Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Feb 2010

Opening 2011 Super Bowl Odds

Here are the opening lines for teams to win Super Bowl XLV, per Bodog:

Indianapolis Colts 13/2
San Diego Chargers 8/1
New England Patriots 10/1
New Orleans Saints 10/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 11/1
Dallas Cowboys 12/1
Green Bay Packers 12/1
Minnesota Vikings 12/1
Philadelphia Eagles 16/1
Baltimore Ravens 20/1
New York Giants 20/1
New York Jets 25/1
Tennessee Titans 25/1
Atlanta Falcons 30/1
Cincinnati Bengals 30/1
Arizona Cardinals 35/1
Chicago Bears 35/1
Houston Texans 35/1
Carolina Panthers 40/1
Miami Dolphins 45/1
San Francisco 49ers 45/1
Seattle Seahawks 45/1
Denver Broncos 50/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 50/1
Washington Redskins 50/1
Buffalo Bills 100/1
Cleveland Browns 100/1
Detroit Lions 100/1
Kansas City Chiefs 100/1
Oakland Raiders 100/1
St. Louis Rams 100/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 100/1

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 08 Feb 2010

41 comments, Last at 11 Feb 2010, 6:48am by tuluse


by Or (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 1:18pm

I like the odds on Carolina, Tennessee, and Baltimore.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 1:25pm

I'm liking the Jets at 25-1, which has me worried. Considering it's New York, and there's probably some residual AFCCG hype, for them to be 25-1, the oddsmakers must think the real odds are like 50-1.

Houston at 35-1 would also be appealing, but the subjective part of my brain says a team can't go from never-been-in-the-playoffs to Super Bowl winner in one year.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:38pm

I like the Jets at those odds as well.

As a Texans fan, I think Houston are likely to be a better team than several of those above them, but I don't much fancy them as a Superbowl winner, partly for the reason you give and partly because their schedule looks murderous.

by Temo :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 1:33pm

The Broncos odds are looking kinda good to me.

I have a feeling that Eagles' odds would be higher if they jettisoned McNabb. As weird as it may seem, it seems to me like QB is now a weak spot on that team. They still look solid everywhere else (unless you think Reid is a minus, which I don't).

by Guido Merkens :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 1:52pm

He can make some beautiful passes, but he does skip 15-yard in patterns off the ground pretty routinely. Combined with the fact that he's no longer a threat on the ground, McNabb will never be better than merely "good."

by Guido Merkens :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 1:56pm

He can make some beautiful passes, but he does skip 15-yard in patterns off the ground pretty routinely. Combined with the fact that he's no longer a threat on the ground, McNabb will never be better than merely "good."

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:02pm

Kevin Kolb has one good game in his whole pro career...against the Chiefs. How confident can the public be on him?

by Dean :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:10pm

He's the backup quarterback. That makes him the most popular player on the team by default.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:39pm

Inclined to agree on McNabb - I like Kolb, and McNabb ought still to have meaningful trade value.

I can't agree on the Broncos, though - I just don't see any reason to think they'll be any good at all.

by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 3:53pm

I agree with you on Denver - but ironically, it's because of the possibility that they might trade to get McNabb. They're certainly worth a flyer at 50-1.

by SOBL (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 1:36pm

Giants and Ravens look nice.

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 1:52pm

The 2010 Denver Broncos: Officially Joining the Dregs of the League.

Pat Bowlen approves.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:04pm

Worse than the Seahawks?! 2010 is going to suck.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:04pm

The Cardinals at 35/1, along with the Bears and Texans? I guess that says something about the confidence people have in Leinart.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:48pm

You mean you do have confidence in Leinart? I don't think it's at all clear the Cardinals should be favoured to win their division. Obviously neither of the other two are either, but at least their divisions have multiple quality teams - you can be pretty damn good and not win the AFC South or the NFC North.

Also, the Cards are not going to be spending money on free agents in an uncapped year. The Texans and Bears are far higher revenue teams. I'm not saying Snyderisation is either a good idea or likely to happen in either of those places, but both could realistically afford to pay, for example, Peppers - hard to see how that wouldn't improve a team. The Texans could go after Hampton or Franklin to shore up their problematic NT spot. The Cardinals won't be making those kinds of moves.

by t.d. :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:18pm

Give me the Packers at 12-1

by andrew :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:29pm

I like the odds on the packers as well. They are my favorite for next year, regardless of what Favre does.

I think the Patriots are too high.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 2:58pm

I agree the Packers are a real contender.

The Patriots played a tough schedule, and given the age of their defense it would be no surprise to see a big improvement from then on that side of the ball. I don't think their odds are too unreasonable.

