The field is set but what about those Super Bowl futures?
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The field is set but what about those Super Bowl futures?

The playoff fields are set in the AFC and NFC, so it is a perfect time to take a look at the Super Bowl Futures market. No more silly money on the Lions, Jaguars, Panthers or any other cats you can find. Now we can focus on the true contenders so let's take a look at the prices and values of each team in the context of winning three or four games to win it all.

Best Value

Buffalo Bills (+750)

Just to be clear, I am not saying the Bills are the best bet to win it all, they are the best value. They are playing well and closed the season with the top defense in the league in terms of points and yards allowed. They have a QB that can play in any conditions and they were pretty darn close last season before losing to KC. Getting past the Pats might be tough on Saturday but they also might win with ease. They are probably only underdogs against the Chiefs in the AFC, if they meet them. This is a great play to make right now in terms of probability and payoff.

Good Value 

Green Bay Packers (+380)

The Packers are the top seed in the NFC and thus need one fewer win to get to the big game. A week off makes Lambeau ever more likely to be frigid and advantageous. This season the Packers lost to just one team in the playoffs, the Chiefs, who they could only meet in the Super Bowl. At this price, you likely wind up ahead of taking the Moneyline parlay approach as they are likely to be favored in every game. 

Kansas City Chiefs (+450)

K.C. has been in the last two Super Bowls, so there is no doubt they know how to win this time of year. They might not be the top seed but they have the lowest odds in the AFC to win it all, which is why I put them in this category instead of the one above. Odds are they would be favorites in every game they play in the playoffs so there might not be much extra value to just rolling that money over week to week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+750)

It is hard to win back-to-back titles. Tampa has the ultimate leader in QB Tom Brady but this Antonio Brown stuff is a distraction and they are also light on receivers right now -- what used to be a great strength is now probably above average at best now. Last year, they were able to win at Green Bay to advance. Doing that two years in a row will be even tougher. The payoff is there, but the probability isn't this season. Just look at Alabama against Georgia, sometime you have to go the other way. 

Los Angeles Rams (+1000)

Coming into the season the Rams were near the top of the list based on a top defense and the excitement of upgrading from Jared Goff to Matt Stafford. The season played out mostly as expected and the Rams won the NFC West, even if took a little longer to lock it down. At this price, they are definitely interesting because they are favorites in at least one of their games to start. So is Monday Night Football in the playoffs. 

Cincinnati Bengals (+1700)

The Bengals are a great story, and even though they have not had recent playoff success, I like the track record of Joe Burrow coming up big in his biggest games. They dominated against their Wild Card opponent (Raiders) during the season and getting that first win is the first step to winning it all. They are not as complete as Buffalo or Kansas City, but they can trade blows with either of those and at this price there are interesting hedging opportunities. 

Arizona Cardinals (+2200)

For the first half of the season, the Cardinals were at the top of the odds list. I don't like the coach but there is a lot of talent on this team and they have been great on the road this season, 8-1 SU. They are underdogs at the Rams this week, but that is a very familiar opponent and I see that game as coin flip. This is a great team to take a flier on. Just don't bet big. They might be underdogs in all of their games but the math should still work. 

San Francisco 49ers (+2100)

S.F. is +3 at Dallas on Sunday. Conventional wisdom tells us that the only difference between the two teams is the location of the game. I am not quite calling the upset but we are not that far removed from the 49ers Super Bowl run, and Jimmy G has proven he can be good enough in the playoffs. If I was going to call an upset this weekend, this is the spot. I am not going to believe that Dak can do it, until he does.


New England Patriots (+2200)

I am not a believer in rookie QB Mac Jones, certainly not this season (and probably not ever ... harsh?). Nevertheless, you can't argue with the past success of coach Bill Belichick. They are going to be underdogs on the road this week against Buffalo. If they can get over that first hurdle I think they can be in toss-up games against any team other than Kansas City. You could probably wait and week and see if a path opens up for them. 

Don't Bother

Tennessee Titans (+850)

I know, the Titans are the top seed in the AFC. They deserve kudos for the way they have played winning football without their biggest difference-maker on the field. This one comes down to RB Derrick Henry. Until I see him running over people, I am not going to roll the dice with Tennessee. There is nothing special enough elsewhere on this team. For a top seed, that is wild to say. 

Dallas Cowboys (+1200)

I am trying to focus on the values in this piece, but there is editorial, too, of course. I am just not seeing it this season with Dallas, as they have won a light division and have mostly beaten up on light opponents. If you throw out the final week of the season (which didn't matter), the last time they beat an opponent in the playoffs was back in October (New England) and they have only three wins against the field (the other two are against Philly). A four-game run seems very improbable. This price is not good enough. 

Philadelphia Eagles (+6000)

The Eagles would be interesting in these playoffs if they did not have to face the defending champs and Tom Brady in their first game. A QB (Jalen Hurts) with not much experience isn't helping, either. A 6-3 road record and the top rushing offense in the league are strong indicators but it is just hard to see them getting past that first hurdle. 

Las Vegas Raiders (+6000)

The Raiders have had one of the wildest seasons in recent memory. There was the stuff with the coach and a player getting cut for a DWI, plus all the injuries a team has to deal with throughout the course of a season. Vegas needed to win every game down the stretch, and I think they are just going to be gassed. They were dominated by their Wild Card Weekend opponent (Cincinnati) during the season, too. It looks like one and done for the Raiders. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (+9000)

So we get one more weekend to wax poetic about the career of Ben Roethlisberger. It is not expected to be a lengthy stay for the Steelers in the playoffs, as they are double-digit underdogs against the Chiefs in their first game. That is one of the reasons the Steelers are a pass, the other is that the one time they had a significant winning streak, a five-gamer, it was all against losing teams. A run seems very unlikely. 

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