The start of the season has arrived and there’s just time to look at the big NFL futures markets before the action begins. Here we preview the AFC Championship, NFC Championship and Super Bowl 2020 and recommend a 66-1 parlay.Embed from Getty Images
Fading the Patriots
We have to start with the New England Patriots. They won three of the last five Super Bowls and are favored to win again but I’m not buying it this year.
Last season everyone was certain Tom Brady was past it. Then he won the Super Bowl and suddenly everyone was convinced he was going to win again this year. As always, bettors need to ignore the noise.
In reality Patriots performances did drop off slightly last year (regular season wins and points scored were their lowest since 2009) but they still won a Super Bowl.
I see that as an indication of a potential dip and personnel changes this season are likely to exacerbate that.
Brady, 42, will have to play without two key first team players that he relied on last season. Rob Gronkowski (retired) had irreplaceable skills as yard gainer and run blocker. David Andrews, meanwhile, has started at centre in New England for the past four years but is expected to miss the year after being hospitalized with blood clots in his lungs last week.
Replacements have been sought but the team simply must be worse without them. They are the guys Brady depended on; the guys who gave him the ball and caught it from him.
It’s hard to see where the positive impetus is coming to get them to improve from last year and win Super Bowl 2020.
AFC rising stars
The Kansas City Chiefs lost the AFC Championship game in overtime against the Patriots last season. But, unlike the Patriots, they are on the up.
Their offense broke records in 2018 but the defense was really poor. The offense is young and dynamic and should be just as strong this season. Major staffing and personnel changes took place on the defense in the off season and any improvement on that side of the ball should make the Chiefs hard to beat.
Last season Patrick Mahomes became the youngest league MVP since the 50s, as we covered in the MVP Futures preview. He’s a game changer and he has the fastest receiving weapons around. It’s an exciting time for the Chiefs and head coach Andy Reid could be booked for a (long overdue) first Super Bowl title.
NFC regression candidates
The New Orleans Saints and L.A. Rams are favorites to win the NFC. That may be because they won a lot of games and contested the NFC Championship game last year.
But those facts are slightly deceptive. Both teams got a lot of wins because they won more than their fair share of one-score games: Rams 6-1, Saints 5-1. That stat often reverts to the mean the following season.
Also playing in the Championship game is no guarantee of success. In fact, in the last four seasons eight different teams have contested the NFC game. No team returned.
Seahawks to Super Bowl?
Looking at the team with the best chance of success, I’m drawn to the Seattle Seahawks.
First off they looked really good last year. Stats offer a good framework for betting on sports but finding the Super Bowl winner is not simply a math problem. The Seahawks look strong on tape on both sides of the ball.
They finished with a 10-6 record and their biggest defeat was by just eight points. Then they lost the wildcard game in Dallas by just two points. Essentially they were never outclassed or outplayed.
Head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson won the Super Bowl in the 2013/14 season. However, last year was the team’s first season with new offensive and defensive coordinators. That leaves a bit of scope for improvement for this year as the players are familiar with the systems.
With the Rams expected to regress the Seahawks can earn top spot in the NFC West and gain home advantage for the playoffs.
The Chiefs might be the best team in the league. They are going to be fun to watch and at +800 for the Super Bowl you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.
However, the recommendation is to play it safe and bet them to win the AFC at +350. If they win that you can roll the winnings onto the Super Bowl if you still fancy them.
The same strategy applies to the NFC. Seattle are a great price of +1400 to win the conference. If they win and you fancy them in the Super Bowl, roll it over.
It’s also worth parlaying Seattle and Kansas City to win their respective conferences, which (if you get odds of +1400 and +350) pays out at +6650.
If the Super Bowl ends up being between the Chiefs and Seahawks you can collect the winnings in good time for the Super Bowl.
Chiefs to win AFC +350
Seahawks to win NFC +1400
Parlay Chiefs/Seahawks to win AFC/NFC +6650
Odds shown are for guidance purposes. They are the the general odds from a range of sources at the time of writing. Odds will vary between sportsbooks and over time. PFBPro offers no guarantee these odds will be available at your sportsbook.