With Super Bowl XLVIII in the books, let’s look at the fresh Super Bowl odds (via BetMGM) for next February.
Below the table, we’re going to look at the teams that have seen their fortunes change the most — by comparing their post-Super Bowl odds with those on the eve of training camp in 2023. We’ll also look at the teams that still are viewed as contenders, but whose odds to win the Super Bowl are much worse now than they were in July.
The biggest positive mover (shorter odds) are the Houston Texans, who shocked the NFL by winning the AFC South. Five other teams have seen their odds at least cut significantly, to margins ranging from 20-to-1 to 80-to-1, after being at least 50-to-1 to 200-to-1 in July.
An additional six teams teams have moved in the opposite direction — they are much longer shots than they were in July; a few are still given at least a 60-to-1 chance to win.
Before we try to assess why these teams are such extreme movers, let’s look at the entire NFL sorted by the difference in their odds now relative to last July.
SB 59 odds vs. Preseason 2023
All odds from BetMGM.
The Texans are no surprise. Weak division. Probably the best quarterback in the division. Well positioned to improve via the draft and free agency. Add a young coach who basically tied for first in the Coach of the Year voting. Notably, they’re the favorites to win the division, judging by the odds of the other teams. And at 25-1 it’s not like they’re a Super Bowl favorite. Their odds are 11th best.
The Arizona Cardinals have two first round picks (4 and 27). They also have the ninth-most salary cap space. Kyler Murray struggled in his return following knee surgery. His QBR was by far the worst of his career; he was better judged on passer rating. But his bad passing efficiency (yards per attempt) is another red mark. They were 25th or worse in 15 key defensive categories and 24th or worse in six offensive ones, per Pro-Football-Reference. Arizona, while its standing is much improved compared with July, is still 80-to-1. The jump from 200-to-1 seems related to Murray’s expected availability for the full season. But Murray is 28-36-1 in his career (3-5 last year vs. 1-8 for other ARI starters).
The Indianapolis Colts are 50-to-1 after 125-to-1 in July. Maybe this is because Anthony Richardson was better than many thought he’d be in a couple of games before his season-ending injury. Maybe the market expects Richardson to be a star despite barely playing in the NFL. Notably, the Colts went 9-8 last year. They have the fifth most cap space but free agency is usually the last stage of a team’s development. Again, it’s a weak division. Indy could win it and get a home game; but the Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars both have better odds. The Colts are a middle of the pack team but QBR says they got surprisingly good QB play in 2023 from Gardner Minshew and that will likely degrade with Richardson, perhaps significantly.
The Atlanta Falcons are the biggest mystery at the top of this list. At 30-to-1 they were given the same Super Bowl odds as the Jaguars (they’ve since moved to 50-to-1). Maybe Trevor Lawrence is overrated — but he’s certainly better than anything the Falcons have or are likely to get, given their draft position puts the handful of best draft prospects out of reach. The Falcons are 14th in cap space. Their defense is probably in the top half of the league. The likely operating theory is that anyone other than Arthur Smith will unlock Atlanta’s skill talent. Color me skeptical. Kyle Pitts just may not be good. Drake London is not explosive. Bijan Robinson probably can’t be a bell cow and even if he can be, he’s merely a running back.
The Los Angeles Rams at 30-to-1 are a team I can really get behind. They’re a top-10 Super Bowl contender based on their finishing kick in 2023. They were elite offensively in yards per pass play, the most important stat in football, once all their skill players were online. Matthew Stafford is great. The Rams actually have a first-round pick this year, a rarity. They have cap space (13th) to fortify their defense. They have a top 10 offense, probably top five — and possibly top three when healthy — WRs (Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacoa), RB (Kyren Williams) and QB. So the theory of the case here is that the draft and free agency makes the defense average or better. Then, boom, 12-to-13 wins.
Finally, the Green Bay Packers, who are now 25-to-1 and were initially given a slightly better chance, according to BetMGM, than the very similar Texans (who were 22-1 initially; the teams are now even). You can argue that this is because the AFC is expected to be stronger than the NFC. But it’s also fair to say the Packers have a lower chance of winning the NFC North than the Texans have in the AFC South. Because of the Aaron Rodgers injury, the Packers have only an extra second-round pick, not a first. They are in the red in cap space. The key to their 2024 is the defense taking a major step up.
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The New York Jets are being hit for Aaron Rodgers coming off an injury; but is this likely to affect his play in 2024 given he was cleared to play in 2023? Shouldn’t we feel better about the Jets’ defense since they proved in 2023 that 2022 was not a fluke? An average offense with a top five defense typically wins 11 games. That’s more like last year than this year. And there’s not a 0% chance Rodgers is great still, is there? These odds seem to be saying: “The Jets are cursed.”
The Philadelphia Eagles are also about their QB, as Jalen Hurts has gone from an MVP candidate to a question mark. The defense seems to be in need of being completely retooled. They have some cap space but many questions on defense and even some on offense (the line is aging). Their coaching is now a question mark. But if you still believe fully in Hurts, this number is a value.
The Minnesota Vikings have Kirk Cousins coming back… maybe. He has to be signed now that he’s in his void years. Perhaps the market is hedging here and, if Cousins does sign, the odds will go back to 2023 levels. Minnesota is obviously hurt by the Lions probably being for real and the Packers probably being at least solid at QB. Their Cousins situation is complicated, but my reading is they basically have no money if they sign him.
The Pittsburgh Steelers seem hopeless at QB — unless you believe in Mason Rudolph. They also have Smith now at offensive coordinator. If last year is any indication, Smith probably will believe in Rudolph as opposed to making a more dramatic move for someone with actual upside. So Pittsburgh seems like a stagnant program in the deep red in cap space and in no-man’s land in the draft (20th pick), with little chance of landing a bettable QB.
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