Eight teams remain in contention for the 2015 Super Bowl, as they prepare for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. According to the latest betting odds, the top seeds have a much better chance of winning the title than the teams that are being forced to go on the road in the second round.
The Carolina Panthers (25/1) are considered the biggest longshot to win it all. After a win at home over the banged up Arizona Cardinals, the NFC South champs face a daunting task in their attempt to reach the Super Bowl. They are the biggest underdogs of the second round, hoping to go on the road and upset the Seattle Seahawks (21/10), possibly the team with the league’s best home-field advantage. If the Panthers were to somehow advance to the NFC Championship, they’d be forced to visit another 12-win division winner.
The Baltimore Ravens (18/1) looked good on Wild Card Weekend, upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they have the most difficult road of any playoff team. They’d need three consecutive road wins to reach the Super Bowl, including a win over the AFC’s top seed. In the conference championship game, they’d visit either a team that hasn’t lost at home or a team that defeated them in the regular season.
If the Indianapolis Colts (16/1) reach the Super Bowl, they’ll have done so by defeating two teams they faced in the regular season. Andrew Luck and the Colts have one of the most explosive offenses in the league, but they were beaten handily by both the Denver Broncos (6/1) and New England Patriots (10/3) in 2014.
Of any second-round underdog, the Dallas Cowboys (7/1) have the best chance of winning the Super Bowl. They are playing extremely well, having won five games in a row, including three contests against teams with at least 10 victories. However, getting a road win in Green Bay might prove to be too tall of an order.
Below are predictions for the conference championship games and the 2015 Super Bowl. All betting odds are courtesy of Bovada.lv.
NFC Championship Game: Seattle over Green Bay
Both teams are virtually unbeatable at home, giving them a strong chance to meet in the conference title game. The Seahawks dominated the Packers when the teams met in Seattle to open the season, and the defending champs are the hottest team in football. Green Bay has struggled on the road and against elite defenses.
The Seahawks have 10/13 odds of reaching the Super Bowl. The Packers have 5/2 odds of reaching the Super Bowl.
AFC Championship Game: New England over Denver
Much like the NFC Championship game that is favored by the betting odds, the predicted AFC title game is also a rematch of a one-sided regular season contest. The Patriots beat the Broncos by 22 points in Week 9, and there’s little reason to believe New England wouldn’t be victorious again. Tom Brady and Co. are nearly unbeatable at home, and while Denver’s 8-0 home record indicates they’ll get past Indianapolis, they are just .500 on the road.
The Patriots have 10/11 odds of reaching the Super Bowl. The Broncos have 19/10 odds of reaching the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XLIX: Seattle over New England
It’s been a decade since the Super Bowl winner of the previous season repeated as champions, but the Seahawks are in a good position to do so. They boast the league’s top defense, a rushing attack that ranks first in yards per game and a quarterback that’s already proven he can win a title. The Patriots will be tough to beat, but they’ve lost two Super Bowls since 2008, and the Seahawks appear to be the best team in football.