Oddsmaker Bovada released their most recent set of odds for the NFL and they have the AFC as the 2.5-point favorite over the NFC in the Super Bowl. This decision is curious because of the comparable depths in each conference.
The AFC is a two-team conference, with the New England Patriots the favorite with 11/10 odds and the Pittsburgh Steelers in second-place with 19/10 odds. The team with the third-best odds are the Los Angeles Chargers at 12/1 and they wouldn’t make the playoffs if the season ended today. It’s a huge drop after the top two teams.
The NFC, on the other hand, is up in the air. There are five teams with odds of reaching the Super Bowl better than the Chargers, and the next two teams in the NFC have better odds than all but the top three teams in the AFC. This glut of competition means that regardless of the quality of the team in a vacuum, the NFC teams will have a much more difficult road to reach the Super Bowl.
As a result, the Patriots (12/5) and Steelers (9/2) are the two Super Bowl favorites, followed by seven NFC teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles (6/1), Minnesota Vikings (12/7), and New Orleans Saints (10/1).
The Patriots’ performance over the next two weeks will reveal a lot about New England’s actually lead over the Steelers from a talent stand point.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady extended his lead in the MVP race, sitting in first with 5/8 odds ahead of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (2/1) and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (4/1). It’s a three-player race since Wilson and the Seahawks toppled Wentz on Sunday night.
Only four other players have MVP odds and they’re long shots. Saints quarterback Drew Brees (14/1) is a candidate, but his numbers are down as the result of finally having a defense, neither of which really help his case to be MVP. Steelers teammates Le’Veon Bell (25/1) and Antonio Brown (33/1) are listed, but they’ll split credit and would need historic seasons to win.
Vikings quarterback Case Keenum is the last player on the list with 33/1 odds, which is a great story, but is also a long shot simply because he doesn’t have the statistical production (14th in passing yards, 16th in touchdown passes).