Betting the Early Super Bowl Line

I wanted to present
a purely statistical analysis of the remaining team’s probabilities of winning
and advancing in the Divisional Round, Conference Championship, and Super Bowl.
This is not an article about, who I like, but rather to take a look at where the
remaining teams chances lie based on current situations, power ratings, and
historical patterns. First’ let’s look at the Vegas Odds. For the Super Bowl,
whoever wins the anticipated showdown between the Broncos and Patriots will win.
Denver is 11/4 and New England 7/2 to win the Super Bowl. The runner up will be
the winner of the NFC showdown between the Packers and 49ers this weekend.

are listed as 6/1 favorites to win the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Seahawks,
who are on the road this week again on the East Coast to face the Falcons are
both listed at 7/1 favorites. Baltimore and Houston are afterthoughts both
listed at 18/1 favorites. Based on these odds favoring an AFC team to win the
Super Bowl it stands to reason that the early line for the Super Bowl shows the
AFC favored by three points. There are some 2 ½ lines, but paying a hefty -130
vig. I do think making an early bet taking the AFC representative at -3 is a
solid opportunity. I strongly believe that once the two opponents are decided,
the line will be at minimum four and more likely six. The reason for this is
that the greatest upset potential is in the NFC with four teams that are near
equals. Let’s not forget too, that Super Bowl winners have a top-10 scoring
defense. This really doesn’t help in this year’s remaining teams.

Seattle ranks
best allowing 15.2 PPG, 49ers second allowing 17.1 PPG, Denver fourth 18.1 PPG,
Atlanta fifth 18.7 PPG, Houston ninth 20.2 PPG, Green Bay 10th allowing 20.4
PPG, New England 11th 20.7 PPG, and Baltimore 12th 20.8 PPG. The 49ers defense
has given up 29.7 PPG over their last three games ranking 27th worst in the NFL.
Green Bay is their opponent and has allowed 18.0 PPG over their last three
games, but have allowed 24.5 PPG in their road games this season. That by itself
makes for an ‘anything can happen scenario’. I’ll mention another variable that
I do believe is very meaningful. Peyton manning is extremely poor in cold
weather conditions. In games he has played in temps under 20 degrees he has
thrown just 1 TD along with seven interceptions. Of course, Manning has now had
a full season with Denver, but just eight home games and none even close to what
the weather conditions will be this weekend. Food for thought to say the least
before jumping all over Denver.

So, looking at the purely statistical
projections, my work comes up with the following odds. The Patriots have the
greatest probability of winning the Super Bowl. They have an 80% chance of
winning this week over the Texans and a 50% probability of winning the AFC
Championship and then a 35% chance of winning the Super Bowl. Denver has a 68%
probability of winning this week and then 35% chance of defeating the Patriots,
and a 25% chance of winning the Super Bowl. Obviously, if Denver would win the
AFC Championship, their odds of winning the Super Bowl would rise to nearly the
level of the Patriots. In the NFC, the 49ers have a 62% probability of defeating
the Packers, 35% chance of winning the NFC Championship, and just 15% chance of
winning the Super Bowl. The Packers, if they upset the 49ers, have a 38% chance
of winning the NFC Championship, which is higher than the 49ers. Essentially,
the reason is that the Packers would have greater momentum and a much better
matchup than the 49ers against either the Seahawks or the Falcons. As great as
the Texans were for the first 12 games of the season, they have just a 4% chance
of winning the Super Bowl and a 7% chance of winning the AFC Conference

Moreover, the same can said with similar projections for the
Ravens, so the AFC is truly a two team race to the Super Bowl. From the stats
database, it would be a monumental upset if both Denver and New England were not
representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. In the NFC, any of the four teams have
realistic chances to be the NFC representative. If, for example, a Seattle, or
Green bay makes it to the Super Bowl, the AFC will favored by a whole lot more
than the 2 ½ point spread. That fact, by itself. is why I like taking the early
Super Bowl line at -3.  Written by John Ryan of

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