Super Bowl odds, long-shots and value picks

New York City isn’t the only town on the planet that never sleeps.

Less than 24 hours after the Giants put the finishing touches on a hard-fought Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, the MGM Grand sportsbook in Las Vegas posted their opening odds for the 2013 Super Bowl.

Tom Brady and the Patriots are out in front, Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars are bringing up the rear and the other 30 teams targeting the Vince Lombardi trophy exist somewhere in between. The problem we’re tasked with is identifying which early numbers offer the best value as well as locating the teams that will be on the rise following the upcoming free agency period.

Let’s get to work.


New England Patriots: 5/1
Green Bay Packers: 11/2
Pittsburgh Steelers: 6/1
Philadelphia Eagles: 6/1
New York Giants: 8/1

The Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
Line prediction: Likely to hold steady but could climb towards 8/1 or 10/1 if DeSean Jackson leaves town.

Michael VickICONCan Michael Vick stay healthy long enough for the Birds to reach the Super Bowl?

Why: They’ve never won a Super Bowl and will more than likely find a way to shoot themselves in the foot once the postseason gets underway, but give the Birds a full offseason to gel as a team and you’ve got a dangerous football squad loaded with playmakers that is going to pose problems for the rest of the NFC in 2012. With every reason to pack it in early, Philadelphia rattled off four straight wins to close out their 2011 campaign while surrendering an average of just 11.5 points per game. The big question, however, is whether or not quarterback Michael Vick can stay healthy long enough to finish the job.


New Orleans Saints: 10/1
San Francisco 49ers: 10/1
San Diego Chargers: 12/1
Houston Texans: 12/1

The Pick: Houston Texans
Line prediction: Barring a bad run through free agency and the draft, expect this number to move towards 10/1 as the Texans will be a sexy Super Bowl pick next season.

Why: Houston made it all the way to the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs despite having an inexperienced rookie signal-caller under center for the final seven regular season games of the year. The return of a healthy Matt Schaub coupled with one of the league’s top defenses will be more than enough to earn this organization a trip back to the postseason. With head coach Norv Turner back in the mix for another season in Southern California, betting the Chargers at 12/1 seems like an efficient way of flushing your hard-earned money down the toilet.


Chicago Bears: 17/1
Detroit Lions: 18/1
Atlanta Falcons: 18/1
Dallas Cowboys: 20/1
Baltimore Ravens: 20/1
New York Jets: 20/1
Indianapolis Colts: 25/1
Tennessee Titans: 30/1
Cincinnati Bengals: 30/1

The Pick: Detroit Lions
Line prediction: Could move towards 16/1 if the Lions add some marquee defenders to address the league’s 23rd-ranked defense.

Matthew StaffordMatthew Stafford and the Lions are going to be a popular pick in Vegas this winter.

Why: Until they demonstrate otherwise, I’m unwilling to throw any sort of financial support behind Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco. The Bears are an intriguing selection at 17/1 but are unlikely to gain an abundance of public support without adding a legitimate wide receiver for quarterback Jay Cutler. Detroit, meanwhile, is headed in the right direction coming off a ten-win season and the team’s first trip to the playoffs since 1999. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and wideout Calvin Johnson are quickly turning into the NFL’s most lethal QB-WR connection, but Megatron’s contract situation will need to be addressed to open up some cap space heading into free agency.


Buffalo Bills: 50/1
Kansas City Chiefs: 50/1
Seattle Seahawks: 50/1
Denver Broncos: 50/1
Carolina Panthers: 50/1
Miami Dolphins: 50/1
St. Louis Rams: 50/1
Oakland Raiders: 60/1
Minnesota Vikings: 60/1
Arizona Cardinals: 60/1

The Pick: Carolina Panthers
Line prediction: After a 4,051-yard season, Cam Newton and the Panthers are going to draw some interest in Vegas this winter.

Why: A 6-10 campaign that featured four wins over their final six contests is sure to have expectations in Carolina at a high level entering 2012. The Panthers have an abundance of upside at the quarterback position, the league’s third-ranked rushing attack and a defense that is sure to improve once linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis—who played a combined three games last season—return to the starting lineup. At 60/1, the Raiders and Cardinals both make some sense here as well.


Cleveland Browns: 75/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 100/1
Washington Redskins: 125/1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 150/1

The Pick: Washington Redskins
Line prediction: This line is going to improve if Washington does anything to upgrade the quarterback position during the offseason.

Why: Ask any professional bettor in Las Vegas about the importance of getting the best numbers and you’ll find yourself knuckles-deep in a 15-minute crash course that will leave your head spinning. Apply that logic to the Washington Redskins at 125-1 under the assumption that this team is a very real contender in the hunt for Peyton Manning’s services. Sure, the ‘Skins may not land Manning and even if they do, it’s still an uphill battle to survive the boxing ring known as the NFC East. But getting this squad at 125-1 before a potential Manning signing will have you out in front of the public mass that is sure to hit the sportsbook counters following what would be one the biggest offseason acquisitions in NFL history.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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