The New England Patriots have clinched the AFC East title and a first round bye and Las Vegas has inched the franchise’s odds of representing the conference in the Super Bowl to even, according to Bovada.
The Patriots currently have 1/1 odds of winning the AFC, which is the equivalent to a 50% chance. The Pittsburgh Steelers (9/2), Oakland Raiders (13/2), and Kansas City Chiefs (15/2) have all looked vulnerable in recent weeks, while the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Tennessee Titans are tied with 25/1 odds.
Curiously, the current 6th seed Miami Dolphins have 40/1 odds, the 10th best odds in the conference, behind a handful of teams not in the playoffs, including the Denver Broncos (33/1).
The Patriots have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl with 11/5 odds, ahead of the Dallas Cowboys (5/1), Seattle Seahawks (11/2), Steelers (10/1), Green Bay Packers (12/1), and Raiders (12/1). The Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, and Chiefs are tied at 16/1.
The NFL MVP race is down to seven candidates, with Patriots QB Tom Brady in second place. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott holds the lead with 2/1 odds, with 327 rushing yards more than second ranked Titans RB DeMarco Murray. Elliott is putting together the second-best rookie season for a running back in NFL history, behind only Rams RB Eric Dickerson, who gained 2,212 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns in 1983.
Brady has 5/2 odds and he’ll need to have two outstanding performances over the final two weeks of the season to edge out Falcons QB Matt Ryan (9/2). Raiders QB Derek Carr (7/1) is a media darling, while Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (10/1) and Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell (16/1) have come on strong in recent weeks. Lions QB Matthew Stafford (16/1) and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (33/1) are fading out of the picture.