The race for the 2017 Super Bowl isn’t yet officially on, but with just two weeks remaining in the 2016 NFL regular season, it certainly is getting close. For all we’ve learned through the first 15 weeks of action, it’s crazy how much is still left up in the air to be decided.

We know that the NFC and AFC are probably running through Dallas and New England, respectively. The Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders are viable threats on either side, but at best, they’re likely the #2 seeds in their respective conferences.

Several divisions have yet to be figured out, however, and that bleeds into a still muddy wild card round. The Cowboys haven’t even officially secured the NFC East, as they got swept by the 10-4 Giants, who still have mild hopes of storming the castle. The Raiders and Chiefs have yet to decide the AFC West, too, while the NFC North, NFC South, AFC North and AFC South are all very much up for grabs. We know Seattle is in as NFC West champs and the Patriots are in as the AFC East winners, but beyond that, these last two weeks of pro football action could be pretty intense.

Even more, the seeding past the divisions could be dicey. As things currently stand, the Dolphins, Steelers, Texans and Chiefs join the AFC side, while the Falcons, Lions, Packers and Giants look to be in on the NFC side. However, given how up in the air everything still is, teams like the Ravens, Titans and Broncos have very realistic hopes of sneaking inside the AFC playoff race. For the NFC, the Buccaneers still have a clear path to the playoffs, while the Redskins are arguably the next team to look at that could mount a realistic run into postseason play.

2017 Super Bowl Odds

The best teams in the league that look locked in naturally have the top Super Bowl odds. Let’s take a look at every team that top gambling sites like Bovada are still giving life as we head into week 16:

  • Patriots +220
  • Cowboys +500
  • Seahawks +550
  • Steelers +1000
  • Raiders +1200
  • Packers +1200
  • Chiefs +1600
  • Falcons +1600
  • Giants +1600
  • Lions +2500
  • Ravens +5000
  • Texans +5000
  • Colts +5000
  • Titans +5000
  • Buccaneers +6600
  • Broncos +6600
  • Dolphins +7500
  • Redskins +10000
  • Vikings +15000
  • Panthers +25000

These are some very interesting Super Bowl odds, but for the most part they are spot on. At the top, New England and Dallas have the best records in football at 12-2 and are borderline locks for the #1 seed in their conference. Vegas obviously wouldn’t be shocked if we ended up getting just out third meeting between #1 seeds in this year’s Super Bowl.

Seattle isn’t a crazy Super Bowl favorite, either, as they still sport an elite defense and have reached two of the last three title games. Pittsburgh has a rich history with a league-leading six Super Bowl titles, plus they were among the preseason favorites to contend for a title. Ben Roethlisberger and co. have been bad on the road this year, though, and haven’t been a very consistent unit.

A Look at the Numbers

It gets a bit cloudy from there, as the Raiders look to be ascending as they’ve hammered down their first playoff appearance in over a decade, while the Packers look to have serious life after getting off to a disastrous 4-6 start.

If we look back at history, though, we can probably start weeding out the pretenders well before the playoffs arrive. For one, the Panthers, Vikings and Redskins all need a ton to go right for them to even have a chance at making the playoffs. We can probably safely rule them all out and as attractive as their Super Bowl odds look, they’re barely worth a cursory bet.

We can go one step further and take a look at two home/away facts. First, just one team in Super Bowl history has ever won it all after posting a losing record at home. The same can be said for road success, as just one other team has ever won a Super Bowl after posting a losing record on the road. Those interesting pieces of information could potentially eliminate Miami, Baltimore, Houston, Seattle, Detroit, Green Bay and Tampa Bay.

As impressive as all of those teams have been in their own regard, they all have a losing record either at home or on the road. For some, that could change before the final two weeks of the regular season are up, and perhaps that propels them into a new light. And we get it; one stat doesn’t guarantee anything. But if that data holds up and we don’t get a second team to defy history, we might as well write these teams off as bad Super Bowl bets right now.

Another interesting fact is that exactly two teams have won the Super Bowl in NFL history when their star running back paces the league in rushing yardage. That figures to be elite rookie rusher Ezekiel Elliott, who plays for the Cowboys. Of course, it was also a Cowboy (Emmitt Smith) who was one of the only two leading rushers to help their teams win the title the year they owned the league.

But say that data holds true. Then the beloved Cowboys wouldn’t be very “super” this year.

Suddenly the favored Patriots look like a pretty locked and loaded bet, and intermediate bets like the Chiefs, Steelers, Falcons and Giants start garnering Super Bowl betting interest.

Super Bowl 2017 Prediction

Of that group, the Patriots are the safe and easy call. The Chiefs, Steelers and Falcons feel harder to trust. Kansas City has a great defense and a balanced offense, but it’s fair to wonder if Alex Smith can get them deep into the playoffs. We know Big Ben can get the Steelers to the promised land. He’s done it thrice. However, Pittsburgh has been very erratic all year and may not have the defense needed to go win a 7th title.

Defense could be what is holding back the Falcons, too, as Matt Ryan is having an MVP-caliber season, but Atlanta still hasn’t consistently performed at a high level on the defensive side.

The scariest team might not be the Patriots, Cowboys or any of the other would-be top contenders. Instead, it might be the New York Giants. New York has been a very sneaky playoff team in past years and we can’t forget how they ran the table to take down a perfect Patriots team back in 2007. Their improved defense is a huge reason why we need to watch out for them, while the connection between Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. is as good as ever.

New York does have one problem, of course: they can’t run the ball.

That could be an issue if they want to go deep, but that defense and their passing game might just be enough to get the job done. There’s something about a Patriots vs. Giants rematch that just feels like destiny this year, too.

Still, in a year with no clear-cut favorite, everything tends to circle back to Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Super Bowl winners tend to dominate at home, nearly 50% are #1 seeds and they also tend to rank in the top-10 in both defensive and offensive scoring. The Patriots answer the bell across the board. They’re undefeated on the road and of their two home losses, one came when Brady was still suspended. They’re set to be the AFC’s top seed and possibly the #1 seed in the league, and they also rank 6th in offense and 1st in scoring defense.

None of that means the Patriots can’t lose or will for sure get to the Super Bowl, but it’s starting to add up to a pretty clear picture. And that’s that the Patriots sure look and feel like the best team in the NFL right now. Vegas can be wrong when it comes to Super Bowl odds, but in a weird season, it feels like they’re getting it right. That could make now the best possible time to bet on the Pats, as their Super Bowl odds will only get less playable from here on out.

Ultimately, we see the Pats going all the way and there Tom Brady and co. will finally exorcise their demons by taking down the Giants to get the 5th Super Bowl in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era. It’s not necessarily an ending we all want to see in 2017, but it still will be impressive.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Giants 23

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *