Super Bowl 55 odds: Chiefs, Packers are favorites as 2021 NFL playoffs begin
The early Super Bowl 55 odds feature a clear favorite in the 2021 NFL playoffs field: the team that raised the Lombardi Trophy last year.
Oddsmakers have installed the Chiefs as the heavy chalk on their boards, with FanDuel Sportsbook posting odds of plus-190 (bet $100 to make $190) entering wild-card weekend. Kansas City completed its 2020 NFL regular season with a 14-2 record; its only losses were to the Raiders in Week 5 and the Chargers in Week 17. The season-ending loss did not affect KC’s seeding; it is No. 1 for the AFC playoffs.
NFL PLAYOFFS 2021: Bracket, wild-card matchups, schedule for AFC, NFC
The NFC field is tighter, with the top-seeded Packers (13-3 in the regular season) opening as plus-500 favorites (or 5-1 odds) and the No. 2 Saints (12-4) at plus-750.
People who want to try making money predicting the Super Bowl 55 winner have two more choices in 2021 than in previous years, thanks to the NFL expanding the playoff field from 12 teams (six each in the AFC and NFC) to 14 teams (seven each).
Super Bowl 55 odds
Per FanDuel Sportsbook, here are the odds of each team in the 14-team 2021 NFL playoff field winning Super Bowl 55 in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 7.
Though the field has expanded, the number of rounds in the NFL playoffs has not changed. There will still be the wild-card round, the divisional round, conference championships and the Super Bowl. The primary change to the playoff format is to the number of teams receiving a first-round bye. Just the top seeds — which, for 2021, are the Chiefs and Packers — will get the wild-card weekend off. Previously, the top two seeds in each conference automatically advanced to the divisional round.
Chiefs Super Bowl odds: +190
Kansas City looked like a prohibitive favorite early in the season as Patrick Mahomes and his mates on offense rolled through the first four weeks of the 2021 schedule. Then came a 40-32 home loss to the Raiders in Week 5. Easy wins over the Broncos and Jets followed, but the dominance stopped there.
The Chiefs reeled off seven consecutive wins to start the second half of the season, but the average winning margin was just 3.9 points. The streak ended with the Week 17 loss to the Chargers. One can assume that Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Co. will step it up now that the Chiefs are in win-or-go-home mode. But if you’re a believer in mathematical trends rather than momentum and motivation, KC’s 19-10 odds might look like poor value.
Packers Super Bowl odds: +500
Green Bay had moments of dominance and doubt in 2020 thanks to a spotty defense. First, though, the dominance: Aaron Rodgers mounted a strong challeng to Mahomes for NFL MVP, his main argument a 48:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. No. 1 wide receiver Davante Adams benefited the most from Rodgers’ prolific passing; he finished with 115 receptions, 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns.
The Pack finished No. 1 in the NFL with 509 points, but they were just 13th in scoring defense, allowing 369. Green Bay allowed 30 or more points four times in the regular season.
Kansas City had a similar profile: sixth in scoring offense (469 points), 11th in scoring defense (367 points allowed). If it matches up with Green Bay in the big game in Tampa, then look long and hard at the over/under.
The Bills and Saints check in as the co-third choices at +750. Both teams finished in the top five in scoring (spot a trend here?). Buffalo has a rising young QB in Josh Allen while the Saints have a fading old QB in Drew Brees, but both men have deep supporting casts. Allen’s running ability gives Buffalo a huge edge. . . . The Buccaneers (+1100), Ravens (+1200) and Seahawks (+1200) represent the next level in the field. Tom Brady will be competing for a seventh Super Bowl title in his first season away from the Patriots. The Bucs will try to become the first team to host a Super Bowl. Baltimore went over the 3,000-yard mark as it led the league in rushing. QB Lamar Jackson finished ninth in the NFL in rushing with 1,005 yards. Seattle will lean hard on Russell Wilson, of course. . . . Next come the Steelers (+2000), Titans (+2100) and Rams (+2400). Tennessee, like Baltimore, is run-first. Derrick Henry rumbled for 2,027 yards on the ground. The Steelers won the AFC North on the strength of their 11-0 start, not their 1-4 finish. LA might have QB Jared Goff (broken thumb) available for the playoffs. . . . The Colts (+3400) don’t get much credit for their 11 wins. Maybe it’s because they have to travel to Orchard Park. . . . The narrative of Baker Mayfield (+4800) as scrappy underdog is too easy, but the Browns are going to Pittsburgh, which, as noted, hasn’t looked a city of champions of late. . . . The Bears (+8500) sneaked in at 8-8; Washington (+13000) won a division at 7-9. Their rewards? A matchup at the Saints and a home game against Brady and Co., respectively.
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