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NFL Odds: Cases for 4 Remaining Teams To Win the 2023 Super Bowl

NFL Odds: Cases for 4 Remaining Teams To Win the 2023 Super Bowl article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Hurts (left), Joe Burrow (left center), Patrick Mahomes (right center) and Brock Purdy (right).

We’re down to the NFL’s final four, and it’s not hyperbole to suggest that this might be the most unpredictable final four in league history.

Per Bet Labs, we’ve had only 11 Conference Championship Games since 2003 with a spread of three points or less. Only three times did it happen in both games the same year, and five of those six games featured a favorite of three points:

It doesn’t look like we’ll have a field goal favorite in either game this week, and we might even end up with a combined spread at three or less. That makes for a very unpredictable Championship Sunday, and it means the Super Bowl odds are nearly even odds for all four teams with just three games left.

The Eagles are slight favorites at FanDuel at +230. The Bengals at +260 and Chiefs at +280 are just behind, with the 49ers a very short “long shot” at +320. The favorites are implied 30.3% to win the whole thing, and the long shots are 23.8%.

Suffice to say this thing is totally up in the air.

So, who will actually win the Super Bowl? Let’s make the case for every team.

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Why the Eagles Will Win the Super Bowl

The Eagles have been the best NFL team all season. Philadelphia started the year 8-0, the league’s last unbeaten team. They lost a November Monday night game to Washington, but that’s the only blemish all season with Jalen Hurts in the lineup at 15-1 and it took four turnovers to do it.

Speaking of turnovers, the Eagles don’t commit them. They had only four games all season with more than one turnover, with just six total in the other 14 games. The defense also forced at least one turnover in all but two games. Philadelphia only had a negative turnover differential five times all season. Take care of the ball that well and you’ll win a lot of games.

The Eagles remain the league’s most lethal rushing attack with a healthy Hurts under center. They ranked No. 1 in Rushing DVOA and actually led the league in overall Offensive DVOA in Hurts games. He was favored to win MVP before missing two late games to injury, and he’s off the injury report now and looked healthy and good to go against the Giants.

But it’s not just the rushing attack. Philly can also beat opponents in the air now.

The Eagles have a true WR1 in A.J. Brown, who had 95 or more receiving yards in eight games this season. They might have a second WR1 in DeVonta Smith, who’s up from 5.1 catches for 55.4 yards over his first 11 games this year to 6.4 receptions for 92.6 yards in the last seven.

When two receivers can hit 100 yards any given day with Dallas Goedert eating up all that vacated space in the middle of the field, the Eagles can beat teams any number of ways.

Philadelphia can also win on defense. In a passing league, the Eagles defense led the league in Pass DVOA. Philly’s deep and versatile front leads the league in pressure rate, and a talented secondary that might get nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox back soon can take away explosive passing plays. Either Mahomes or Burrow will be waiting in the Super Bowl, and the Eagles have the pressure to bother both QBs all game behind shaky lines and a great pass defense to match up.

In many ways, Philadelphia is the perfect matchup against the league’s top teams. The offense can punish opponents with a physical, bruising rushing attack, then beat tired defenses over the top with an underrated passing game. Also, the defense is built specifically to take the pass away and has done so better than any team in the league.

Add to that a deep and talented coaching staff, with coordinators on each side of the ball that are already interviewing for head coaching jobs.

That’s a formula for winning football, and it’s why the Eagles are the Super Bowl favorite with just four teams left. They’ve been my pick for most of the season and still look like the most likely champ on the board.

Pick: Eagles To Win the Super Bowl (+230)


Why the Bengals Will Win the Super Bowl

The Bengals were only a play or two away from winning the whole shebang last year, and then they got better. The numbers say this year’s team is better on both sides of the ball.

It all starts with Joe Cool. Burrow built off last year’s success and got even better this season. He reduced his sack rate significantly, especially as the season has gone on, and his quick release and decision making are key with Cincinnati’s offensive line banged up again. Burrow’s efficiency is up and his play is more consistent, and he’s been much better in this year’s playoffs than he was a year ago.

The Bengals have the deepest and most dangerous receiving corps in the league. Ja’Marr Chase might be as talented as any weapon, and his chemistry with Burrow is undeniable with at least one TD in nine of his last 14 games. Tee Higgins is a WR1 in waiting, and Tyler Boyd is one of the league’s finest WR3s.

Last year’s Bengals were overcommitted to an inefficient rushing attack, and the 2022 season started out similarly. But the Bengals have the No. 2 Rushing DVOA since Week 4, now featuring a deadly power run game that dominated Buffalo last week and another tool to help out this struggling line.

What was once a run-heavy offense is now the pass-heaviest attack in the league in neutral situations. Cincinnati has found its play-calling rhythm, and Bengals coaches let Burrow make quick decisions and dial it up at the line. This offense is versatile and battle-tested. It faced the league’s third-toughest schedule but ranked fourth in DVOA even in just the nine games against top-15 defenses.

The other side of the ball lacks star power and marquee names, but maybe that’s because the big name on defense is coordinator Lou Anarumo. He’s proving to be one of the league’s most deadly game planners with brilliant in-game adjustments that have helped the Bengals cover 23 of their last 27 second halves against the spread (ATS). That includes a perfect 6-0 ATS in playoff games, allowing just 6.0 points per second half against some of the league’s top offenses.

