Longtime readers know that we periodically chronicle the Super Bowl odds for all teams here on Blogging The Boys. We do this not because Vegas is always an interesting indicator of where public opinion - and money - is trending.
Nine days after the official start of free agency on March 9, the initial free agency frenzy where teams hand out the big contracts is over, and Pro Football Talk dejectely notes that only slim pickings remain in free agency. Teams are now looking 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 3/18/2017, bovada.lv has the Patriots (4/1) pegged as favorites to win the 2018 Super Bowl, followed by three teams with 10/1 odds, the Cowboys, Packers, and Seahawks. For the Cowboys and Packers, that's a slight drop from the 9/1 odds they had in February, though its a big increase for the Seahawks, who had 16/1 odds in February. Here's how the Super Bowl odds have changed for all 32 teams after almost a week of free agency.
2018 Super Bowl Odds
|Team||per Feb. 6, 2017||per Mar. 18, 2017|
|New England Patriots||5/1||4/1|
|Green Bay Packers||9/1||10/1|
|New York Giants||25/1||18/1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||25/1||25/1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||33/1||40/1|
|New Orleans Saints||50/1||66/1|
|Los Angeles Chargers||66/1||66/1|
|Los Angeles Rams||75/1||150/1|
|New York Jets||75/1||150/1|
|San Francisco 49ers||150/1||150/1|
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 a little over a week of free agency.
According to the bookmakers, the clear winners in the free agency sweepstakes this year were the Texans. Surprisingly, the Texans haven't had any free agency signings of note outside of re-signing TE Ryan Griffin. But they did manage to get rid of the proverbial albatross around their neck when they traded Brock Osweiler and his contract to Cleveland. In the process, they opened the door for Tony Romo as their potential future quarterback.
Luke Joeckel and added Eddie Lacy, improve their odds from 16/1 to 10/1., who landed draft bust
The Patriots, Giants, and Falcons also improved their odds after their free agency activities. But simply spending big in free agency does not automatically lead to improved odds. Six teams spent more than $100 million in total contract value in 2017 free agency (so far).
Jacksonville: $168 million
San Francisco: $148 million
Baltimore: $123 million
Chicago: $118 million
New England: $117 million
Cleveland: $109 million
Of those six teams, only the Patriots saw an improvement in their odds. The Ravens, Bears, and 49ers see no change in their odds, and the Browns and Jaguars see their odds drop despite their huge investments.
And keep in mind, being the early season favorite has not always proven helpful in the postseason. After free agency last year, the Cardinals and Panthers had the second-best odds at 10/1, but failed to even make the playoffs. At the same time, the Falcons were long shots with 40/1 odds and still made the Super Bowl.
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.