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Handicapping Super Bowl Favorites to Win This FebruaryBy Kurt Boyer
Betting odds can be compared to stock-market prices. The “stock” of a potential Super Bowl team can rise and fall at the sportsbook as odds change to reflect the team’s fortunes on the field.
Sportsbook odds on a Super Bowl contender don’t necessarily change just because a team wins or loses games, though. Betting action determines how “long” or “short” a team’s Super Bowl odds (or odds to reach the Super Bowl) as bookmakers adjust the numbers to encourage balanced action. In turn, the gambling action on each NFL club’s odds can be influenced by all sorts of external factors.
That’s where handicappers come in handy. The best Super Bowl ‘cappers won’t tell you to bet a bundle on every likely outcome, or boast “9 out of 10 winners!” like so many charlatans on social media. Fair (and honest) analysts know that a pigskin can bounce funny and ruin the smartest gamble.
It’s also wise to take a cold shower on the media’s hype. The Dallas Cowboys, for instance, are considered an annual NFL “disappointment” even though the Dallas roster isn’t really that much different or superior to the club’s NFC East rivals. Silver Star draft picks and trade-acquisitions get lots of national attention each off-season. Reports swirl of Dallas players looking great – great while running around in practice without anyone trying to hit them yet. The Cowboys are then touted as Super Bowl favorites (and enjoy short betting odds) while equally-talented rosters go overlooked.
The #1 rule of handicapping NFL odds is not to overlook anyone. All 32 clubs are comprised of highly-paid professionals. There are no “bad” football players to be found – only winning teams and losing teams.
Favorites’ odds to win the next Super Bowl begin to grow “short” in December, while clubs that are mathematically-eliminated from the NFL playoffs disappear from a sportsbook’s futures.
What Are Super Bowl “Futures” Odds Exactly?
In case you aren’t familiar with “futures” odds on the upcoming Super Bowl, such futures are bets placed on teams to win the Lombardi Trophy before the match-up is known, and sometimes even before the season starts. Sportsbooks weigh an NFL team’s likely chances and corresponding odds to mount a playoff bid, survive the NFC or AFC’s postseason gauntlet, and then prevail in the biggest game of all.
Futures bettors aren’t wagering on a favorite or a long odds underdog to “cover the spread” or to win next Sunday, but to rise above 31 other hopefuls and win The Shield’s ultimate title.
FanDuel Sportsbook offers “futures” odds on Super Bowl favorites throughout the National Football League season. Residents of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Iowa, and Indiana can sign-up for Super Bowl betting with the top name in online bookmaking and Daily Fantasy Sports.
NFL Conference Championship Week: Favorites to Win Super Bowl 54
Super Bowl Betting Odds
Kansas City Chiefs
San Francisco 49ers
Green Bay Packers
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Chargers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New York Jets
New York Giants
Trying to get a handle on NFL playoff outcomes in 2020 is, as the radio jocks like to say, a “murky” business. Many of the angles which pundits have taken for granted going into the postseason have been proven wrong in the course of 4 quarters.
Baltimore’s quest to reach Hard Rock Stadium came to a frustrating end on Saturday. Lamar Jackson wasn’t shut down, limited, or even contained by the Tennessee Titan defense – in fact the QB combined for over 500 passing and rushing yards. But the Ravens were prone to turnovers and lousy in the Red Zone, failing to convert on multiple 4th-down attempts in a 28-12 upset loss.
Ravens had drives that ended at the:— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) January 12, 2020
And finished with 12 points.
The fact that such a solid Super Bowl favorite is out of the picture prior to the AFC Championship Game could open the door to some wildly-rearranged betting odds, with bookmakers and gamblers each taking different positions on the 4 remaining NFL playoff clubs from San Francisco, Tennessee, Kansas City, and Green Bay.
Instead, if FanDuel is any indication, handicappers are drawing a pretty firm line across the board. The Chiefs and 49ers are the Super Bowl favorites, or rather the favorites to win Super Bowl 54 on February 2nd in Miami (not simply to reach the game). Kansas City’s odds of 1.3-to-1 and San Francisco’s Super Bowl odds of 1.4-to-1 promise just over a 1-to-1 payoff on futures wagers while the 2 visiting teams in Week 20 are at much-longer odds.
Even though the focus of this blog post is “Super Bowl favorites,” handicapping futures bets on the NFL’s top-rated teams always involves looking at their underdog opponents, and even analysis of teams which are no longer in the running!
San Francisco 49er fans have to feel confident headed into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in Santa Clara. But the visiting Green Bay Packers (+650) might have something to say about that. Aaron Rodgers was unflappable once again on Sunday as the Pack ran-up a 21-3 halftime lead on the Seattle Seahawks on route to a victory and a bid for the NFC title. Only the tense 2nd half at Lambeau Field – in which a Seattle squad racked with injuries fought back to lose 28-23 – an outcome for which the thin margin-of-victory is helping the Packers to longer Super Bowl odds.
The Packers are (+7.5) point spread underdogs on Sunday, a rare occasion in which a Hall of Fame quarterback is handicapped to lose by more than a touchdown. Jimmy Garoppolo has had a fine season as the NFC West’s most-efficient QB, and led the 49ers to a 3rd-quarter surge that put Minnesota under too much pressure in the 4th quarter last weekend. But his numbers weren’t stellar in the Divisional Round. Garoppolo has his supporting cast and a crushing 49er ground game to think for the wide spread and the team’s status as a Super Bowl favorite.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs (+130) are considered the elite of the AFC now that New England and Baltimore have been eliminated. Andy Reid has been more patient with his defense than most coaches might manage, and the club has been criticized as a single-trick pony at times during Reid’s tenure in Missouri. The coach’s steady hand is now beginning to pay off, as the Kansas City defense took a cue from Pat Mahomes’ offense and rode a wave of momentum over the visiting Houston Texans. Houston had taken a 24-0 lead to begin the game and surely would have continued to score if the KC defense was as poor as it has been in seasons past. But an upstart group of DBs frustrated Deshaun Watson again and again in the 3rd quarter while the QB (and Travis Kelce) turned a breathless comeback into a 20-point host victory.
The Chiefs contained a dual-threat quarterback in the Divisional Round, but will be faced with a different challenge on defense this Sunday. Despite not scoring a TD, Tennessee’s Derrick Henry raced for nearly 200 yards against the Baltimore Ravens in a Divisional playoff road victory, helping the Titans control the clock and field position against the favored top seed. Kansas City’s linebackers must work to get Henry running “east” and “west”…not “north and south” as he galloped so often in Baltimore.
Other Ways to Bet on 2020 Super Bowl Favorites at FanDuel
There are other sets of Super Bowl odds already available for gamblers as of mid-January, including futures lines on the correct team vs team matchup, the correct team-over-team outcome, and the conference (NFC or AFC) which will prevail with the grail in Magic City.
“Name the Finalists” is essentially a “parlay” wager on 2 separate conference champions, made easier by the fact that only 4 teams are remaining. Bookmakers overwhelmingly agree that San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs is the most-likely Super Bowl pairing with a betting market at (-150).
The “Correct Outcome” market at FanDuel Sportsbook sounds like it belongs on a board of Super Bowl Prop Bets except that the bookmaker is not asking what the final score will be, merely which NFL club will beat which opponent on February 2nd. Kansas City over San Francisco is currently priced at (+200) or 2-to-1 odds as FanDuel’s handicappers believe the result to be slightly more likely than San Fran over KC, priced at (+240).
Finally, the AFC is currently the “favorite” in the conference vs conference Super Bowl market with a moneyline of (-122) to win in February.
Rather manage a roster of Super Bowl performers than bet on the big game? Check out FanDuel’s Daily Fantasy Sports competitions for all skill levels, and scroll this page of Super Bowl DFS tips for guidance on conquering Fantasy foes through 4 quarters of the Greatest Show on Earth.