Why Vikings, Jags Offer Super Bowl Value
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
And then there were four. The conference championship matchups are set: Brady vs. Bortles, Keenum vs. Foles. Which quarterback is the most likely to hoist the Lombardi Trophy?
We simulated the postseason 10,000 times using player and team statistics adjusted for strength of schedule to determine the most likely Super Bowl winner.
The Patriots are 9.5-point favorites at home against the most improbable final four team since 2001. The Pinnacle moneyline is New England -400, an 80.0% implied chance of winning. According to our simulations, the Pats have a 64.4% chance of beating the Jaguars. Why do we like Jacksonville more than the oddsmakers?
As NFL analyst Stuckey notes in the Championship Sunday breakdown, the Jaguars have the NFL’s No. 2 pass rush per Football Outsiders, a pair of lock-down corners and linebackers athletic enough to hang with Rob Gronkowski. Of course, it’s Brady and Belichick at home against Blake Bortles. We aren’t calling for the upset but the game should be closer than the betting markets indicate.
In the NFC title game, Nick Foles and the Eagles can’t get any respect. Philadelphia is once again a home underdog despite beating Atlanta last week and Minnesota needing a last-second touchdown to shock New Orleans. Foles played well in the Divisional Round win (23 of 30 for 246 yards and no turnovers) against the Falcons but will have a tougher time against the Vikings defense (No. 1 in DVOA). In four starts this season, the Eagles are averaging 17.0 ppg with Foles at quarterback, Minnesota was 11th in the NFL in scoring (23.9 ppg). Philly has home-field advantage but the simulations like the more well-balanced Vikings on the road.
The most likely Super Bowl according to the numbers is Patriots-Vikings, there is a 42.8% chance we see this exact championship matchup. Minnesota would be the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. How would home-field advantage impact the game? We really don’t know. The NFL says it has a contingency plan in place to neutralize the Vikings’ advantage and typically the Super Bowl is a corporate event where many in attendance don’t have a vested interest in the game. Nonetheless, playing in Minneapolis would provide an edge. To account for this, we gave Minnesota half the benefit of normal home-field. Typically, playing in front of the home crowd is worth three points, in this simulation it would be worth approximately 1.5 points. The Super Bowl lookahead lines from BetDSI list Minnesota as a 1-point favorite over New England.
With a greater chance of advancing to the Super Bowl and playing for the championship in Minnesota, the Vikings have a 38.1% chance of lifting the Lombardi Trophy followed by the Patriots (35.1%), Jaguars (16.8%) and Eagles (10.0%).
At BetOnline, the Super Bowl futures are as follows: Patriots +110, Vikings +175, Eagles +700 and Jaguars +900. At +110 odds, the implied probability of New England winning is 52.4% (which is 100/(100+110)) meaning there is no value betting Brady & Co. However, Minnesota and Jacksonville are offering bettors some value.
Here is how each team’s Super Bowl odds have changed over the course of the season.