At the midway point of the NFL season, the field of Super Bowl contenders has been narrowed down with several teams also falling out of Las Vegas’s favor.
Based off odds from Bovada.lv, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks began the season as heavy favorites, and as of now they are likely the safest bet to meet in New York on Sunday February 2, 2014. Peyton Manning has lifted the Broncos with 2,919 passing yards and 29 touchdowns for a 7-1 record, and 13/4 odds put Denver in line to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998, and their seventh appearance overall.
The Seahawks have run roughshod over the competition for a 7-1 record, largely from a defense that’s ranked second overall in yards allowed per game (289.3) and third in points allowed (15.6).
The only team to beat both Denver and Seattle is the Indianapolis Colts, and they shot up from 40/1 to 16/1.
The San Francisco 49ers had the best odds before the season began at 6/1, and slipped back to 15/2 along with the New Orleans Saints. Injuries along their powerful front line and whether troubled outside linebacker Aldon Smith returns have pulled San Francisco back, along with quarterback Colin Kaepernick appearing more human than his incredible run late last season.
Sean Payton’s return has clearly bolstered the Saints and Drew Brees. They own a 7-1 record thanks to an offense generating a fifth-best 28 points per game, and the defense has thrived under new coordinator Rob Ryan.
They might be the favorite, but the Broncos aren’t even leading their own division. The AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs made the biggest leap, starting the season at 50/1 odds and are now at 12/1 behind the Green Bay Packers at 9/1. First-year head coach Andy Reid has the Chiefs offense humming behind running back Jamaal Charles, and the defense is letting up only 12.3 points a game.
The Packers have dealt with several injuries on both sides of the ball this season, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers has powered an offense averaging 438.9 yards and 30.3 points per game, both second only to Denver.
A lack of quality targets has quarterback Tom Brady in a down year, and the New England Patriots slipped from 9/1 to 12/1 odds.
But no teams took as big a tumble as the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans. Atlanta started the year at 14/1 and are now 150/1, while the Texans were 18/1 and dropped to 100/1 odds.
Losing receiver Julio Jones was one thing for the Falcons, but Roddy White missed the first three games of his career, and running back Steven Jackson has shown little durability behind quarterback Matt Ryan.
Houston suffered through poor quarterback play from Matt Schaub, and installed rookie Case Keenum, but that couldn’t break a five-game losing streak. The Texans are also ranked 28th against the run, which likely won’t get bet better with linebacker Brian Cushing being moved to injured reserve.
A plethora of turnovers forced the New York Giants to take a serious tumble, from 22/1 to 75/1. While the Chicago Bears went from 28/1 to 75/1 and the odds apparently don’t favor the Baltimore Ravens to repeat. The Ravens fell from 22/1 to 66/1.
Bovada doesn’t have the dysfunctional 0-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers listed.
The full list of odds is below.
Denver Broncos 13/4
Seattle Seahawks 9/2
New Orleans Saints 15/2
San Francisco 49ers 15/2
Green Bay Packers 9/1
Kansas City Chiefs 12/1
New England Patriots 12/1
Cincinnati Bengals 14/1
Indianapolis Colts 16/1
Dallas Cowboys 28/1
Carolina Panthers 33/1
Detroit Lions 40/1
San Diego Chargers 50/1
Baltimore Ravens 66/1
Chicago Bears 75/1
New York Giants 75/1
Houston Texans 100/1
Philadelphia Eagles 100/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 125/1
Washington Redskins 125/1
Arizona Cardinals 150/1
Atlanta Falcons 150/1
Miami Dolphins 150/1
New York Jets 200/1
Tennessee Titans 200/1
Oakland Raiders 250/1
Buffalo Bills 500/1
Cleveland Browns 500/1
St. Louis Rams 500/1
Minnesota Vikings 750/1