Richard Gardner is the head oddsmaker for Bodog.com.NFL teams are reporting daily to training camps around the country, so it’s a perfect time to look at some early betting trends on our NFL futures.
If you remember back to last season’s playoffs and the corresponding Book Reports, the New York Jets were a chic pick for bettors once Coach Rex Ryan’s team snuck into the playoffs and then beat Cincinnati in the playoff opener. The Jets took plenty of action to win the Super Bowl as bettors looked to cash in with long odds. Of course New York lost in the AFC title game to the Indianapolis Colts, but there has been a major carryover effect. The Jets currently have taken the most handle of any team to win Super Bowl XLV.
New York, which got rid of running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington and guard Alan Faneca but added LaDainian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes, Jason Taylor and Antonio Cromartie, is currently 10/1 to win the Super Bowl and it is getting slightly more than 10 percent of the total Super Bowl futures handle at Bodog – the only team above 10 percent.
And clearly bettors believe that Brett Favre will return to the Minnesota Vikings this season as the Vikings (12/1) have received the second-biggest futures handle at 9.45 percent. I’m guessing that number plummets if by some miracle Favre retires and Tarvaris Jackson is under center for that rematch of the NFC Championship Game in New Orleans to kick off the 2010 season.
The champion Saints are co-second favorites at 10/1 with Dallas, San Diego and the Jets to win Super Bowl XLV, but the Cowboys – who could become the first host team to play in its own Super Bowl – are getting nearly nine percent of the handle while New Orleans is barely above six percent.
Bettors probably know that of the past 11 Super Bowl winners, five failed to qualify for the playoffs the following year and three lost their first playoff game. The last champ to win a playoff game the following season was New England beating Jacksonville in January 2006.
Indianapolis is the current favorite at Bodog to win the Super Bowl at 9/1 and the Colts are seeing 7.8 percent of the total handle. Of course one of the jinxes in the NFL is that the Super Bowl loser tends to go belly up the following season.
The Arizona Cardinals debunked that myth a bit last year when they returned to the playoffs following a loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, but seven of the previous eight runner-ups failed to reach the postseason. But no team has been more consistent than Peyton Manning’s Colts, who have strung together an NFL-record seven consecutive seasons of 12 or more victories.
And speaking of win totals, bettors are crushing the over on the Colts season win total (11) with better than 94 percent of the action on the prop. There are only two over/under handles that are more lopsided than Indy’s: the Oakland Raiders over six wins at 94 percent and the New York Giants over 8.5 wins at 97 percent.
The teams with the biggest under handle are the Jacksonville Jaguars under seven wins (70 percent), the Tennessee Titans under 8.5 (70 percent, the Carolina Panthers under 7.5 (76 percent), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under 5.5 (77 percent), the St. Louis Rams under five (78 percent) and the “under champion” Seattle Seahawks at 7.5 wins (85 percent).
And finally, looking at the divisional odds, the Cowboys at 11/10 to win the NFC East are taking the biggest handle (71 percent of NFC East bets) of any team in any division, followed by the Baltimore Ravens at 10/11 to win the AFC North (70 percent).