By the end of today, and certainly by the end of tomorrow most NFL teams will have opened training camp. So it’s officially football season!
The NFL is an extremely complicated game when you break it down on paper for betting purposes. Just ask the Vegas odds makers who literally live and die by a three-point margin week after week. And we’re just talking about a regular game here. Picking next season’s Super Bowl favorites and actually being right about it is a shot in the dark, no matter who’s doing the picking.
Gambling in July over who the top dogs in each conference will be in February is about as accurate as betting the “sure” thing via internet slots. Nevertheless, some teams just stand out as head and shoulders above the competition and earn billing as early Super Bowl XLV favorites.
After the Indianapolis Colts started off last season 14-0 en route to their Super Bowl 44 appearance, the sporting world had them locked up as the favorites no matter who they played against. An inspired New Orleans Saints team bested Indy, and Brees had his day in the sun while Manning was once again pelted with big game criticisms, but that still hasn’t stopped odds makers from paying attention to the Colts.
Bob Sanders will be returning, along with the core Colts’ players that helped the team make the playoffs. Reggie Wayne may be holding out, but his career revolves around Peyton Manning – and he will eventually realize it if he hasn’t already.
Remember: The Colts shone this bright in the AFC with a healthy Tom Brady in New England, a full-strength San Diego Chargers squad, a powerhouse defensive juggernaut in the New York Jets, and an impressive Baltimore Ravens team.
You don’t need to be the best online casino pro to sniff these odds out. Indianapolis are the early Super Bowl favorites and with good reason.
Realistically, the Colts will be hard pressed to duplicate last year’s results. The Jets have improved, the Chargers have ditched their dead weight, and Bill Belichick always comes back stronger when his Patriots lose.
However, the Colts, still with four-time league MVP Peyton Manning, have made a career besting teams when it matters most. They have a habit of falling short in the postseason, but no other AFC team has improved significantly enough to challenge the Colts’ supremacy. And Indy has only gotten better.
Currently, odds makers are giving the most favorable numbers to defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans. But many feel as if Drew Brees and that hybrid backfield were playing well over their heads last year.
For a team that stomped its way through the regular season with pure offense, it was actually a stellar defense that stepped up and won them the NFC Championship vs. the Minnesota Vikings and the Super Bowl vs. Indy. These types of results seem far too unlikely to be reproduced.
Not that the Saints have dropped off in talent, but the contenders have risen around New Orleans with the Saints left powerless to stop it.
The Washington Redskins, while certainly not considered Super Bowl contenders, have risen to the level of monkey wrench throwers. Any team coming out of the NFC East will be battle tested and possibly too much for any Southern delight. And if the ‘Skins can make the playoffs, they’re a legit threat to a speedy, streaky team.
Then you have the team that you could call “house money,” like the best online casino bonus filling up the coffers: the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings will be playing with a frustrated, ironically healthy Brett Favre with no lingering shame for another loss on the collective level.
Favre and company outplayed the Saints in the NFC Championship, only to lose the game on a Favre interception. The Vikings are ubertalented, young in every position that isn’t QB, and willing to go for the gusto in what would have to be (if we’re still on Earth) Brett’s last year.
It’s highly unlikely they’ll duplicate last year’s two-seed results. But then again, the Saints won’t either. So you have a wide open conference. This should allow Minnesota to creep in with a high seed and push down on the throttle en route to a Super Bowl 45 appearance against the Indianapolis Colts.Follow paulmbanks