2018 Super Bowl Predictions with Futures Odds and Analysis
We are seven weeks into the NFL season, so it's a good time to look at what we actually know. Not much, really. Philadelphia seems like the best team, but they just lost their star left tackle for the season. And every other team has shown far more vulnerabilities. Top teams have been very inconsistent. Some teams with high expectations have faltered. Some of them have just plain sucked. Some seemingly bad teams are overachieving. Nearly halfway through the season is a good time to step back, look at Super Bowl futures, and see if we can find any value. Or clarity. ( Odds to win the Super Bowl are from BetOnline ):
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New England Patriots (+350) : First of all, this kind of price for any team in this wide-open season is ridiculous, so there is no value at all here. The question, though, is if the Pats deserve to be favored. And I find it harder to argue against them I would have a couple weeks ago. There are more issues than we are used to with a Bill Belichick team, but Tom Brady continues to play well, the defense is coming off their best effort of the season, and this team is smart and experienced enough to adjust on the fly better than other teams. I think they are a long way from great, but that's the theme of this season. In Brady I trust, so sure they are the favorites. A terrible bet, but the favorite.
Philadelphia Eagles (+700): Jason Peters was lost for the season last week, and I liked the team better with their left tackle in the fold. But Carson Wentz is for real, the team has been impressive on both sides of the ball, and their division is a long way from scary. I have two concerns, though. First, they have played a weak schedule, and they lost to the best team they have played - Kansas City. Second, this is a team that hasn't been any good for quite a while, so to jump from 7-9 last year to NFC favorite this year is a lot to ask. They feel like they are a year ahead of schedule. Still, the NFC feels totally wide-open this year, and they have taken care of business. I'm skeptical, but I accept them as the conference favorites.
Kansas City Chiefs (+800): There is a lot I have liked about this team this year, but I have just hated these last two losses, so I am left to wonder quite what to think about the team. I would argue that their chances of winning are better than the gap between them and New England suggests, so in that sense there is some value here. I would pick them to win it all right now, but it's far from a confident pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+800): I have a friend who, every time I see him, launches immediately into a diatribe about how much he hates Mike Tomlin. He believes that the coach has criminally underachieved given the stability and talent he has had to work with. It's a bit obnoxious, but I can't really argue that he is a championship or two too light for his time. And he's going to fall short again. When this team is on they are very good, but their losses have been humiliating, and I don't trust them in crunch time.
Seattle Seahawks (+1000): The defense looks really good, and there is experience to draw on, but this is not an offensive line that can win a title. It's totally porous, and it has led to an offense that just isn't good enough. Hard pass.
New Orleans Saints (+1600): All you really need to know about how underwhelming this season has been is that the Saints are the sixth choice to win the Super Bowl this year. If this is what makes a serious contender this year then this is not a good year. They have a nice offense, but the depth is a concern, the defense is mediocre, and they just can't be good enough. Can they?
Atlanta Falcons (+2000): Let's be blunt - Steve Sarkisian is an idiot. His coaching career has been rocky and inconsistent, and there was no part of me that felt like choosing him to replace the great Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator was even sort of a good idea. It's still early, but I sure don't seem to be wrong. That game against the Patriots was offensively embarrassing - they looked lost. At this point this isn't a playoff offense, never mind a championship one - and given that this is basically the same group of players as last year, that's almost impossible. Or at least it's impossible until you choose to blame Sarkisian, then it makes perfect sense.
Dallas Cowboys (+2000): No thank you. They are going to be in tough to even get a wild card spot after a 3-3 start, and last time I checked you have to be a playoff team to win the Super Bowl.
Minnesota Vikings (+2000): Could a team really win the Super Bowl with, potentially, three different starting quarterbacks? Sure. This year anything is possible. The defense is excellent. The division is suddenly surprising easy. The offense is decent enough regardless of who is in charge. An intriguing team at this price.
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