Everywhere you turn, you hear about how the NFC is stacked for 2013. And it’s true. As we pointed out in our most recent look at the Superbowl lines, the balance of power in the NFL has shifted away from those AFC upstarts and back toward the old guard. But you won’t find any imbalance between the AFC and NFC in the early Super Bowl betting odds. The Big Game is a pick ‘em as we go to press.
Should we be falling over ourselves to pound the Superbowl point spread and take the NFC? Perhaps. The co-favorites on the Superbowl odds list are the AFC’s Denver Broncos and the NFC’s San Francisco 49ers, each priced at 6/1, so it’s understandable that Super Bowl XLVIII would be priced as a pick ‘em right out of the gate. However, the NFC has a deeper and more competitive talent pool this year than the AFC. Competition breeds champions.
Survive If I Let You
Just getting out of the NFC West will be difficult enough for the 49ers. The Seattle Seahawks are looming in San Francisco’s rear-view mirror; they’re the No. 3 favorites to win the Super Bowl at 17/2, and if you look at the race for the division crown, there isn’t much separating these burgeoning West Coast rivals.
San Francisco 49ers -110
Seattle Seahawks +120
St. Louis Rams +650
Arizona Cardinals +2000
You could slide a sheet of paper between the Niners and the ‘Hawks. On top of that, it’s easy to argue that the Seahawks (11-5 SU and ATS in 2012) are undervalued at these odds. They were the most efficient team in the NFL last year according to the advanced stats, despite the fact that rookie QB Russell Wilson (100.0 QB rating, 5.2 yards per carry) was still figuring things out during the first half of the season.
Then again, the Niners (11-4-1 SU, 9-7 ATS in 2012) didn’t start QB Colin Kaepernick (98.3 QB rating, 6.6 yards per carry) until Week 7. Either way, San Francisco and Seattle fought down to the wire for the NFC West title, and they’re likely to do so again in 2013. Whichever team doesn’t win will probably get a Wild Card berth – probably, but as everyone says, the NFC is a stacked conference.
Run with it
Maybe the Broncos (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) wouldn’t be on top of the Superbowl online betting world if they had some stiffer competition. There are no obvious challengers in the AFC West, where Denver is favored at -300 to win the division, and the next favorites on the Super Bowl futures market are the New England Patriots (12-4 SU, 9-7 ATS) at 10/1. It remains to be seen whether the Patriots can play their usual brand of elite football with all the drama and roster turnover they’ve absorbed since last year.
The advantage for the NFC may be small on paper, but if you want to bet on the Super Bowl early, every advantage is welcome. Take them where you can get them.