Not even a perfect 14-0 record, which technically stands as an 18-game regular season winning streak dating back to last season, can knock the New England Patriots off the Super Bowl-favorite perch.
Quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots are still Las Vegas’ pick to appear and win Super Bowl 50 this season, despite the incredible MVP play of quarterback Cam Newton and the rest of the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
With two more games left until the playoffs, New England’s odds have slipped over the last month, but only slightly from 3/1 to 7/2, according to VegasInsider.com. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Patriots have a 23 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl, followed by the Panthers (22 percent) and Arizona Cardinals (17 percent.)
The Patriots and Brady were expected to crumble due to crippling injuries along the offensive line and in the receiving corps, in particular to running back LeGarrette Blount, tight end Rob Gronkowski, and wide out Julian Edelman.
However, New England’s welcomed Gronkowski back from a knee injury and has ripped off two straight wins after suffering its first two losses of the season in Weeks 12 and 13.
Newton, who became the first player in history to pass for more than 300 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 100 yards in one game, and the Panthers pulled out a tight 38-35 victory over the New York Giants.
While it didn't make them championship favorites, the win did allow Carolina to break up a logjam with fellow NFC contender Arizona, as it improved its odds from 11/2 to 4/1 and now serves as New England’s potential opponent in the Super Bowl.
Arizona and quarterback Carson Palmer continue to ride the second-longest winning streak in the league, taking their last eight, and they could improve their 5/1 odds by beating Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 16 for a first-round bye in the postseason.
Outside of the upper echelon of New England, Carolina, and Arizona, the Pittsburgh Steelers and their seemingly untamable tandem of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receiver Antonio Brown have made a huge leap from 14/1 to 6/1 odds to win it all.
The Seattle Seahawks are once again picking up steam late in the season and their chances of making the Super Bowl for the third straight year also increased by leaps and bounds, improving from 18/1 to a tie with Pittsburgh at 6/1.
But it’s not all good news, particularly for AFC powers Cincinnati and Denver. After quarterback Andy Dalton suffered a serious thumb injury, leaving his status for the playoffs in doubt, the Bengals’ odds dove from 10/1 to 20/1.
The Broncos, meanwhile, have lost their last two games, most recently to Pittsburgh in Week 15, and now face questions about whether quarterback Brock Osweiler can guide the team or if injured Peyton Manning might be better suited despite his turnover struggles all season.
Here’s the full list of odds, with only 18 teams considered in the running now that 14 have been ruled out of postseason contention.
Odds To Win Super Bowl 50
New England Patriots 7/2
Carolina Panthers 4/1
Arizona Cardinals 5/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 6/1
Seattle Seahawks 6/1
Green Bay Packers 12/1
Denver Broncos 15/1
Cincinnati Bengals 20/1
Kansas City Chiefs 40/1
Minnesota Vikings 50/1
Houston Texans 75/1
New York Jets 80/1
New York Giants 100/1
Washington Redskins 100/1
Philadelphia Eagles 125/1
Indianapolis Colts 200/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 650/1
Atlanta Falcons 1000/1