49ers Become Super Bowl Favorites at DraftKings, Cowboys Lag Despite Advanced Metrics

49ers Become Super Bowl Favorites at DraftKings, Cowboys Lag Despite Advanced Metrics article feature image

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The 49ers have overtaken the Chiefs and Eagles as Super Bowl favorites at DraftKings after impressive performances through the first two weeks of the NFL season.

While the Eagles and Chiefs have sputtered on offense in particular, the 49ers look dangerous on both sides of the ball. San Francisco's offense ranks No. 3 and the defense ranks No. 4 in the NFL in Expected Points Added per play.

Meanwhile, Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy ranks as the No. 7 quarterback right now by that same metric — it helps to have amazing, highly-paid skill position players and a QB on a rookie contract.

The Chiefs rank as Super Bowl favorites or co-favorites with the 49ers at every other major American sportsbook besides DraftKings. But their play hasn't exactly inspired much confidence.

While the defense has competed admirably — with defensive end Chris Jones due to buoy that unit even further — the offense has looked as mid as it gets, according to every important advanced metric.

The Chiefs rank No. 16 in offensive EPA/play and Patrick Mahomes ranks as the No. 15 quarterback by that same metric.

You can say the same thing about the Eagles: mid. Philadelphia ranks No. 17 in offensive EPA/play and No. 14 in defensive EPA/play, with quarterback Jalen Hurts ranked as the 16th-best QB by those same metrics.

The Eagles have fallen to second-best favorites to win the NFC on account of their foibles.

Still, it's a long season, and there's been a very limited sample size. It's clear that the market expects positive regressions out of two amazing offenses on paper.

Cowboys Odds Straggle Despite Love From the Advanced Metrics

DVOA ranks the 49ers as the second-most likely team to win the Super Bowl.

That mark is only behind the Cowboys, whose odds have jumped to over 23% to win it all, according to the metric.

The Cowboys are also the best overall team in the NFL, according to Expected Points Added per play. The Cowboys and Browns are light years ahead of the rest of the league in defense, ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, with a mountain drop off between them and the rest of the pack.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys rank No. 7 in EPA per play on offense, including the third-best passing attack.

And while these numbers have occurred against both New York teams, the Jets' defense is still elite.

After putting up 30 points on that defense, Dak Prescott is the second-best quarterback in the NFL so far according to Expected Points Added + Completion Percentage Over Expected, a ranking metric for all QBs and a typical predictor for the NFL MVP market. He trails Tua Tagovailoa, who became the NFL MVP favorite on Monday on account of his play through two weeks.

Despite these advanced metrics, the Cowboys are still firm underdogs to win the NFC at a market-best price of +400 at BetRivers, which may present some value.

Undoubtedly, the 49ers look electric. But their run defense ranks seventh-worst over a limited sample size thus far. And there are still lingering questions about Purdy's long-term viability — especially coming off Tommy John surgery.

And the Eagles, as aforementioned, looked league average against two below average teams.

Yet, even with these factors in mind, the markets expects Dallas to regress.

The Cowboys have another layup next week against the Cardinals, then a home game against the Patriots the following week. If those aren't victories, Dallas may not be worthy of this conversation to begin with.

Then, an away tilt at San Francisco in Week 5 will help determine the eventual NFC crown. Expect the winner of that game to undoubtedly become the favorites to win their conference — and, perhaps, the Super Bowl.

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