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Patriots odds of winning Super Bowl LIII have dropped because the NFC is stacked

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Oddsmakers think the AFC is a three-team race.

Houston Texans v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots defeated the Houston Texans 27-20 to start the 2018 season on track. They’re 1-0, a favorite in the AFC, and they beat a conference rival.

And yet their odds to win Super Bowl LIII declined according to Bovada.

The Patriots are still the favorites to win the Super Bowl with 6/1 odds (14.3%), but that’s a drop from their 15.4% odds ahead of the season opener. What gives?

Well, the next four teams most-likely to win the Super Bowl are all in the NFC and they all won their season openers, too. The Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings are tied for second with 8/1 odds, followed by the reigning-champion Philadelphia Eagles at 9/1 and the Green Bay Packers at 10/1.

One way to look at these odds is that the AFC has a much lower level of competition than the NFC, so the road to the Super Bowl is more easier for the Patriots; there are more scenarios where New England reaches the championship than any of those four NFC teams.

Bovada projects a three-team race in the AFC, with the Patriots given 2/1 odds (33.3%) of representing the conference, followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers at 5/1 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at 6/1. There’s a four-way tie with the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and Los Angeles Chargers at 12/1.

Meanwhile, there are six teams that have better odds of representing the NFC than that quartet in the AFC. The Vikings lead the way with 9/2 odds, followed by the Eagles (5/1), Rams (11/2), Packers (6/1), and a tie for fifth-place between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints (10/1).

I don’t think anyone would complain about having a less competitive path to the Super Bowl, especially with the Steelers tying the freaking Cleveland Browns in the season opener. But I also think it’s too early to be so assured in the NFC’s dominance and want to see how those Texans, Ravens, Chiefs, Chargers, and Denver Broncos squads look in the coming weeks.

Regardless, the Patriots will be able to cement their position atop the AFC if they can knock off the Jaguars on Sunday.