NFL Playoffs: Early Super Bowl Futures Odds, Who Has Value?
In theory, when it comes to wagering, the NFL Playoffs should be one of the prime handicapping junctures on the wagering calendar.
Odds are the Texans won't be on this list.
Think about it -- there is no need to factor in the week to week motivational differences, letdown possibilities, and (at least for the first weekend of the playoffs) bye week effects. Quite simply, teams are trying to survive and advance, with no regard for resting players or leaving any page of the playbook unturned. Pure evaluation of matchups and handicapping nuance, that's it.
Considering that I had another horrific 2-4 weekend last weekend, capping off a 2013 regular season that never did make it over the newly concocted Pendergast Line, I need the simplicity of playoff handicapping.
There will be a time to go game by game (like this Friday), but for now, let's take a quick look at the Super Bowl futures odds and see if we can find any value in pinpointing a team, maybe even a dark horse or two, to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
We will put them in categories and assess the value of each. As usual, the odds are courtesy of bovada.lv:
Odds to win the 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII
DENVER BRONCOS +275
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS +275
VALUE: Inherently, there is very rarely great value in the one seeds come playoff time, especially two that are perceived to be dominant in their own ways -- Denver having broken the single season scoring record behind Peyton Manning's own record breaking individual season, and Seattle with one of the best home field advantages in all of professional team sports. Now, the fly in the ointment for each one -- for Denver, Peyton Manning's history in the postseason (not great, 9-11 overall) and, for Seattle, a stacked NFC where all of the other contenders are playing great football or (in the case of Green Bay, with Aaron Rodgers' return) are positioned to play great football. I wouldn't play either one seed on futures bets.
The Strong Leans
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers +700
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +900
CAROLINA PANTHERS +1000
VALUE: Rare that the third rated bet on the board is a five sees, but such is life in the NFC West, with three double digit win teams, including the +700 49ers. Fact is that since the 2005 season, in all but one season (2009, Colts-Saints) the Super Bowl has included at least one team that played in the wild card round, and in six of those eight seasons, a wild card round winner won the whole thing. So the lack of a bye week shouldn't scare you away from a team playing this weekend, I just don't think that at +700 San Francisco is that team. Best value of these three is New England based solely on having Tom Brady. Carolina having to go through Seattle at this stage in Cam Newton's career is a bit dicey.