It's great to be the favorite. It means you have earned the respect of your peers (and the oddsmakers) and your team's talent is such that you are expected to win. It's a badge of honor therefore for the New England Patriots to be listed as favorites to win Super Bowl XLVI six months from today.
But in the past five seasons, it seems MVP trophies count for more than Super Bowl trophies when the oddsmakers set the preseason NFL future odds. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have shared the past four awards. In each preseason, either the Colts or the Patriots were preseason favorites. (In one year, they were actually co-faves at 7/1).
But last time we checked, the past four Super Bowls have been won by teams not named the Colts or Patriots (Packers, Saints, Steelers, Giants). You have to go back five years, when the Colts opened as 5/1 Super Bowl favorites, that the chalk actually followed through and won the Lombardi Trophy.
Does that mean you should automatically avoid the Patriots, who have pushed into top spot on the futures at Bodog in the past few weeks? They are 13/2, just slightly ahead of the defending-champion Packers and the reloaded Philadelphia Eagles at 7/1.
"When you look at the numbers, the eventual Super Bowl winner was a 10/1 longshot in two seasons and 20/1 or longer odds in the other two," says Mike Pickett, football analyst at OddsShark.com, SBNation's official odds provider.
Indeed, the Saints were 22/1 longshots on the eve of their winning season and they reeled off a 13-0 start. Pittsburgh was 20/1 before they marched to a Super Bowl win over Arizona. [ Full NFL odds ] "It means there is value in making a few preseason bowl bets, just not necessarily in betting the chalk," said Pickett.
Past five seasons with the odds of the eventual winner and the preseason Super Bowl favorite:
September 2010 - Packers were 10/1 - Colts led at 8/1
September 2009 - Saints were 21/1 - Colts/Pats were 7/1
September 2008 - Steelers were 20/1 - Patriots led 3/1
September 2007 - Giants were 10/1 - Patriots led 3-1
*September 2006 - Colts were 5/1 - Colts led 5/1