There are four teams that clearly stand out as the favorites to make the next Super Bowl. You’ll notice something very obvious about these teams, but on many occasions, the best and most sensible long-term bet is the obvious one. Other, less certain long-term bets come across as distinct risks.
1. San Francisco 49ers
Odds To Win Super Bowl IL: +600
In a survey of all 32 NFL teams, this is probably the pick that makes the most sense as the champion of Super Bowl IL. The 49ers made the Super Bowl a year ago, with the Seattle Seahawks not quite being ready to snatch the NFC West from them. This year, Seattle was just a little bit better than San Francisco was, and the Seahawks needed home-field advantage in the playoffs to beat coach Jim Harbaugh’s team in a razor-close NFC Championship Game. Seeing the Seahawks – their most bitter rivals – win the Super Bowl, the Niners and Harbaugh will be deeply and powerfully motivated to win the Lombardi Trophy, something they haven’t yet done over the past three years despite making the NFC title game in all three of them. Harbaugh is the first NFL coach to make the conference championship in his first three seasons, but he lacks a world title. Bet on the Niners getting the hardware next season.
2. New England Patriots
Odds To Win Super Bowl IL: +1000
This is the team most likely to face the 49ers in the 49th Super Bowl. The Patriots made the conference championship game last season despite lacking much of any talent in both their wide receiver corps and their secondary. Only one player, Aqib Talib, held together their secondary, and when he was injured in the AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos, New England’s defense slipped to a noticeable extent. When the Patriots lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to injury late in the season, they lost their most reliable pass catcher, because their other receivers – save for Julian Edelman – really weren’t up to the task. Yet, New England still made the league’s final four. The Patriots just need to be a little more fortunate on the injury front, and they should be able to take that next step, getting back to the Super Bowl. They’re offering some good value on the football betting lines.
3. Denver Broncos
Odds To Win Super Bowl IL: +1000
The Broncos got crushed by Seattle in the Super Bowl, but that loss could very easily help the Broncos in the 2014 season. It’s true that every Denver fan would have wanted to win the Super Bowl this past week, but as far as the 2014 season is concerned, the loss to the Seahawks probably improves Denver’s odds as opposed to reducing them. Of the two Super Bowl teams, Denver’s odds of making the big game are probably a bit better than Seattle’s for this reason. The other big reason is that Seattle has to deal with San Francisco. New England is a more manageable opponent for Denver.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Odds To Win Super Bowl IL: +500
The Seahawks probably will get back to the NFC Championship Game. Their defense is going to be so tough to handle, which means that even if Seattle must play a divisional playoff game on the road against New Orleans or Carolina or Green Bay, it can definitely get the job done. The hard part will be to reclaim home-field advantage in the playoffs this season by winning the NFC West. If San Francisco wins the division, Seattle will have to go through the wild card round and then meet the 49ers in San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game. Seattle wouldn’t be favored in that game… but it would probably put up a good fight. At any rate, if San Francisco stumbles, the Seahawks would naturally be the second choice on the betting lines in the NFC next season.