The last time an NFL week didn’t feature both Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees under center for their respective teams was 2004.
Football fans, get used to that scenario.
Roethlisberger was scheduled to have elbow surgery this week and is done for the season. Brees damaged ligaments in his thumb, and was also headed under the knife, sidelining him for at least six weeks.
And just like that, several NFL future odds have gone awry, according to Jeff Sherman, VP of Risk Management at the Westgate’s SuperBook.
In the NFC, the Saints were favored to win the NFC before Brees’ injury. Thus, as the Saints went from 5-1 to 10-1 to win the George Halas Trophy, and from 10-1 to 20-1 to win the Super Bowl.
The Rams and Cowboys have emerged as the conference favorites, both at 9-2 to win the NFC and 10-1 to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
“By the time he returns, the Saints will potentially have a deficit to make up,” Sherman said. “From that perspective, as the season plays, they could have a more difficult path.”
In the AFC, it’s no secret who is favored to meet for the right to represent the conference in the Super Bowl.
“Through two weeks, we have two prohibitive favorites in the Patriots and Chiefs; everyone else is double digits to win the Super Bowl,” Sherman said. “It’s hard to see where it wouldn’t be the Patriots and Chiefs in the AFC championship.”
Sherman said the Steelers were 30-1 to win the AFC and 60-1 to win the Super Bowl prior to Roethlisberger’s injury, and are now 100-1 and 200-1, respectively. The Patriots and Chiefs are the only single-digit teams to win the Super Bowl, at 3-1 and 5-1, respectively.
Meanwhile, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson is emerging nicely, and may give the Ravens a worthy look considering the longer odds they’re carrying to win the Super Bowl.
Jackson passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a career-high 120 yards in the Ravens’ 23-17 win over Arizona. He is the first player with at least 250 passing yards and 120 rushing yards in a single regular-season game in NFL history.
The Ravens are currently 20-1 to win the Super Bowl, and while they may not be a popular choice to win it all, holding a ticket on a team that sneaks into the playoffs thanks to a young quarterback would give a bettor solid leverage for hedging in the postseason.
Speaking of leverage, the profits were up in Week 2, as I went 4-2 with six road teams, and climbed to 6-5-1 overall. Let’s carry the momentum over to this week.
Broncos at Packers -7.5: When is John Elway getting fired? Until then, the Broncos are a mess. He brought the wrong guy into coach that team, and I feel bad for Joe Flacco. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers will have a field day. PACKERS
Bengals at Bills -6: How crazy will the Bills Mafia be on Sunday? The league’s wildest tailgating bunch should be fired up, as its team is 2-0 and hosts the winless Bengals for its home opener. Albeit they’ve played the Jets and Giants, I like the complexion of Buffalo’s defense. BILLS
Jets at Patriots -22.5: Just when the Jets thought things were bad with mono-stricken Sam Darnold, backup Trevor Siemian suffered a gruesome lower leg injury Monday. The reward on a short week: Tom Brady, who is 27-7 all-time against the Fly Boys. PATRIOTS
Dolphins at Cowboys -21: If I’m willing to lay 22.5 with the Pats against a division-rival, I’m willing to lay one and half points less with Dallas at home against what might be the worst team of the decade. The Dolphins may not get into the end zone for a second straight week. COWBOYS
Texans +3 at Chargers: The Texans look more and more like the blue-collar team you can’t afford to underestimate. Their power rushing game is a nice balance when quarterback Deshaun Watson can’t find a groove through the air. Look for Houston’s defense to defuse the Bolts. TEXANS
Bears -4 at Redskins: I defer to both defensive units as the Bears come in with the fourth-best stop unit that has held their first two opponents to 292.5 yards per game. Conversely, the Redskins have allowed 455 ypg, the third-most in the league. That should help Chicago’s offense, which has just one touchdown through two games. BEARS
Last week: 4-2