More or less a month ago, one NFL expert stated that if the playoffs were to end today, the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers would earn postseason trips in the AFC. This would mean that five of the six playoff teams from a season ago would make a return trip this year.
When all was said and done, the New England Patriots held the best chance (24 percent) of winning the Super Bowl with the Arizona Cardinals coming in at 19 percent. The Denver Broncos (nine percent) and Green Bay Packers (eight percent) and Seattle Seahawks (six percent) were the only other teams with more than a five percent chance of winning the title according to this model. source: forbes.com
On the other hand, Seahawks left the first impression on bettors on Sunday, beating the Packers in a thrilling NFC championship game in Seattle. The Pats needed no miracles in their audition for the suits, blowing the Colts out in Foxborough in the AFC championship game.
Much like Tom Brady & Co. did in playing the second game of Sunday’s championship doubleheader, the early Super Bowl XLIX betting line moved dramatically as New England finished off its 45-7 thrashing of Indianapolis late Sunday night. The Seahawks open at about a field-goal favorite for the Super Bowl in most offshore books, but then bettors went heavy on the Pats to move the game down to a pick ’em.
In Super Bowl XXXI, the Packers and Patriots pushed (a tie when point spread is factored in), as 14-point favorite Green Bay won that game 35-21. And New England was a 10-point dog to Chicago in Super Bowl XX and lost 46-10.
Another bit of history that seems to not bother the bettors right now: The Patriots have NEVER covered as a favorite in the Super Bowl; New England was favored in both matchups with the Giants and lost them both outright. Before that, the Patriots beat both Philadelphia and Carolina by three points despite being a touchdown favorite at kickoff in each Super Bowl. The last time the Patriots were a point-spread winner in the Super Bowl? Brady’s first Super Bowl, when New England beat St. Louis 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI when the Rams were a whopping 14-point favorite.
As for two weeks from today, the biggest talking point, at least for the first few days, will be the status of Seahawks shutdown cornerback Richard Sherman’s arm, injured in the 28-22 win over Green Bay on Sunday. Sherman told the media after the game he was “100 percent” and will play against the Pats.
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