Fourteen teams remain in the hunt for this season’s Super Bowl trophy.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the favorite with the Buffalo Bills right on their heels. Then, it’s the two NFC powerhouses — the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles — followed by the Cincinnati Bengals rounding out the five teams with single-digit betting odds.
Consensus Super Bowl odds:
Chiefs +350 ($100 wins $350)
Seahawks +7500 ($100 wins $7,500)
Most bettors want to invest in Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, and while those are valid options, bookmakers know you’re going to bet them. So, you’re paying a tax on the heavy hitters.
If you’re bold enough to look past Kansas City and Buffalo, value awaits on the next few teams down the sheet. San Francisco and Philadelphia appear to be headed for a late-January collision for the NFC championship, while reigning AFC champion Cincinnati has rattled off eight straight wins.
Longer shots that’ll attract cash at the window are always-popular Dallas, preseason darling Los Angeles and Tampa Bay with the NFL’s most successful playoff quarterback ever. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Brady’s bunch upsets Dallas and Philadelphia, two outcomes that would slash the Bucs’ Super Bowl odds from around 30-1 to 6-1 or less.
“You can never count out Brady,” one professional bettor told NESN. “Ever.”
Kenny White’s NFL power ratings:
108.5 – Buffalo
107.5 – San Francisco
107 – Kansas City
106.5 – Cincinnati
105.5 – Philadelphia
105 – Dallas
103.5 – Los Angeles
101.5 – Jacksonville
99 – Seattle
98.5 – Tampa Bay
97.5 – Baltimore
97.5 – Miami
97.5 – New York
96 – Minnesota
Here are the three teams I’m betting before the playoffs begin:
San Francisco 49ers (+500 at several books)
Defense, defense, defense. The Niners are absolutely loaded on that side of the ball. San Francisco’s defense finished No. 1 in DVOA and it was a top-three unit in basically every single metric. They’re almost impossible to run on and Fred Warner is one of the best linebackers in the game. Meanwhile, the offensive versatility with Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle is tough to contain. Don’t rule out a return for Jimmy Garoppolo, either.
Cincinnati Bengals (+850 DraftKings, PointsBet)
For all the salivating over Mahomes and Allen, Joe Burrow is a generational quarterback, too. Burrow’s play ascends to a different level on the biggest stages and the Bengals are a very interesting bet to win it all at 17/2. I think Cincinnati is a relative layup against Baltimore this weekend, then it’s likely a coin flip against Buffalo in the divisional round. Anything is possible from there, as proven last year when the Bengals erased a 21-3 deficit at Arrowhead.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3000 Caesars)
This is a number grab more than anything. The Bucs are a 2.5-point home dog Monday against Dallas. I’m not the biggest fan of head coach Todd Bowles’ in-game adjustments, but Mike McCarthy is probably worse. Brady has never lost to Dallas (7-0 all-time) and should that song remain the same, Tampa’s odds (30-1) would probably be cut in half. If the Bucs make a run, you can always hedge off down the stretch.
RECORD: (123-130, +20.4)