The betting public has a different Super Bowl favorite than most pundits have.
Longtime readers know that we periodically chronicle the Super Bowl odds for all NFL teams here on Blogging The Boys. Most recently, we took a look at the odds in February of this year, when the MGM Grand’s sports book in Las Vegas released their 2013 Super Bowl odds one day after the Super Bowl.
It's important to keep in mind that these odds don't necessarily reflect the actual chances of teams winning the Super Bowl. Vegas usually sets the line to make sure that the money being bet is spread 50/50 over two teams, or in the case of Super Bowl odds for 32 teams, that the odds are set to keep the betting action even on both sides of the bet (the key to remaining a profitable bookmaker).
So while the opening odds released in February reflect the bookmakers' best guess as to where the action would remain even on both sides of a bet, once the action starts coming in on one particular side of the line, the bookmakers adjust the line to reflect the betting public's betting pattern.
This week, the MGM Sportsbook updated their odds to reflect the action they're seeing on certain teams. As it currently stands, MGM Grand have the 49ers pegged as the favorites to win the Super Bowl with 4/1 odds. That translates into a cool 25% chance of taking the Lombardi trophy to San Francisco. The Cowboys are tied for the sixth best odds with 10/1 or a 10% chance, up from 20/1 (5%) in February. After the break, we look at how the odds have changed for all 32 teams.
Note on the data: The odds from Feb. 6 come courtesy of the MGM Grand Las Vegas via Bloomberg, the current odds are also from the MGM but via Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com. Note also that some of the other sportsbooks will have different odds.
2013 Super Bowl Odds
|Team & Rank||per Feb 6, 2012||Current Odds||Change|
|1||San Francisco||10/1 (10%)||4/1 (25%)||15.0%|
|2T||Green Bay||11/2 (18.2%)||6/1 (16.7%)||-1.5%|
|2T||New England||5/1 (20%)||6/1 (16.7%)||-3.3%|
|4||Denver||50/1 (2%)||7/1 (14.3%)||12.3%|
|5||Chicago||17/1 (5.9%)||8/1 (12.5%)||6.6%|
|6T||Dallas||20/1 (5%)||10/1 (10%)||5.0%|
|6T||Philadelphia||6/1 (16.7%)||10/1 (10%)||-6.7%|
|8T||New Orleans||10/1 (10%)||12/1 (8.3%)||-1.7%|
|8T||Houston||12/1 (8.3%)||12/1 (8.3%)||0.0%||
|8T||Detroit||18/1 (5.6%)||12/1 (8.3%)||2.8%|
|8T||NY Jets||20/1 (5%)||12/1 (8.3%)||3.3%|
|8T||Pittsburgh||6/1 (16.7%)||12/1 (8.3%)||-8.3%|
|13||Baltimore||20/1 (5%)||15/1 (6.7%)||1.7%|
|14||NY||8/1 (12.5%)||18/1 (5.6%)||-6.9%|
|15T||San Diego||12/1 (8.3%)||25/1 (4%)||-4.3%|
|15T||Washington||125/1 (0.8%)||25/1 (4%)||3.2%|
|15T||Atlanta||18/1 (5.6%)||25/1 (4%)||-1.6%|
|15T||Seattle||50/1 (2%)||25/1 (4%)||2.0%|
|15T||Oakland||60/1 (1.7%)||25/1 (4%)||2.3%|
|20T||Cincinnati||30/1 (3.3%)||30/1 (3.3%)||0.0%||
|20T||Miami||50/1 (2%)||30/1 (3.3%)||1.3%|
|20T||Buffalo||50/1 (2%)||30/1 (3.3%)||1.3%|
|23T||Carolina||50/1 (2%)||40/1 (2.5%)||0.5%|
|23T||St. Louis||50/1 (2%)||40/1 (2.5%)||0.5%|
|23T||Kansas City||50/1 (2%)||40/1 (2.5%)||0.5%|
|26||Tampa Bay||100/1 (1%)||50/1 (2%)||1.0%|
|27T||Arizona||60/1 (1.7%)||75/1 (1.3%)||-0.3%|
|27T||Cleveland||75/1 (1.3%)||75/1 (1.3%)||0.0%|
|29T||Tennessee||30/1 (3.3%)||80/1 (1.3%)||-2.1%|
|29T||Minnesota||60/1 (1.7%)||80/1 (1.3%)||-0.4%|
|31||Jacksonville||150/1 (0.7%)||125/1 (0.8%)||0.1%||
|32||Indianapolis||25/1 (4%)||150/1 (0.7%)||-3.3%|
The biggest mover of the last six months are the 49ers, who see their Super Bowl chances improve by 15% behind a jump in odds from 10/1 to 4/1. Close behind them are the Peyton-enhanced Broncos who also take a significant jump.
As mentioned earlier, to a large degree these odds reflect where the betting public is putting their money, so it's no surprise that some of the franchises with the largest fanbases like the Cowboys, Bears and Redskins all see their odds improve. Yet all these teams must also have done something right in the eyes of the bettors to attract positive money.
It's worth noting that despite being a big-market team, the Giants are not attracting the kind of positive money that the other big market teams are getting. Similarly, the hype surrounding perennial media darlings Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is not shared by the betting public, as these two teams show some of the biggest negative swings in their odds.
From an NFC East perspective, the bettors are projecting the Cowboys and Eagles neck-and-neck for the division, with the Redskins surprisingly close to the Giants.
Of course, in May 2010, the Vegas oddsmakers had the Cowboys down as 10/1 favorites to win the 2011 Super Bowl. That season ended in a 6-10 disaster. A year later, the Cowboys again had 10/1 odds for the 2012 Super Bowl, and only managed an 8-8 finish.
Sure, the Cowboys betting public may just be a bunch of hopelessly optimistic Kool-Aid drinkers. But taken as a whole, the change in betting lines can also be seen as a popular vote on which teams had a good offseason, and which teams did not. And the interesting thing is, the people voting with their wallets determine the results of this vote, not some self-declared experts writing click-generating headlines. So it's no surprise that results don't always match the popular narrative we've been hearing for the last couple of months.
And that is a good thing.