It may have taken a little time for the Denver Broncos to adjust to the presence of superstar veteran Peyton Manning in the Mile High City, but sure enough, that’s exactly what they did.
An 11-game win streak to end the 2012 campaign was enough to push the Broncos up the AFC standings and into the NFL limelight. Now, not only is the club front and center in 2013, but it also has some of the best odds of winning Super Bowl XLVIII.
Early oddsmakers have given Manning and the Broncos 6-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl this season — the highest such mark of any team on the NFL futures. While the NFC heavyweight San Francisco 49ers join them in the top spot with 6-1 odds of their own, it’s clear that all eyes will be on the veterans in Colorado.
Last year, after Denver’s rather pedestrian start to the 2012 campaign, including losses to the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and New England Patriots in the first five weeks, the offense started to thrive as one would have expected given the new addition at the helm.
From that Week 6 win on, it was all Manning and Co. until a divisional playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens. While bouncing back from that two-overtime loss may not be the easiest for Denver this season, it’s necessary if Manning wants to get back to one final Super Bowl.
Despite Denver’s hunger for a championship, however, the path to success will be contested. With Jim Harbaugh under fire after coming up less than a touchdown short in Super Bowl XLVII, expect this 49ers team to be back and more inspired than ever. No longer is San Francisco simply a team with the potential for greatness — the 49ers are regarded as a team that saw success slip through its fingertips.
Joining the Broncos and 49ers at the top of the NFL betting line are the time-tested Patriots, with 9-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl in their first season without the popular Wes Welker. The upstart Seattle Seahawks (17-2 NFL odds), who haven’t slowed down since hopping on the Russell Wilson bandwagon last fall, also look good.
While placing a 2013 winner before even preseason starts may pose its fair share of challenges for sports bettors, it’s as good a chance as any to capitalize on the unpredictability of the NFL.