling Wilson a game manager because the guy is clutch and one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, hands down. The Seahawks are +125 Bovada favorites to win the Super Bowl and -155 to not win it. Seattle beating New England is the favored exact result at +175. Should that be the matchup, Seattle is listed as an early 3-point favorite on NFL odds. It is a 7.5-point favorite this week against visiting Green Bay.

 

AFC No. 1 Seed New England Patriots
Could we have the two top seeds make the Super Bowl for the second straight season? The Patriots opened as 7-point home favorites this week against Indianapolis, and I'm sure they are feeling better about facing the Colts than Manning's Denver Broncos. New England twice rallied from 14-point deficits in the divisional round 35-31 win over Baltimore in the best game of last weekend. Brady was 33 of 50 for 367 yards, three touchdowns and a pick and was sacked only twice. If there's one concern from that game it's that Brady did throw it 50 times; he had to because New England managed only 14 yards rushing on 13 attempts. The Pats abandoned the run completely in the second half. New England dropped back to pass on 54 of its 66 plays in the game, which is 81.8 percent of the time. Entering that game, teams were just 3-59 in the last five seasons (including playoffs) when dropping back to pass on 80.0 percent or more of dropbacks. New England is +190 on NFL odds to win the Super Bowl and -230 not to. The Patriots beating Seattle is +260. While the Pats would be 3-point dogs against the Seahawks, they would be -2.5 on NFL odds against Green Bay.

 

NFC No. 2 Seed Green Bay Packers
The Packers got a gift from the referees in beating Dallas 26-21 at Lambeau on Sunday, although it technically was the correct call to waive off Dez Bryant's late pass reception that would have had the Cowboys at the Green Bay 1-yard line with a chance to take the lead. Instead it was ruled incomplete -- the NFL will look at altering that catch rule this offseason, guaranteed. The 26 points scored tied the fewest the Pack had at Lambeau this year, where they were 9-0. Aaron Rodgers was clearly limping around on his bad calf and started slowly, but then he warmed up and looked like the NFL MVP favorite he is. Rodgers was 24 of 35 for 316 yards and three scores; he completed his final 10 passes of the game. Rodgers took a lot of snaps in the pistol formation to limit his movement as much as possible. The Cowboys only managed to sack him once, but the Seattle pass rush is much better. Rodgers attempted just four passes from outside the pocket but two of them went for touchdowns. That calf will continue to limit his mobility and it could fully tear at any moment. The Packers are +550 to win the Super Bowl and -900 not to. Green Bay beating the Patriots for the title is +750 and beating the Colts +1200. The Packers would be dogs against New England but currently listed at -3 at sportsbooks against Indianapolis.

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AFC No. 4 Seed Indianapolis Colts
Indy was the only underdog to win on divisional weekend, upsetting the Broncos in Denver 24-13 and possibly ending Manning's career (doubtful). It did end the Denver coaching career of John Fox. Andrew Luck has made playoff progression in each of his three seasons. He lost his postseason opener in 2012, won a home wild-card game before losing at New England in 2013, and won a home playoff game vs. Cincinnati and then Sunday's upset in Denver last week. In a rather shocking move, the Colts didn't even have former starting running back Trent Richardson active against the Broncos. That's how far the former No. 3 overall pick has fallen. Luck wasn't sacked once against Denver and threw for 265  yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Keep an eye on temperatures this week in Foxboro as Luck is now 5-1 in his career when in temperatures at 40 or below. The Colts are +650 long shots on Bovada NFL odds to win the Super Bowl and -1200 not to. Indy has opened at +6.5 should it face Seattle and +3 against Green Bay.

NFL Free Picks: Have to like the home teams; I give the Colts very little chance at New England. Green Bay would have had a shot in Seattle if Rodgers was 100 percent.