We take an early look at the NFL Odds on offer for next year's Super Bowl. Who are the online sportsbooks favoring to take home the title next season?
No Super Bowl L
The NFL is ditching the Roman numerals for next year's Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium outside San Francisco, but unfortunately it's just for one season. I don't know about you, but it seems pretentious to use Roman numerals, which the league has been doing since Super Bowl VI in 1971. Why the change? Because the NFL doesn't think a logo with just an L, which signifies 50, worked well. Instead, the official logo features the "50" in gold, serving to draw attention to the game's golden anniversary and the game's location in the "Golden State." The logo also features the Lombardi Trophy, which has been part of the Super Bowl logo since 2010. We will go back to Super Bowl LI in Houston in 2017.
Seahawks Again Team to Beat
Seattle is the +600 favorite on NFL odds to win next season's Super Bowl, perhaps going for a threepeat, which no team has accomplished. Of course the Seahawks are trying to become the first team to repeat since the Patriots in the 2003-04 seasons. In that 2005 season, the Patriots lost 27-13 at Denver in the divisional round. The team before New England to repeat was the Broncos in the 1997-98 seasons. Denver team didn't make the playoffs in 1999 after John Elway retired following the Super Bowl XXXIII win over Atlanta.
The Seahawks should be back largely intact, although certainly some fringe pieces will have to be let go because quarterback Russell Wilson is finally allowed to get an extension off his rookie contract. That's going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million per year. The only major guy you hear possibly being let go is running back Marshawn Lynch because he will be 29 and has so much mileage on his tires. However, if Lynch has a good game in the Super Bowl and the Seahawks repeat, I don't see how he isn't brought back. Seattle's NFC West should be very strong again in 2015.
The Patriots are 2-point favorites on NFL odds for the Super Bowl but are +750 second-favorites for next season. As long as Tom Brady, and to a lesser extent Rob Gronkowski, stays healthy, this will remain a championship contender. Will Coach Bill Belichick face any game suspensions next year for "deflate-gate?" Will Brady? New England's biggest contract worry is that of star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who holds an option for next season at a whopping $20 million. The Pats can't afford to let the Pro Bowler go, and Revis does seem happy there. The Patriots' AFC East could be a challenge next season with Buffalo on the rise and the Bills adding Rex Ryan as head coach. Maybe Miami figures things out finally.
The Packers are +800 on NFL odds and they played well enough for about 55 minutes in the NFC Championship Game to upset the Seahawks in Seattle. The only worry for Green Bay is whether Aaron Rodgers is starting to get injury-prone. He had that broken collarbone in 2013 and then the torn calf this past season. The Packers also might not be able to afford to bring back excellent receiver Randall Cobb, who had 91 catches for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Denver (+1000) and Indianapolis (+1200) are the only two other clubs under +2000 on NFL futures odds. The Broncos' odds obviously will get much longer if Peyton Manning retires, but no one expects that. The Colts may just need to avoid the Patriots in the playoffs as Andrew Luck and Co. have been routed every time they have faced New England (including regular season). Indianapolis badly needs a running back to help Luck out as Trent Richardson won't be back and he was lousy when on the field.
One long shot NFL pick I like is St. Louis at +4000, but it all depends on what the Rams are able to do at quarterback. That defense is already good enough to win a championship, and Tre Mason is a rising star at running back. Does St. Louis give Sam Bradford one more shot? Trade for a veteran like Jay Cutler or Nick Foles? Draft a QB early in the 2015 draft? Go with Austin Davis or Shaun Hill again? How ironic would it be for the Rams to win a Super Bowl next season, then leave St. Louis for Los Angeles?
NFL Free Picks: Green Bay beats Pittsburgh (+3000 on NFL odds) in Super Bowl 50, a rematch of SB XLV.