The NFL is the one league where predicting the champion can prove to be the most difficult. One indication of who the favorites are to meet in the Super Bowl are provided by the odds to win each conference. We’ll take a closer look at who bookmakers see as the favorites to win it all.
The favorites to win the AFC are also the favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions. It is widely believed by most experts that the Chiefs are in a tier above the rest of the league. The reasoning is simple; they have the best player in the league in QB Patrick Mahomes who is surrounded by a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Until teams prove they can slow this Chiefs offense down, there’s no reason to think anyone has a better chance than them to win the SupeBowl.
For the purpose of this article, we will use the odds provided by SportsbookReview where you find odds for every sport from all of the top online bookmakers. The Chiefs are +200 to win the AFC followed closely by the Ravens at +250. The Steelers are a distant third at +1200. While the Ravens have shown us that they are one of the best teams in the league, they will need to get over the issues that have seen them get completely shut down come playoff time. The Steelers are a distant third for a reason; we don’t know what Ben Roethlisburger will look like after returning from a season ending injury. Big Ben has been banged up for what seems like most of his career so it will be interesting to see what he can produce at his age.
The odds for the Steelers are also a clear indication that bookmakers feel like there are really only two contenders in the AFC. They would be right with that assessment as the bulk of the contenders for the Super Bowl outside of the top 2 in the AFC reside in the other conference.
Both the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints are +500 to win the NFC making them co-favorites. A slight edge should probably go to the 49ers who looked really impressive on their way to making it back to the SuperBowl last year. The fact that the Saints are seen as co-favorites says a lot about the continuity this team has shown for the better part of a decade. That plus potentially having Drew Brees for the entire season has the public feeling like the Saints might be due.
Bad luck is something that you will rarely hear professional athletes use to explain their failures. In the Saints case, they’ve probably had the worst luck in league history for the past two years which has definitely kept them out of the Super Bowl. The window of opportunity will not be open forever in New Orleans given that Drew Brees is 41 years old. While Brees is still a top quarterback, there have been obvious signs of regression over the years. The Saints have to be in win now mode which is why it makes sense that their odds to win the NFC would be so high.
Unlike the AFC, the odds in the NFC are pretty close outside of the top two. The Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all +600 to win the conference although two of the three aforementioned teams probably don’t belong in this group. It’s not to say that Tampa Bay and Dallas don’t have a chance to win the NFC, if both teams play up to their potential, it’s not out of the question that they would be better than both the 49ers and the Saints. The problem with this theory is that we have no evidence of this. Dallas has been one of the most disappointing teams in professional sports when it comes to their playoff resume for the last 25+ years. As for the Bucs, we haven’t even seen them play a game yet, which is the one reason these odds might be a little inflated.
We’ve seen from the odds on offer for teams to win their respective conferences that fans definitely have an effect on the odds being offered. The Chiefs and the 49ers are the two best teams in the league until someone proves otherwise. The problem for the 49ers, they aren’t a star-studded team like the rest of the franchises we’ve mentioned in this article.
The Ravens have reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, the Bucs have Brady, the Chiefs have Mahomes, the Saints have Brees and the Cowboys will always have inflated odds due to their popularity. The same is true of the Steelers who are easily one of the most popular teams in the NFL. Regardless of the reasons, these odds seem to accurately reflect the best teams in the NFL and it will be exciting to see who lives up to expectations and who disappoints in the 2020 NFL season.