As the NFL preseason rolls onward, the football world turns its collective attention to the real deal – when 16 games and a grueling postseason will send two teams to Super Bowl 52.
One of those teams will represent the NFC as conference champions, and based on the latest odds posted by online sportsbook Bovada, it really is anybody’s race to win.
As of today, the last four teams left standing in last season’s NFC championship bracket – the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, and Dallas Cowboys – are all favorites to repeat their respective runs.
The Packers lead the way at (+400), but they’re trailed closely by the Seahawks (+500), Falcons (+600), and Cowboys (+650).
Last time around, Green Bay couldn’t keep up with the high-octane Atlanta offense, falling 44-21 in a conference championship blowout. But in the wake of Atlanta’s shocking Super Bowl collapse – in which the Falcons infamously blew a 28-3 third-quarter lead to the New England Patriots – Bovada gives the Pack a slight edge given the “hangover” expectations.
To make that matchup happen, the Packers and Falcons defeated the Cowboys and Seahawks, respectively – but both teams are in the mix to make another playoff run.
Interestingly enough, the Cowboys didn’t see their odds drop off after breakout running back sensation Ezekiel Elliott was recently handed a six-game suspension for off-field conduct.
The number for “America’s Team” stood at (+600) when opening lines were released in late July, and it’s barely budged on the suspension news. This is possibly due to Elliott’s pending appeal, but with the young star still expected to sit for at least four games, Dallas may see its odds fall a bit further before Week 1.
In Seattle, training camp reports of discord between defensive superstar Richard Sherman, quarterback Russell Wilson, and head coach Pete Carroll haven’t impacted their chances in the books’ view. In fact, they’ve improved slightly from July’s (+600) mark through today.
The only other team offering better than 10 to 1 odds is the New York Giants at (+900).
The boys from Big Blue made the playoffs last year, only to suffer through a bad 38-13 blowout at Lambeau Field – and subsequent questions about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s “boat party” snafu. Beckham Jr. has been putting on a show during training camp, and with two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning calling plays, he should have plenty of passes with which to redeem himself.
After that, the NFC is quite muddled at the moment, with no less than six teams bunched together between (+1400) and (+2000).
The Arizona Cardinals (+1400) and Carolina Panthers (+1400) are veteran-laden teams with their championship window on the verge of closing.
The Minnesota Vikings (+1600) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1600) are essentially mirror images of one another, after the Vikes were praised as last season’s upstart squad. Unfortunately for Minnesota, a season-ending injury to young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ended those hopes in a hurry, but he’ll be back this season looking to rebound.
This season’s “it team” is Tampa Bay, as head coach Dirk Koetter and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston look to take the leap in their third year together.
The New Orleans Saints (+2000) and Philadelphia Eagles (+2000) are each coming off disappointing 7-9 campaigns, but both have talented enough rosters to give them a puncher’s chance in the playoffs.
Check the table below for every NFC team’s current odds of representing the conference in Super Bowl 52:
|Team||NFC Title Odds on 8/15|
|Green Bay Packers||+400|
|New York Giants||+900|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+1600|
|New Orleans Saints||+2000|
|Los Angeles Rams||+7500|
|San Francisco 49ers||+10000|