I do think the Colts and Titans odds are far too short. The Titans aren't going to rediscover the elite defense of a couple of years ago, the Colts weren't as dominant this season as their record would suggest, Manning has to start declining some time, and above all both teams play in the AFC South and against the NFC East. Equally, the NFC East teams' odds are probably over-optimistic given that they have to play each other and the AFC South.

by alexbond :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 3:05pm

That won't make it harder to win an SB, it will make it harder to get to the playoffs. I have confidence that the Colts will not miss the playoffs. Once you get there, regular season opponents matter only insofar as it sets the seeding. If the Colts get hot at the right time, it doesn't matter if they don't have a bye. If the Colts fall flat at the wrong time, it doesn't matter if they do. I do agree that this makes Titans and Texans longer shots, a wild card spot will be tougher to get for them.

by Marko :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:43pm

But seeding also determines home field advantage, which is a big deal. If the Saints didn't have HFA, I don't think they wouldn't have beaten the Vikings.

The NFC East also plays the NFC North, which will make the schedules tough for both divisions. The NFC North also plays the AFC East, which is no cakewalk.

by Bobman :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 5:54pm

In addition, if AGL stats just fall to merely average for the Colts, they'll be considerably healthier next year (timing dependent--if they have perfect health until the wheels all fall off at once in week 17, well then, they will suck in the playoffs). And with three rookies and two first-year starters starting most games this year, they'll be pretty well seasoned to boot. I would be worried if they were "old" at any one position, but they are really not.

Manning is old by NFL years, but I don't think anybody expects him to decline for a few more seasons. The RB crew is young, Reggie Wayne may be aging but overall the receiving corps is young, the OL is a mixed bag and Saturday is key. NO spring chicken there.... On D, the DL is also mixed with no real old guys (but some brittleness might suggest a need for greater depth), the LBs generally young as is the secondary (two rookie CBs totaled about 23 starts this year).

They are old at kicker (and long snapper, thought Snow is pretty spry), but I don't really see that as a major shortcoming, so long as the coaches no longer attempt MF-ing 51 yarders. If Stover canhit from 43-in and MacAfee kicks off, I'd be pretty comfortable, though I know others will not.

So there is no reason to project the Colts declining and a few good reasons to project an improvement. Now will other teams improve at a greater rate and pass them? Maybe. But are 12 wins pretty darn likely? Yes they are. And once they are in the playoffs, that's season 2. You'd have to think experience, maybe one or two home games, and Manning all have a prtty good shot at getting them to the big game.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 11:57am

Are the Colts clear favourites to win their division? Absolutely.

Do they have a realistic shot at 12+ wins even with a murderous schedule? Sure.

Are they a realistic Superbowl contender yet again? You bet.

Are they the clear favourites, with a 2/15 chance of winning it all? Not for my money.

No one knows when Peyton will start to meaningfully decline, but plenty of great QBs have started to go at his age (or younger). He'll still definitely be excellent, but he's not guaranteed to be Peyton Manning. The Colts had a lot of injuries this year, but I believe I'm right in saying they have a lot of injuries most years - it's just one of the side-effects of their team-building strategy (especially on defense). It's not that I don't think they're a contender, it's that I don't see any reason to think they're a better contender than the Patriots, Steelers, Chargers, Packers or Saints.

by turbohappy (not verified) :: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 12:34pm

I agree with everything you've said there and I'm a homer ;o)

by drobviousso :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 3:02pm

I'd take the Texans, on the theory that offense is more stable year to year than defense, and they strike me as the only good offense bad defense team at that range.

And maybe the Bears. Who knows how productive their O will be next year.

by displaced_saints_fan :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 3:25pm

Carolina at 40-1 all day.

by Miker (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 3:50pm

Is it just me, or do these odds add up to 133.7%? Am I doing my math wrong?

by ArgenTom :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:24pm

You are not doing your math wrong.

by Eddo :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:32pm

Of course they do. If the implied odds added up to less than 100%, you could bet on every team and make money, since there's a real 100% chance that one of them to win.

But, with 133.7% (if your math is right) implied percentage, sports books will theoretically take in $133 dollars for every $100 they wind up paying out.

by nuk :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:40pm

I think that's right. It's how they make a profit.

by Bobman :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 6:03pm

Just to clarify for a non-bettor, say you put $100 down on the 8 top teams, your maximum loss is $800, but if any one of them wins you are likely to get a payout of $1,200 (assuming a 12:1 team). Net profit of $400.

Am I doing something wrong? I am pretty sure I can pick 8 teams I like to make it and won't really care who wins so long as two of them end up there (from a purely financial perspective, of course. From a fan perspective, the only pure/rational/defensible team to root for is the Colts... ;-)

Is my crude math right?

