It’s one thing to try to handicap out which team is going to win the Super Bowl every year. Though it might seem even easier to just pick which one of the eight divisions will win, figuring out the Super Bowl odds is only marginally simpler when push comes to shove.
NFC West +350
Top Dog: Seattle Seahawks +756
Sleeper Pick: San Francisco 49ers +15000
We just don’t trust the Rams whatsoever, and it’s hard to call the Cardinals a “sleeper” team any longer after they won the NFC West last season. By default, that more or less leaves the Niners.
You might scoff at the idea that this team can win Super Bowl 51, but love him or hate him, Chip Kelly can coach, and Colin Kaepernick is only a few years removed from leading his team to the biggest game of the year.
Of course, the Seahawks are the top dogs, and with Russell Wilson officially in the prime of his career, they aren’t to be forgotten. This division figures to have two playoff teams this year, and that’s why it’s the favorite to win the Super Bowl.
AFC North +455
Top Dog: Pittsburgh Steelers +921
Sleeper Pick: Baltimore Ravens +3171
Aren’t the Steelers and the Ravens good like, every year? That wasn’t the case last year when the Ravens were injury-riddled all season, but they’ll be back and should be much better for the 2016 NFL season, assuming that someone picks up the slack in the running game.
The Steelers don’t have Martavis Bryant all season long, but Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger will surely do enough to make this one of the scariest offenses in the NFL. Throw in Cincinnati as the defending division champ, even with its lousy playoff history, and it’s easy to see good NFL betting value here in the AFC North.
AFC East +485
Top Dog: New England Patriots +766
Sleeper Pick: Miami Dolphins +7000
Let’s be real. If your NFL futures bets are on the AFC East to win the Super Bowl, you’re betting on the Pats and might as well just bet on them straight up. Ryan Fitzpatrick has never been to the postseason, the Bills haven’t won a playoff game in decades, and the Dolphins can’t seem to get out of their own way in spite of their very talented roster.
NFC North +450
Top Dog: Green Bay Packers +946
Sleeper Pick: Minnesota Vikings +1758
It’s not Teddy Bridgewater’s fault that the Vikes didn’t beat the Seahawks last year. Blame Blair Walsh. Teddy Two Gloves is only going to improve, and now that the Vikes are back inside and away from the icebox known as TCF Bank Stadium, they should be better equipped to make a run at the Super Bowl.
The Packers, meanwhile, are still the Packers, and they’re going to contend for as long as Aaron Rodgers is standing upright. With Jordy Nelson back, this offense could be scary in 2016.
NFC South +750
Top Dog: Carolina Panthers +1011
Sleeper Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +8000
The Panthers made the Super Bowl last year, but they have a long and hard road to get back there now that they’re playing a first place schedule and won’t be sneaking up on anyone.
In fact, we almost prefer the price on the Bucs than the Panthers, as Jameis Winston’s potential is through the roof.
AFC West +650
Top Dog: Denver Broncos +1854
Sleeper Pick: Oakland Raiders +2758
What makes the AFC West interesting is the fact that you could make a case for all four teams getting into the playoffs this year.
However, do you really want to bet on Mark Sanchez/Paxton Lynch/Trevor Siemian, Alex Smith, Derek Carr or Philip Rivers to ultimately win three (or four) playoff games? There’s got to be better value somewhere in the NFL picks.
NFC East +875
Top Dog: Dallas Cowboys +2517
Sleeper Pick: Washington Redskins +5300
The Redskins won this division last year, yet they’re 53 to 1 in the Super Bowl odds this year with more or less the same team plus the addition of maybe the best corner in football, Josh Norman.
Dallas is, of course, a team waiting to have Tony Romo break his collarbone once again, and you never know if this is the year the Giants are going to go 9-7, barely sneak into the playoffs, then go on an epic run to win another Super Bowl out of nowhere. Still, it’s really hard to see any of these four teams winning a championship in 2016.
AFC South +1000
Top Dog: Indianapolis Colts +2306
Sleeper Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars +5000
It’s really tough to like anything about the AFC South. The Colts are Andrew Luck and a bunch of stiffs. The Texans are J.J. Watt and a bunch of question marks. The Jaguars are hoping Blake Bortles can rack up stats in non-garbage time at some point.
And the Titans actually think Mike Mularkey can win them a Super Bowl. And let’s not forget that this division didn’t score a single point in the playoffs last year, and the only time the Texans got anywhere near close to the goal line, Watt and Vince Wilfork came in to run the offense and bad things happened. This division is as much of a joke as this 10 to 1 price to win the Super Bowl suggests.
What’s ahead for the first week of the 2016 NFL season? Check out NFL Betting Picks: Week 1.