It took a 38-8 blowout victory and losses by the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers, but quarterback Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals (13-2) have finally earned the right to be called Super Bowl favorites in the eyes of Las Vegas bookmakers.
According to the latest futures odds via VegasInsider.com, the Cardinals are now 17/5 favorites heading into the final week of the 2015 NFL regular season, rising from 5/1 odds just last week and completely leapfrogging the Patriots (12-3) and the previously undefeated Panthers (14-1).
The Cardinals rise coincides with that of the Kansas City Chiefs, who together now own the longest current winning streaks in the NFL at nine straight, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers experienced major drops in the championship odds.
Arizona can tighten its grip by beating NFC West rival Seattle in Week 17, and potentially supplant Carolina for the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed should the Panthers also suffer a loss to Tampa Bay in the regular season finale.
The Patriots, however, have fallen out of Vegas’ good graces after suffering their third loss in the last five weeks. Defending champion New England slipped to the hated New York Jets in overtime and while its 7/2 odds haven’t changed the loss allowed Arizona to jump ahead.
New England could re-take the throne should it solidify the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a victory over Miami, and if the Cardinals succumb to Seattle.
Meanwhile, the Panthers remain behind the Patriots but are no longer the pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Despite its 14-game winning streak, Carolina never managed to overtake New England and it moves down from 4/1 to 11/2 odds to win it all and stands at 2/1 odds to claim the NFC compared to Arizona’s 8/5.
The Steelers, previously one of the hottest teams in the league and benefiting from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s stellar play and improved health, were upset but heavy underdog and rival Baltimore and have since fallen back from 6/1 odds to 10/1. Pittsburgh technically hasn’t even made the playoffs and now requires a win over Cleveland in Week 17 and a loss by the Jets to sneak into the postseason.
The Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers are already assured a postseason berth, but odds makers don’t like their chances once they get there. Green Bay was on the receiving end of Arizona’s dominant Week 16 performance, and tumbled from 12/1 to 20/1 odds.
Odds To Win Super Bowl 50
Arizona Cardinals 17/5
New England Patriots 7/2
Carolina Panthers 11/2
Seattle Seahawks 6/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 10/1
Cincinnati Bengals 12/1
Denver Broncos 12/1
Kansas City Chiefs 18/1
Green Bay Packers 20/1
New York Jets 35/1
Minnesota Vikings 40/1
Washington Redskins 50/1
Houston Texans 60/1
Indianapolis Colts 2500/1