Last night’s New England Patriots victory at Buffalo gave the Pats their current position in the AFC and an advantage in the AFC East battle. The Arizona Cardinals hold the top seed in the NFC with the Green Bay Packers hot on their heels and they returned this bye week. We have five weeks left in the regular season and a lot to play for. Can anyone catch the eternal Tom Brady as MVP? Here’s your weekly check of the Super Bowl odds and notable prize races.
Super Bowl Odds
After Monday’s bizarre and windy win at Buffalo, the Patriots now own the AFC seed. But how good are they? Bill Belichick didn’t seem to trust his rookie quarterback very much, allowing only three pass attempts. Defense is clearly the calling card, but I wonder what will happen when the playoffs come and New England has to face strong offenses that are not limited by winds approaching 40 miles per hour. New England (+800) is the fourth seed at the moment and only Kansas City (+650) has lower odds in the AFC.
The Packers (+750) have a tough schedule remaining with games against the Ravens, Browns and Vikings. About two weeks ago, their odds were in the double digits, but now they feel properly valued. Green Bay has a shot at being the first seed, given their heads-up against Arizona, but the NFC is so heavy that all contenders should have better odds than you think.
What if the Rams (13-1) put him together? They visit Arizona this week for Monday Night Football and they are certainly capable of winning the Super Bowl. Remember, this is a team that practically dominated Tampa Bay in September. But it’s also a team that recently hit a three-game hitting streak and looked shaky.
I still maintain that the Colts are a contender and ready for a cold-weather playoff race. They are still 20-1 to win the AFC. Indy hosts New England after his bye week and then travels to Arizona for Christmas. We will learn a lot in his next two games.
Super Bowl Futures
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +525
Kansas City Chiefs +650
Green Bay Packers +750
New England Patriots +800
Arizona Cardinals +800
Buffalo banknotes +1000
Dallas Cowboys +1200
Los Angeles Rams +1 300
Baltimore Ravens +1500
Tennessee Titans +2200
We have approached a juncture in the MVP career where it is time to start wondering what it would take for the favorite not to win the award. Tom Brady is a favorite at +140 bets and the other quarterbacks have legitimate paths to victory so this is not a mere formality.
The biggest hurdle Brady must overcome is this Sunday, when the Bucs host Josh Allen (+1000) and the Bills. If Tampa Bay maintains service at home, it will play its last four games against teams that currently have losing records. Allen had a golden opportunity Monday night, but Buffalo came up short in a game dominated by the wind.
Aaron Rodgers (+550) is the second seed and feels like Brady’s biggest competition. Yet even if Green Bay does win the NFC top seed, do you anticipate that voters will give it the go-ahead in the wake of its COVID-19 fiasco and the offseason circus it created? No.
Patrick Mahomes (+900) is on the prowl and while the Chiefs have won five in a row, he has posted pedestrian numbers outside of his Sunday Night Football performance against the Raiders. In fact, he’s had back-to-back games without a touchdown pass. That said, Kansas City has a chance to finish with the best record in the AFC and could exploit the last five games.
Dak Prescott (14-1) is interesting. Dallas probably won’t finish any of the top seeds in the NFC, but there’s a possibility, especially if they win at Arizona in Week 17. He missed a game this year and has also struggled when the Cowboys played without key wide receivers as well. that if the last month ends with impressive figures, there is a way to the prize.
Tom Brady +140
Josh Allen +1000
Aaron Rodgers +550
Dak Prescott +1 400
Patrick Mahomes +900
Matthew Stafford +1600
Justin Herbert +1600
Kyler Murray +900
Lamar Jackson +1 600
Jonathan Taylor +1 600
Other prizes to see
I don’t understand the Offensive Rookie of the Year odds. Mac Jones is a -500 favorite after throwing just three passes. This is not a QB award like the MVP. Bill Belichick is getting all the credit for New England’s success, and the rookie hasn’t done much to deserve a lot of praise. Ja’Marr Chase (+350) ranks in the top five in yards and received touchdowns. That’s not among the newbies; that’s across the league. Yes, he had a costly bobble Sunday that turned into an interception, but he’s considered one of the biggest threats in the NFL. Jones has a bright future, but I maintain that statistics are more important than the quarterback wins. Chase deserves a play.
I featured this bet last week at -150, but I still think it’s worth a play at -275 for Jonathan Taylor to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns. He is 16, while James Connor and Joe Mixon are each 12. Taylor and the offensive line are the focal point of the team, and he will continue to get the carries. Meanwhile, Kyler Murray has just returned from injury and that will inhibit Connor’s production. Mixon has seven rushing touchdowns in his last four games, but that’s an outlier production. He also suffered a neck injury in Sunday’s home loss.