The initial signing frenzy of free agency seems to have cooled off, so this is a good time to turn our eye to Vegas and see which teams improved their Super Bowl odds after six days of free agency, and which didn't.
Longtime readers know that we periodically chronicle the Super Bowl odds for all teams here on Blogging The Boys, most recently in February this year. We do this not because because we think the Cowboys are necessarily an immediate threat to win the Super Bowl, but because Vegas is always an interesting indicator of where public opinion - and money - is concentrating.
Pro Football Talk boldly proclaimed that the first phase of free agency - the initial signing frenzy where teams hand out the big contracts - came to an end on Thursday, and teams have since started to look for bargains and one-year, prove-it deals. Which means now is a good time to turn our eye to Vegas once again to see which teams moved up or down the list of Super Bowl favorites.
Per the early morning of 3/17/2013, bovada.lv has the Broncos (7/1), 49ers (7/1) and Patriots (15/2) pegged as favorites to win the 2014 Super Bowl. For Denver and San Francisco, that translates into a 12.5% chance at another ring. The Cowboys are tied for the 12th best odds with 25/1 or a 3.8% chance, a slight improvement over their position in February. Here's how the Super Bowl odds have changed for all 32 teams after almost a week of free agency.
2014 Super Bowl Odds
|Team||per Feb. 4, 2013||per Mar. 17, 2013||Change|
|Denver Broncos||11.1% (8/1)||12.5% (7/1)||1.4%|
|San Francisco 49ers||11.1% (8/1)||12.5% (7/1)||1.4%|
|New England Patriots||12.5% (7/1)||11.8% (15/2)||-0.7%|
|Seattle Seahawks||5.9% (16/1)||9.1% (10/1)||3.2%|
|Green Bay Packers||9.1% (10/1)||7.7% (12/1)||-1.4%|
|Atlanta Falcons||5.3% (18/1)||7.7% (12/1)||2.4%|
|Houston Texans||6.7% (14/1)||5.9% (16/1)||-0.8%|
|New Orleans Saints||5.3% (18/1)||5.9% (16/1)||0.6%|
|Baltimore Ravens||6.7% (14/1)||4.8% (20/1)||-1.9%|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||5.3% (18/1)||4.8% (20/1)||-0.5%|
|New York Giants||4.8% (20/1)||4.8% (20/1)||0.0%|
|Chicago Bears||3.2% (30/1)||3.8% (25/1)||0.6%|
|Dallas Cowboys||3.2% (30/1)||3.8% (25/1)||0.6%|
|Washington Redskins||3.2% (30/1)||3.8% (25/1)||0.6%|
|Philadelphia Eagles||2.0% (50/1)||3.2% (30/1)||1.3%|
|Cincinnati Bengals||2.8% (35/1)||2.8% (35/1)||0.0%|
|Detroit Lions||2.4% (40/1)||2.8% (35/1)||0.3%|
|Indianapolis Colts||2.4% (40/1)||2.8% (35/1)||0.3%|
|Miami Dolphins||2.0% (50/1)||2.8% (35/1)||0.8%|
|Minnesota Vikings||2.4% (40/1)||2.4% (40/1)||0.0%|
|San Diego Chargers||2.4% (40/1)||2.4% (40/1)||0.0%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||2.0% (50/1)||2.2% (45/1)||0.2%|
|Carolina Panthers||2.0% (50/1)||2.0% (50/1)||0.0%|
|New York Jets||2.0% (50/1)||1.6% (60/1)||-0.3%|
|St. Louis Rams||2.0% (50/1)||1.6% (60/1)||-0.3%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1.6% (60/1)||1.6% (60/1)||0.0%|
|Cleveland Browns||1.5% (66/1)||1.3% (75/1)||-0.2%|
|Arizona Cardinals||1.0% (100/1)||1.0% (100/1)||0.0%|
|Buffalo Bills||1.0% (100/1)||1.0% (100/1)||0.0%|
|Tennessee Titans||1.0% (100/1)||1.0% (100/1)||0.0%||
|Oakland Raiders||0.7% (150/1)||1.0% (100/1)||0.3%|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||0.7% (150/1)||0.7% (150/1)||0.0%|
Looking at Vegas odds as a way to assess team strength is always a bit tricky, as the odds are also a reflection of where the money is going, and only partly reflect true team strength. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see how the odds have changed after one week of free agency. Overall, 14 teams improved their odds, 8 teams saw their stock drop and 10 teams didn't see their odds change at all.
According to the bookmakers, the clear winners in the free agency sweepstakes this year were the Seahawks, who scored Percy Harvin in a trade and added DEs Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to an already dominant defense. They improve their odds from 16/1 to 10/1. The Falcons also make a big jump from 18/1 to 12/1 in part because they were able to re-sign TE Tony Gonzales and OT Sam Baker, in part also because they were able to replace Michael Turner with Steven Jackson. The Eagles and Dolphins also make some big moves in the table above.
The biggest losers, if you go by the Vegas odds, are the Packers and Ravens. Vegas apparently does not take kindly to the player exodus from Baltimore. Overall though, free agency hasn't had that big an impact on the odds of most teams. While there is lots of movement in the table above, most of this movement is in small increments.
And keep in mind, being the early season favorite has not always proven helpful in the postseason. After free agency last year, the Ravens were ranked joint 7th with 15/1 odds and still went on to win a ring. The season before, the Giants were ranked joint 11th with 20/1 odds and ended up winning it all. We'll see how it goes this year: just about the only thing we know for sure at this stage is that the numbers are bound to change again after the draft and after preseason.