The recently updated 2019 Super Bowl futures essentially took the prices heading in to last week, and shaved somewhere between 25 and 40 percent off the top. The math checks out, but what’s perhaps the most interesting element is just how tight these numbers are. There aren’t any true longshots. There are no, crazy, underdog stories. Even the betting lines themselves are hovering around the natural home line, with the Saints posting as -3.5 favorites at home against the Rams, while the Chiefs are currently a flat -3.0 favorite against the New England Patriots. Even crazier? Both games have gigantic totals of 57.0 points as of this writing.
Oddsmakers will always stack odds in a specific way when it comes to a final four in a championship market, and this is no exception. The Saints were the pre-playoff Super Bowl favorite, and that hasn’t changed, but it influences how the oddsmakers set the price for their opponents. That’s the only real reason the LA Rams are priced the way they are at +375 after being sold at +450 just last week.
Updated 2019 Super Bowl Futures
New Orleans Saints +170
Kansas City Chiefs +275
New England Patriots +350
Los Angeles Rams +375
What’s probably the most eye catching of all is that the Saints went from +225 to +170, despite nearly losing to Nick Foles and the Eagles in a game that they barely commanded. Their performance hasn’t set off any alarm bells that I can see. That’s likely due to the fact that credit was given to Philadelphia, who played the Saints about as well as anyone has this entire season. Brees still completed 28-of-38 for 301 yards, 2 touchdowns and an early pick. Their bullish running game was smothered early on, but still went for 137 yards on 31 carries. And when you have a player like Michael Thomas – who caught 12 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown – it’s hard to ignore just how good the Saint are. There wasn’t enough room for the oddsmakers to really squeeze the lemon any further. If their +170 represents anything, it’s that they’re still the favorite.
Something to remind yourself of here is that no matter what you saw on Sunday, the Saints are still the best, overall team in the playoffs. And they have the one element that no other team in the divisional or conference championship round has had – a reliable defense. After allowing two touchdowns in the first quarter, the Saints slammed the clamps on Philly and shut them out the rest of the way, eventually coming up with the game sealing interception as well. Yes, there’s a chance that they were going to lose that game. But they didn’t.
Chasing value is part of the attraction of any futures market, and the fun thing about the remaining teams in the playoffs is that there’s no such thing as a bad bet. Most of the time there’s just a prohibitive longshot in one of the conference championships with +750 odds and a handicapper would say, “they’re probably not a great take, but THE VALUE!” and so on. No such luck this year. They’re all good teams. They’re all good bets.
The Patriots are down from +600 to +350 and the Chiefs went from +400 to +275. There’s no telling who is going to make it out alive of Arrowhead, where the longterm forcast is projecting frozen-tundra-level weather. The Patriots are a cold weather team. Patrick Mahomes has never, really played in cold weather. So there’s that.
Considering that the Los Angeles Rams have the longest odds at +375, they have to be a consideration if you’re throwing around some spare change (or significant bankroll) in the lead-up to the conference championships. The Rams have been the “team to beat” for much of the season, and last weekend they stomped the Dallas Cowboys to remind us all of how good they are. It simply depends on your strategy for playing a futures market.
We’ll have full game write ups for both the AFC and NFC Championship games later on in the week.