Let’s try to work this one out: the New England Patriots saw their odds of winning Super Bowl LII drop from 13/4 (23.5%) to 7/2 (22.2%) after defeating the Los Angeles Chargers and moving to their bye week with a 6-2 record.
The Patriots odds of winning the AFC remain constant at 3/2 (40.0%), as do their odds of winning the AFC East at 1/20 (95.2%). So why the drop in Super Bowl odds?
Part of the reason could be the Patriots decision to trade Jimmy Garoppolo as now any injury to Tom Brady could have a far more devastating effect on New England’s chances of remaining a contender. But if that were the case, then I would have expected the Patriots odds of winning the AFC East and the AFC to drop, too, especially with the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs all gaining ground.
The real reason is the rise of the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Patriots odds in the AFC remain constant, but the Super Bowl odds change, then it’s not because of any value Garoppolo adds to the Patriots or the competition in the AFC, but instead how New England projects to fare in the Super Bowl itself.
The Eagles saw their Super Bowl odds creep up to 6/1 (14.3%) as they’ve taken a firm hold on the second seed in the rankings. The Minnesota Vikings also saw a small increase to 14/1 and the Dallas Cowboys moved to 18/1. The oddsmakers are simply seeing a greater chance for the NFC teams to knock off the AFC representative in the big game.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady still leads the MVP discussion- rightfully so, I might add and argue- with 2/1 odds (33.3%), but he’s just a hair ahead of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (21/10 odds (32.3%). They are joined by Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith at 9/2 (18.2%), Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at 9/1 (10.0%), and Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson at 10/1 (9.1%) to create the top five MVP candidates.
Only four other candidates even have odds with everyone else getting pulled off the board. Saints quarterback Drew Brees has long 20/1 odds, while Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (33/1), Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (33/1), and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (33/1) bring up the rear.
Brady is also the favorite to earn the Passing Yards crown for 2017 with 1/2 odds (66.7%), ahead of Brees and Smith at 7/1 (12.5%).