With NFL franchise quarterbacks dropping like flies, bookmakers have found it necessary to dramatically change the betting odds of affected teams winning their respective divisions, conferences, and the Super Bowl.
Before the official season gets underway, the odds on winning conference championships and the Super Bowl tend to be relatively stable. Only division title odds might have some degree of volatility based on how teams perform in the preseason and how injuries rack up.
Rarely does the NFL see more than one franchise quarterback go down for a significant part of any given season – if that.
So far this year, however, we’ve seen Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Nick Foles suffer a collarbone break that will sideline him for at least eight weeks, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees suffer a right thumb injury that looks to keep him out for at least four games and possibly six, and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger done for the season with an elbow injury.
Each of these NFL teams was a contender in their particular division, with high hopes for the Jaguars going even further in the playoffs and the Saints a solid pick to make it to the Super Bowl.
Odds for any given team will vary depending on the sportsbook. Although Las Vegas sportsbooks tend not to have much difference from casino to casino, offshore online sportsbooks may vary significantly in regards to odds both between their peers and Las Vegas.
Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the differences in ranges for some of these affected teams before and after their quarterback injuries.
[Odds are expressed as the amount of money that a $100 bet will earn if it wins along with the original bet being returned. “+500” means a $100 bet will earn both the original bet of $100 back plus $500 more. “-190” means a $190 bet is required to win both it back and an additional $100 payout.]
Prior to the loss of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers were in the range of +175 to win the division. In other words, the odds were 1.75 – 1 that they would win the AFC North. Those odds have now jumped to about +425, or 4.25-1.
The Steelers were hardly the favorite to win the conference at +1200 (12-1) but are now about +3000 (30-1). Nor were they even in the top four to win the Super Bowl at +2500 (25-1). Now those odds have shot up to +6000 (60-1).
As it is, while the Steelers were considered a contender in the AFC North, the team had lost its two big playmakers and La’veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Losing the franchise quarterback for the season just seems to be the icing on the cake for Steelers fans.
The New Orleans Saints, on the other hand, have been dealt a terrible blow.
After being robbed of a Super Bowl appearance last year, thanks to a terrible no-call pass interference penalty against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship, the Saints were in the top group to win the Super Bowl at +1200 (12 to 1).
They are now at +2000 (20-1). All things considered, that is not a horrible increase, which reflects a degree of optimism regarding Drew Brees’ return.
Even more intriguing is that the odds for the Saints to win the NFC Conference are now only +850 (8.5-1), an increase from around +450 (4.5-1). The odds for the Saints to win their division are still very attractive at -125, and they remain the favorite.
With Nick Foles at the helm of the Jacksonville Jaguars, I had actually bet the team to win the AFC South at +222 (2.22-1). Those odds are now +1000, or 10-1. I can kiss that bet slip goodbye.
Nor is it looking like the team will win the AFC conference, given the odds are now a whopping +14000, or 140-1. Plus, they’re a 260-1 shot to win the Super Bowl.
From looking at these odds, it’s obvious that the bookmakers feel optimistic that the Saints will get their quarterback playing again before the division has any chance of slipping away from them, while the Jaguars and Steelers have been written off.
For the Saints, while Teddy Bridgewater was unsteady acting as a substitute last week, let’s remember that he’s had virtually no playing time in ages. However, he showed real talent when he was with the Minnesota Vikings, and Saints head coach Sean Payton didn’t sign him as a backup if he didn’t believe in him.
As for the favorites among possible Conference champions, the leaders in the AFC at the moment are the New England Patriots (no surprise) at +138 followed by the Kansas City Chiefs at +241. After that, no team is really close. In third place are the Baltimore Ravens at +860, with the fourth choice Los Angeles Chargers way behind at +1500.
The NFC is more interesting. The Los Angeles Rams are favored to repeat but at +425. The Dallas Cowboys (my team!) are close behind at +525. Yet the perennial contenders known as the Green Bay Packers are in the mix at +650, with the Philadelphia Eagles right behind at +675. The aforementioned Saints are thus in fifth position.
As for the Super Bowl, the Patriots are favored at +295, with the Chiefs at +450. These two are so strongly favored that the next closest are the Rams at +1000 and Cowboys at +1200.
If you’re wondering who the longshot is to win it all, just look to the Washington Redskins, stumbling along at +120000, or 1200-1. Well, that is, unless you include the hapless Dolphins, who are so bad that some bookmakers aren’t even offering odds.
That’s alright, though. You can always bet that the Redskins won’t win the Super Bowl. You’ll only have to put up $450,000 to win $100. You may as well donate your money to a team’s salary cap. Or throw it away on bitcoin.
This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.