It makes sense that they'd make a profit off of "fans" who irrationally put money on their team regardless of the odds, but I would think it tougher for them to make money off bet-hedging like I outline above. If I have the mechanics right.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 6:51pm

Maybe, but now you're risking $800 to win, at best, $400. If one of your teams is the Colts, you'll come out behind even if they win. And if one is San Diego, you'd only break even. If you picked the top 8 teams as your 8, you'd have an average expected win, IF one of them wins, of $218.75 on a $100 bet, whereas your potential loss is always $800. For this to be a break-even expected-value scenario, you'd need to think that your 8 have a >73% chance of winning the Super Bowl. That's starting to get a little dicey, and again, that's just for it to come out even.

Some can check my math if they want; I could be off somewhere. But the easiest gambling rule to remember is that there is no such thing as a sure-fire system. There wouldn't be palaces everywhere in Las Vegas if the games were this easy to beat.

by Tracy :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 2:02pm

If you had followed this approach last year, would the Saints have been one of the 8 teams you picked? How about 3 years ago, when Tiki Barber was announcing his retirement, and everybody thought that the Giants couldn't win a super bowl with Tom Coughlin as their coach and Eli Manning as their quarterback?

I'm thinking that it's slightly better than a 50% shot that one of those top 8 teams will win next year's superbowl, and you're not getting anywhere near even money odds to bet them all.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:48pm

I get the same number, but I don't think it's a very meaningful number. Bookies aren't in the business of offering bets with a positive expected value.

The thing to always keep in mind is that these are not random events like a roulette wheel. The odds being shown do not accurately reflect the chance that the event will actually happen. A bookie might be offering 100-1 on the Rams to win the Super Bowl next year, but he doesn't really believe there's a 1% chance they'll win it. In the bookie's mind, he knows the actual chances of that happening are much less. I'm sure a similar discrepancy exists for several other teams, if not all of them, and we are not given that information. The bookie will manipulate odds to encourage action on teams he expects to lose.

The real exercise is to evaluate each team based on how likely you think they are to win the Super Bowl, and to make sure your total adds up to 100%. Then compare vs the odds being offered. My bet is that you'll only find maybe 1 or 2 teams where the expected value comes out ahead. And even then, you're still working from imperfect information.

by tuluse :: Thu, 02/11/2010 - 6:48am

When the Rams won, I think the odds were 250-1 against. The casinos got burned so bad they don't offer odds that crazy any more.

by Anonymous1234 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:07pm

Love the Panthers at 40/1. Moore is the real deal.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:13pm

Like the Texans.

Also, when was the last time the post-Super Bowl favorite actually won the Super Bowl?

My guess would be after Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Pats were the favorite for Super Bowl XXXIX.

by Rick A. (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:23pm

My opinion:

Teams favored to win the NFC next year are Saints or Cowboys. Darkhorse teams favored to win the NFC are the Packers and the Bears, and possibly the Redskins.

Teams favored to win the AFC next year are the Patriots, Jets, or Steelers.

(Odd note: the captcha for this post was "speculation maven"... O_o)

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 4:58pm

I see people liking Carolina (40-1), and I'm not sure why. I understand that they've been good in the recent past. But when I look at them, I see a team that is going to probably switch its QB, which might be an improvement, but it's not like Matt Moore has proven himself to be John Elway. I also see a team that is most likely going to lose Julius Peppers without compensation in return, and that has a low chance of winning its own division. To me, I don't see a >2.5% chance that they win the Super Bowl.

by MarkB (not verified) :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 5:01pm

The Raiders in the bottom six - the Patriots own their first round draft choice next year. Thank you, Richard Seymour, thank you, B.B.

by Mystyc :: Mon, 02/08/2010 - 6:05pm

Pretty short odds for the Steelers considering they didn't make the playoffs this year. There's plenty of reasons to expect the team to improve, but even so.

by Jeff Fogle :: Tue, 02/09/2010 - 12:20am

Sportsbooks generally do very well with these. Backers of one team win...and everyone else loses. The original prices don't present true odds. Generally considered a sucker bet. If there's a team you think isn't fairly represented, the percentage approach is usually to wait for the regular season win totals to come out in a few months and pump those. It's not like these odds will change much in the meantime.

That way, you're asking your team to have a good regular season, and you're not rolling the dice so much in terms of who catches the breaks in the playoffs.

You'll often find that if your team makes the playoffs...just stringing them together in open-ended parlays will offer similar returns to the pre-season rates. Rolling New Orleans Over would have returned about 7-1 even though they were home favorites twice. Pretty good for a top seed.

Anyway, the guys they call the "sharps" in Vegas generally use this approach. Skip the Super Bowl odds but try to attack the openers on the season win totals...then focus on the playoffs once they get here. Maybe you guys can coordinate with Chad Millman of ESPN on the topic for an article...