2006 NFL Futures Odds and Advice
by Jordan Adams - 08/01/2006
August is here with football right around the corner. The 2006 NFL season is less than six weeks away and the hype has already begun. Mini camps have started and the preseason is upon us. This year the contending field has expanded with the increasing depth of the NFC and the consistent dominance of the AFC. As many as ten teams could walk away as Super Bowl champions, but those teams still have to capture their conference crown first. Here is a look at the odds for teams to win the conference championships as well as the 2007 Super Bowl, courtesy of Bodog.
Odds to win 2007 NFC Championship
Seattle Seahawks: 4/1
Last year's NFC representative in the Super Bowl, again the Seahawks are slated to return as the favorites out of a much tougher conference in 2006. Shaun Alexander is back after resigning as a free agent as is most of last year's team. Seattle should advance far into the playoffs, but two straight NFC crowns nowadays seems like a bit of a stretch.
Dallas Cowboys: 4/1
The most surprising line of the conference, Dallas comes in as co-favorites with Seattle. Yes, Terrell Owens boosted the offense immensively, but Dallas is not a team that is going to revolve its scoring attack around one player. The defense will be very good once again, but everyone in the NFC East improved and the Cowboys will find it hard enough to win the division. This is a bit of a reach.
Carolina Panthers: 5/1
The consensus pick by most experts to earn its franchise's second Super Bowl birth, the Panthers are the most talented in the NFC on both sides of the ball, as well as special teams. Carolina returns the team that lost in the NFC Championship to Seattle in addition to adding some final pieces to the puzzle. Keyshawn Johnson comes over from Dallas to build consistency for the passing game while first round draft pick DeAngelo Williams strengthens the ground attack.
Washington Redskins: 7/1
For all this organization did in the offseason, this line seems a bit high. Considering Washington made the playoffs over Dallas and only improved in the off-season, maybe they should be flip-flopped with the Cowboys. The defense has no sex appeal, but has consistently been one of the league's best units. The offense got a major upgrade with Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd coming over to help Santana Moss in the passing attack.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 15/1
A great value bet here. Tampa Bay may not be the best team in its own division, but they are a playoff team from a year ago and will be back there again in '06. For the kind of odds they are receiving, this bet is worth a few bucks with an excellent return.
Odds to win 2007 AFC Championship
Indianapolis Colts: 3/1
If the Colts couldn't win it last year, it seems it never is going to happen. After losing the Edge to Arizona, Indy not only needs to replace its irreplaceable tailback but also make sure the newly improved defense stays on point. As deep and as competitive as the AFC is every year, one should stay away from this team in '06.
New England Patriots: 4/1
A year removed from its loss in Denver in the playoffs, Tom Brady and co. are reloaded and most think they are primed to return to the AFC Championship game at the least. The defense is back to 100 percent and its offense added some depth in the draft with Chad Jackson and Laurence Maroney. They should be one of the final four remaining in January.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 5/1
The defending champs have breathed a huge sigh of relief to see their starting quarterback avoid setbacks after his motorcycle accident. Still very dangerous but not a likely candidate to get back to the Super Bowl. It just doesn't happen in today's game if you're not the New England Patriots, especially with the payout they are offering.
Denver Broncos: 6/1
Denver should again be a big player in 2006 and the Broncos have all the tools to advance one step further to get back to the Big Game. However, the depth of the conference suggests that it could be a toss-up at best.
Kansas City Chiefs: 10/1
At these odds, Kansas City is suggested as the seventh best team in the conference. That is clearly not the case as the Chiefs should find its way into the playoffs and make some noise. Whether they can find a Super Bowl birth in '06 is unknown, but a solid value bet in August.
Odds to win 2007 Super Bowl
Carolina Panthers: 10/1
One of the true favorites in the NFC and likely to at least make the conference title game.
Indianapolis Colts: 6/1
Once again the overall favorite to win the Super Bowl. It's not going to happen and with those odds, it's not worth the risk.
Seattle Seahawks: 10/1
A likely choice to face Carolina for the NFC crown. Talent is not a question, but rather if they can get the same kind of fortune this time around.
New England Patriots: 15/2
Primed for another Belichick season and as focused as ever. Not a bad bet if you think they have more in the tank.
Dallas Cowboys: 10/1
Given the same odds as the other two favorites in the NFC, however Dallas is not on the same level as the elite teams to capture a Super Bowl title at this time. They will be worn out battling for the division title. That alone would be an accomplishment -- if they can indeed fight their way out of the division and into the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs: 16/1
Not a bad choice if you want to stay away from the chalk. While most will be riding the favorites, Kansas City could sneak up on the rest of the conference and find themselves a couple of games from the Super Bowl.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 10/1
An easy playoff team but not much more. The loss of Jerome Bettis and Antwaan Randle El could hamper the offense, while the defense is not likely to be as dominant as it was in 2005.
New York Giants: 16/1
All the talent in the world, but lacking experience to make a run deep into the playoffs. That showed last year when they ran into Carolina and it appears they are at least two years away from a serious Super Bowl push.
Philadelphia Eagles: 20/1
Absolutely silly to think this team has a shot to win it all. More like 40/1. Donovan McNabb is healthy but has no offensive weapons. Again the defense is stingy but cannot be relied upon to win ball games.
Houston Texans: 100/1
Reggie Bush might have alone lowered its chances to 80/1. He isn't on the team and they will have a tough enough shot at improving to .500, a record they should have held at the end of 2004.
San Francisco 49ers: 170/1
This organization did a wonderful job in this past spring's draft. Talented youth like Vernon Davis and Manny Lawson will be the building blocks of the future, but Alex Smith is the man who will get him there and he is five years away, best case scenario.