Before last year’s Super Bowl ended, Vegas had already released Super Bowl odds for this year’s big game. These were the implied odds to win: Patriots (17%), Steelers (11%), Eagles (9%), Vikings (9%), Packers (9%), Saints (6%), Falcons (6%), Rams (5%), Cowboys (5%), Seahawks (5%), Texans (5%) Jaguars (5%), Panthers (5%), 49ers (5%), Chiefs (3%), Chargers (3%), Raiders (3%), Colts (2%), Ravens (2%), Titans (2%), Lions (2%), Broncos (2%), Bucs (2%), Cardinals (2%), Redskins (2%), Dolphins (2%), Giants (2%), Bears (1%), Bengals (1%), Jets (1%), Browns (1%), and Bills (1%). Of course, Vegas had to name those dang New England Patriots the favorites.
A few months later, free agents found homes and the 2018 NFL Draft was completed, so Vegas released new odds to factor in the new rosters. The biggest improvers from the January release to the June 1st release were: the Rams (+4%), Chargers (+3%), Chiefs (+2%), Raiders (+2%), Titans (+1%), Texans (+1%), Jaguars (+1%), and the Bears (+1%). Not a bad group of teams, if we ignore those Gruden truthers and Bortles believers. On the flip side, the biggest fallers were: the Seahawks (-3%), Packers (-2%), Patriots (-2%), Panthers (-2%), Steelers (-2%), and Cowboys (-2%). Once again, Vegas was very accurate in their post-free agency and post-draft odds, keeping those dang New England Patriots as the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
As the season started and progressed, the betting markets got bored of those dang New England Patriots (blue line). They started off as the favorites, but it only took the Rams (yellow line) until Week 3 to be the new odds-on favorites (18%) to win the Super Bowl. They were the sexy team for much of the season. They had the defensive line, the “MVP candidate” Todd Gurley (LOL!), the rising star quarterback Jared Goff (sorta lol), and the dreamy head coach Sean McVay. As wins were piling up, those odds continued to rise until they plateaued around 38%.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs were quickly rising with Patrick Mahomes completing no-look pass after no-look pass. After opening the year with just 3% odds, the Chiefs steadily climbed as the Jaguars, Steelers, Vikings, and Eagles crumbled early. The anticipation of high-scoring games was the talk of the mid-season with the Chiefs scheduled to face Bill Belichick and Sean McVay in the coming weeks. Neither game disappointed, but despite losses to both teams, the Chiefs’ odds continued to hover around 20%, which was always a few percentage points ahead of those dang New England Patriots.
After the betting markets were semi-bored with the Chiefs and Rams, the New Orleans Saints became the hot team. Drew Brees MVP candidacy was gaining momentum, and they were the team to snap the Rams’ nine-week streak of having the best odds of winning the Super Bowl. After a one-week hiccup against the Cowboys, the Saints lost their favorites-status but regained it the following weekend. It’s a title they owned until the non-call heard around the world.
It’s not too surprising that the only four teams to ever eclipse 20% odds to win the Super Bowl were the same four teams playing on Conference Championship Sunday. They were, in my opinion, the top four or five teams for the better part of the season. However, that doesn’t mean a few teams weren’t close. The following teams had a Super Bowl odds peak of at least 5% at some point during the 2018 regular season: the Rams (38%), Saints (38%), Chiefs (22%), Patriots (17%), Steelers (14%), Chargers (13%), Jaguars (11%), Vikings (9%), Eagles (8%), Texans (8%), Bears (8%), Packers (8%), Falcons (7%), Ravens (5%), Bengals (5%), and Cowboys (5%).
But like I said before, it always seemed like the Saints or Rams would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and the Chiefs, Patriots, or Chargers would represent the AFC. The other teams listed in the paragraph above played decent football at times, but none of them had the offense or coaching to take down these five teams, which gave us a fantastic 2018-19 NFL Playoffs and should give us another fun game next Sunday featuring the Los Angeles Rams and those dang New England Patriots.
Oh… if you want to take a look at the 2020 Super Bowl odds, here you go:
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