They were underestimated a bit by oddsmakers and perhaps used that to fuel their fire.
As we reach the relative halfway point of the NFL season, it’s clear some teams are overperforming preseason expectations — and the odds. There’s value to be found every year when it comes everything from divisional odds to Super Bowl odds to individual honor futures for things like Coach of the Year and NFL MVP.
If you’re holding preseason tickets for the teams and players below, you’ve gotta feel pretty good about your investments through eight weeks of the season.
Here’s a look back at some of those preseason odds that would have been shrewd bets.
Pittsburgh Steelers +350 to win AFC North
Chicago Bears +370 to win NFC North
Arizona Cardinals +700 to win NFC West
Washington Football Team +2200 to win NFC East
— The 7-0 Steelers hold a two-game edge over the Baltimore Ravens, who entered with the division’s best odds. Prices were much higher for Washington, who seemed like a better bet to finish the season with the NFL’s worst record than it did win the NFC East. There might still be value with Washington, as the NFC East is absolutely awful, and the WFT sits a game back of the Eagles. The 5-2 Cardinals, similarly, were last in their division odds, but pose a threat to the first-place Seattle Seahawks, whom they trail by just a game in the NFC West. Chicago entered the season with the third-best odds in the NFC North (behind both Minnesota and Green Bay), but could put some pressure on the Packers to win the division.
Super Bowl odds
— If you put money on the Steelers to win the Super Bowl before Week 1, chances are you’re pretty happy with where you’re sitting. Just look at how Pittsburgh’s odds have shifted: They went from 25-to-1 at the start of the year to currently +550. The Packers, similarly, were a middle-of-the-pack choice at 28-to-1 before winning five of their seven contests to earn 14-to-1 odds. The Cardinals have been among the early-season surprises, and despite competing in a competitive NFC West, have bettered their odds from 50-to-1 to 28-to-1.
NFL MVP odds
Russell Wilson, +800
Tom Brady, +1600
Aaron Rodgers +3000
— Wilson’s 8-to-1 weren’t egregiously low entering the year for someone who had never received an MVP vote. It seems like great value now, though, with Wilson on pace to break the single-season passing touchdown record. The Seahawks signal-caller, once behind both Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson in MVP odds, is now the clear frontrunner (-190). Brady continues to defy the aging process even with a new team and has seen his 16-to-1 preseason odds drop to 7-to-1 midway through the year. Rodgers also has slashed his previously low odds (NESN.com named Rodgers among our ‘Best Bets’) from 30-to-1 to 12-to-1 after seven games.
Coach of the Year odds
Brian Flores (Dolphins) +2000
Mike Tomlin (Steelers) +2500
Matt LaFleur (Packers) +3000
— If you sense a recurring theme, it’s unapologetically due to the Steelers’ strong start and Tomlin is a big part in that. The longtime Pittsburgh coach started the season at +2500 and is the new favorite to earn the honor at +250. Flores, who began the season at 20-to-1, continues to do an impressive job in the Dolphins’ rebuild and is now a 5-to-1 pick to win the award. And again, the Packers’ ability to prove last season wasn’t a complete fluke has helped LaFleur gain some traction in the market, as his odds nearly were cut in half at 16-to-1, where he might still present some strong value.