NFL Teams

So Who’s Really Going To Win The Super Bowl?

Author Chris Lang is an Englishman living in Seattle who became a convert from British soccer and cricket to real football and baseball when he first went to watch the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners almost ten years ago.

tom bradyIt’s that time of year again when we can make pretty wellinformed opinions on who’s likely to be at Super Bowl 2015, who’s likely to actually win it and which team, or teams, are the best value given everything we know at this point.

Now, if you listen to the odds coming out of Las Vegas, it’s looking like a repeat — Tom Brady and Peyton Manning is a distinct possibility for the AFC Championship game. That’s due to the fact that the New England Patriots (7/2) and the Denver Broncos (4/1) are well favored in the latest Super Bowl odds, with each team closely matched with the bookmakers. But there’s one team ahead of them both in the market as things stand and that is the Green Bay Packers, who are currently the 11/4 favorites with betfair for the 2015 Super Bowl while the likes of totesport and betway also have Mike McCarthy’s men as the frontrunners.

These three teams are then followed in the market by the Seattle Seahawks at a best-priced 5/1, then there’s quite a gap to the Philadelphia Eagles at around 16/1, the Indianapolis Colts at 18/1 and both the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals at around 22/1. They’re followed, in turn, by the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos at around 33s or less apiece. There are other teams in the franchise that could theoretically win the Super Bowl (and stranger things have happenedwho can forget the New York Giants stunning the New England Patriots?) but anyone else wining it now looks unlikely.

So for fans of teams including the New York Jets, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans, the chances of landing a Super Bowl this season are now, unfortunately for them, a bit of a distant memory.

Let’s have a little look at the value. Remember here, what we’re not trying to do is say who is most likely to win the Super Bowl exactly, as that honor clearly goes to the Green Bay Packers if we really had to choose. But it isn’t really about that. Instead, we’re looking at value. So as a hypothesis, consider this scenario; if someone gave you odds of 11/2 on the roll of a single die, you’d be foolish not to take the bet, but you’d still probably lose the bet. That’s because the real odds are actually 5/1 against.

This wouldn’t mean you were wrong to have taken it, though, as the balance of probabilities were strongly in your favor. In other words, the decision was right, the outcome was wrong. But if you took the same bet 1,000 or 1,000,000 times, you’d inevitably steadily come out ahead thanks to the laws of probability.

Do you get what we’re driving at here?

On this simplistic basis, the team that look the best value are (drum roll….) the Detroit Lions at an absolute best price of around 22/1 with the bookmakers. Remember, the Lions, with just three games left of the regular season at the time of writing, are flat out in the NFC play-off race.

At quarterback, Matthew Stafford has assumed the role of a leader.  In his last two games against the Bears and the Bucs, Stafford has completed 75.6 per cent of his passes. He currently has 701 yards passing, a respectable five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Anyway, the Lions could well go all the way to Glendale next February 1st if things drop right. They may not, but that’s why they’re as big as 22/1 shots – so remember the rolling of the dice analogy, please. Remember, it isn’t about being right all the time, it’s about weighing the probabilities and acting accordingly. Sometimes, the bet is a wise one but the outcome goes against you. But no way should the Lions be 22/1!

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas CowboysThe other value bet is perhaps the Dallas Cowboys at around 28/1 or better. The Cowboys soundly beat the Chicago Bears by 41-28 last week in impressive style. DeMarco Murray ran in for a season high of almost 180 yards with a touchdown whilst Tony Romo, amid the debate about his rib injury suffered earlier in the season, threw three scores.

The Cowboys made the game look easy for most of the evening against a struggling Bears side which lost star receiver Brandon Marshall to an injury to his ribs. Dallas clinched their first winning season for five years guaranteed they’ll finish above .500 after three straight 8-8 finishes.

But the Cowboys are now looking for a whole lot more, with the NFC East title and a probable first playoff appearance in five years in prospect. Who knows how far the Cowboys can go – maybe all the way to Glendale, Arizona? Whatever”, as they say, but, again, they surely don’t deserve to be 28/1 shots!

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By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.