Super Bowl XLVIII, to be held outdoors in New Jersey on Feb. 2, 2014 (Groundhog Day), is almost a year away, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t look at the futures odds to see what looks interesting. It is never too early for Super Bowl predictions, after all. Here’s a first, very early look at how things shape up (all odds are from Bovada):
Denver Broncos (7/1) - The co-favorites in early action are the team that was the hottest heading into the playoffs this year before falling short to the eventual champs. They were good in 2013, and that shouldn’t change significantly. There are a few concerns, though. Mike McCoy did a very good job of developing chemistry with Peyton Manning, but now he is the head coach in San Diego. His replacement enters a tough role. Manning is also a year older and a year more fragile, so the high level he played at all year is not assured to continue. I had doubts last year about him that didn’t wind up being a concern (potentially at least not until his subpar playoff performance), but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be a concern now. I’m not surprised that the Broncos are favored, but I wouldn’t bet on them.
25% BONUS ON ALL DEPOSITS AT BETONLINE -
San Francisco 49ers (7/1) - Can the 49ers get over the hangover of falling short on the biggest stage? Can Kaepernick take a big step forward with a full offseason to prepare, and now that teams will spend the whole offseason getting ready to face him? And can they upgrade that awful secondary so that the power of the front seven isn’t wasted? How you feel about those questions will dictate how you feel about this price. I like the Niners next year — but not this much.
New England Patriots (15/2) - The Patriots need to do something significant to prove that the era hasn’t ended for them. They are good, but it has been far too long since they have been good enough. I’m not buying into them.
Green Bay Packers (10/1) - If they can stay healthy all year then they should learn a lot from this past season. They got off to a rough start and never really fully recovered from it. I like this price more than any of the ones that came before it.
Baltimore Ravens (12/1) - Can the defending champs repeat? I doubt it. That’s no disrespect to them, but they had a very blessed trip through the playoffs this year, and we have seen many times in recent years how hard it is to do it again — especially when you weren’t exactly a dominant team heading into the playoffs. They also have to deal with a big personality overhaul — Ray Lewis is gone, and there is a pretty good chance that Ed Reed will be on a new team. Then they have to get Joe Flacco’s contract situation resolved. Not a lot of reasons to back them at a price anything close to this.
Seattle Seahawks (12/1) - This is going to be a popular pick, and the price should fall. I like the choice. The defense is good and should stay that way. Russell Wilson is clearly a special player — he had the best passer rating in the league in the second half of the season — and he plays within himself in a way that is easy to believe he can sustain. The loss of long-time defensive coordinator Gus Bradley hurts, but it shouldn’t be fatal. Given the emotional space the Niners could be in early next year, it’s not hard to see the Seahawks as the team to beat in the NFC.
New York Giants (20/1) - The opportunity to play at home will be looked at as a driving force for this team, and the public will jump on that angle. That hasn’t worked for other hosts recently, though, and the Giants have too many issues for it to work for them.
San Diego Chargers (35/1) - At least the last three Super Bowl champs haven’t exactly been clear choices to win it all a year before they did — or a month before, for that matter. In that same vein maybe the Chargers are worth a look. Talent at their core has never been their issue, and they still have plenty to work with. Norv Turner was a truly awful coach, though, and he had created a toxic culture around the team. With Mike McCoy in charge they have a fresh start. If McCoy can work his QB magic and get Rivers back to playing like he can then this team can score. Their division is far from the most terrifying, so the opportunity to win is there. At this point San Diego looks like an attractive longshot.
For the rest of the 2014 NFL futures odds visit Bovada.
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