Searching for a fun Super Bowl futures wager to make the NFL Playoffs even more entertaining? Perhaps a semi-longshot?
It helps to take a walk through history and have good anticipation as to how the schedule will play out.
For instance, the Packers and Titans, the No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences, will face opponents on short rest in the Divisional Round. Will that be a major boost for their Super Bowl hopes, considering teams on short rest in the wild-card era have gone 9-26 in the next round when facing a team on normal rest or off a bye?
Taking that into consideration and using Caesars Sportsbooks odds, it would be wise to disregard the Rams (+1000) and Cardinals (+2200).
For sure, the survivor of that Monday night matchup in L.A. will be behind the eight-ball in the Divisional Round – and possibly in Green Bay. Looking ahead, forecasts for an anticipated Jan. 23 game at Lambeau call for a high of 11 and a low of 2 below. Not quite another Ice Bowl, but enough to affect these two dome teams.
Sticking to the NFC, that leaves Philadelphia (+6000), San Francisco (+2200), Dallas (+1200), Tampa Bay (+800,) and the favored Packers, just shy of 4-to-1 odds (+380).
Deducing The NFC Champ
With Green Bay’s number too low to consider, and with all of Tampa Bay’s injury issues and odds not worth getting excited about, that leaves Philly, San Fran and Dallas.
The Eagles, seeded seventh, are tempting (they opened at +4000) but they are the first team in five seasons to reach the postseason without having defeated a playoff team. And with a rookie coach, first-time playoff QB, and all their games assured to be on the road, no thanks.
Thus, it comes down to who survives Sunday’s showdown at JerryDome between the third-seeded Cowboys and sixth-seeded 49ers. The vote here is San Francisco, whose third-ranked defense is best on the NFC side of the bracket. Dallas’ is No. 19. Plus, the 49ers’ odds seem super. Especially with standout OLT Trent Williams coming back.
It wouldn’t be the first time a No. 6 seed won the title, either. Green Bay did it in 2010 and Pittsburgh five seasons earlier.
Now For The AFC
Second-seeded Kansas City is listed as the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl at +475, followed by Buffalo (+8000), Tennessee (+850), Cincinnati (+1800), New England (+2000), Las Vegas (+5000), and Pittsburgh (+8000).
Off the top, the Super-experienced Chiefs and coach Andy Reid are a logical choice, but their odds are too short considering they don’t have a bye and could be playing on the road in the conference final.
Third-seeded Buffalo, meanwhile, is the only team ranked in the top-five in offense (No. 5) and defense (No. 1). It’s too bad, though, the Bills couldn’t have earned the No. 2 seed and avoided the likelihood of having to play back-to-back road games in Kansas City and Tennessee in the second and third rounds. Forget it.
That leaves the Titans, Bengals, Patriots, and Raiders.
Cincinnati has yielded the most sacks in the league this season, which is just asking for trouble. New England probably isn’t going to go too far with an injured backfield and rookie QB.
So, it’s either Tennessee or Las Vegas.
Brent Musburger’s team, the Raiders, would be a great bet if travel wasn’t such an issue.
Twice in the previous four weeks, Vegas had to fly across three time zones to play, wins at Cleveland and Indianapolis. This week it’s to Cincinnati. Next week, it could be to Buffalo, or maybe K.C. or Nashville. Then probably back again in the conference title matchup. That’s just too much to endure even at these nice odds.
Thus, the Titans get the vote thanks in large part to the return of 2019 and 2020 rushing champ Derrick Henry and having home field throughout the conference playoffs.
As always, shop around the betting market for the best odds for your Super Bowl wager.