Setting the odds before the start of an NFL season is obviously not an easy task. While we all love making predictions about players and teams on how their seasons will pan out, working out odds must be difficult before a play has even made in the regular season. In saying that, early odds can be a boon for the savvy bettor, if they can work out where the sportsbook has gone wrong.
One such market where bookmakers may have gone ‘wrong’ is with the New England Patriots. It is understandable that they have been made favorites for Super Bowl LIII, given the record of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick partnership over the last couple of decades. But, do they merit being way out on their own in the odds? The current markets have them at around 4/1, stretching to 5/1 with some major sportsbooks. To be frank, those seem like midseason odds for a team storming towards the postseason – and not at all tempting for a preseason bet.
Look, it’s clear the Patriots will reach the postseason again and will likely stroll through the AFC East, but do they deserve to be half the odds of Super Bowl LII champions Philadelphia Eagles? Doug Pederson’s men should be in even better shape for this season than last with the return of Carson Wentz, so it’s arguable that their betting numbers should be a little bit closer to the Patriots.
When it comes to the Green Bay Packers, they have been packed in a tight group with the Eagles, Steelers and Vikings, behind the Patriots. The odds vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, but you are looking at a range of 9/1 to 12/1 for any one of those four teams. Those odds are just about right on the quartet, although the Packers will obviously have to make a big improvement over last season.
Looking at some of the areas where the bookmakers seem to have been a little too generous with the odds, you might say that the Jaguars and the Rams fit the bill. The former can be found at odds of 25/1 with some outlets, whereas the Rams are 20/1 with several sportsbooks. On a side note, odds of 12/1 for the Rams to win the NFC might be one of the standout preseason bets. They are currently fourth-favorite in that market behind the Eagles (5/1), Packers (11/2) and the Vikings (7/1), but will be bolstered by the likes of former Bronco Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters to an already solid roster.
Just like last season, the Jaguars could quietly go about their business and go deep into the postseason. They were portrayed as a mere bystander in the rush to anoint the Patriots as the kings of the AFC last season, but they were very close in the AFC Championship game. Odds of 25/1 are very generous for a team that could be very dangerous should they make it out of a tough-looking AFC South.
Like Green Bay, NE is going to have a tough go resembling who they were with new coaches