The Bengals don’t have star names, but D.J. Reader is a nasty run stuffer while Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard create a terrific pass-rushing duo. Cincinnati’s defense is greater than the sum of its parts thanks to Anarumo.

Cincinnati won a playoff game in which it allowed nine sacks. The Bengals won one missing three offensive line starters. They won a game in which the opponent was on the goal line late in a tie game. They came back from down 21-3 in a playoff game too.

The Bengals have consistently found ways to win these playoff games. They have a QB who’s playing as well as anyone and might have the most well-rounded roster left in the playoffs.

We spent all offseason looking for this year’s Bengals, but what if it was just Cincinnati all along?

Pick: Bengals To Win the Super Bowl (+260)


Why the Chiefs Will Win the Super Bowl

When you have Patrick Mahomes, you have a good chance to win the Super Bowl. That’s why the Chiefs were favored to win the Super Bowl when odds opened Sunday night, even with Mahomes’ ankle the size of a pumpkin.

But hey, Pat played through the pain Sunday with several one-foot, off-balance throws in a gutsy win, and we all know he’s the best and most talented football player in the world, so do you really want to bet against him?

Many expected the Chiefs to take a step back after trading away Tyreek Hill, and there’s no go-to wide receiver this year, but the offense has gotten even better. They’re more versatile and less predictable without Hill, and Travis Kelce is effectively WR1 at tight end, one catch short of the all-time playoff game record one week ago.

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The Chiefs don’t have stars across the rest of the offense, but that’s because they’ve spread the wealth. Rookie Isaiah Pacheco adds a power run game dynamic the team has lacked, and Kansas City finished the year top 10 in Rushing DVOA and No. 4 over the final six weeks. Jerick McKinnon is the receiving threat out of the backfield. JuJu Smith-Schuster is the zone buster. Marquez Valdez-Scantling stretches the field, and Kadarius Toney is the gadget guy.

No team is more creative calling plays, especially on third down and in the red zone, where the Chiefs remain lethal. No play is ever over or totally taken away until the whistle blows. Mahomes simply finds ways to beat opponents, one leg or not.

Mahomes is 9-3 lifetime in the playoffs. He’s scored 35 TDs in those games, a 50-TD pace over a full regular season, and the Chiefs average a robust 31.9 PPG — in playoff games, against the league’s finest competition.

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Imagine playing a team where it’s a victory holding them to “just” 30 points. You need a defense capable of doing that plus an offense that can put up 31 to beat them. Mahomes has one postseason loss ever to any QB but the GOAT. He always seems to find a way.

He also always seems to have a defense playing at its best in the playoffs. Steve Spagunolo rounds this defense into form late, and Kansas City played one of its best defensive games of the season against the Jaguars a week ago. Chris Jones is a menace on the line, one of three DPOY finalists, and the young secondary grew as the season went on.

And don’t forget about Harrison Butker. Kansas City struggled through an anomalously poor year on special teams largely because it couldn’t find an answer at kicker. Butker finally looked healthy and confident last week, and a healthy kicker with a leg for a cannon goes a long way in the playoffs, and it might have restored Andy Reid’s special teams dominance.

The Chiefs have been here before. This is a fifth straight AFC Championship Game for Mahomes, and it’s the tenth Conference Championship Game for Reid. They’re the wily veterans now, and as long as Mahomes is out there, they have a shot.

Pick: Chiefs To Win the Super Bowl (+280)


Why the 49ers Will Win the Super Bowl

The 49ers are now the league’s long shot to win the Super Bowl, which is pretty wild considering they might be the best team in the league.

San Francisco has won 12 straight games. The average margin of victory in those games is 12.5 points, with only two games even under seven points. During that stretch, the offense ranks second in rushing and first passing, and the defense ranks second and third. When you’re top three at everything, you’re a pretty good football team.

Everyone keeps waiting for QB Brock Purdy to fail, but we have to accept that the rookie is now 8-0. San Francisco’s passing numbers look eerily similar whether Purdy or Jimmy Garoppolo, and Purdy won late against the Raiders and has now won two playoff games. At some point, we might need to start asking why we expect him to fail when he hasn’t done so over the span of almost one-half of a regular season.

Besides, the real spark on this team wasn’t the switch at quarterback — it was the trade for Christian McCaffrey. Before acquiring CMC, the 49ers offense ranked 22nd in DVOA, teetering on the brink of bottom 10. It was an ugly start for Kyle Shanahan’s guys at 15th in passing and 26th rushing. Since McCaffrey’s first full game, the Niners rank 1st in passing and 3rd rushing and haven’t lost since.

We still are yet to see any defense capable of containing all of San Francisco’s versatile weapons: McCaffrey, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and now a healthy Deebo Samuel. Add in elite pass protection led by the league’s finest O-lineman in Trent Williams, and it barely matters who’s playing QB.

And then there’s the nasty, tenacious defense. Nick Bosa looks set to win DPOY, and guys like Fred Warner and Talanoa Hufanga can erase opposing stars and change the game at a moment’s notice. San Francisco has the NFL’s best linebackers, a key weapon against the tough run games and tight ends the team is set to face, and the outstanding safeties are a similar boon.

The 49ers might be the one great team in the league where the story starts with defense, not offense. The defense ranks top two in both Drive and Play Success Rate. They beat up on teams so bad that every team San Francisco faced lost its following game all season long. DC DeMeco Ryans can basically sign a blank check for any head coaching job he wants thanks to the work he’s done with this defense.

We really haven’t seen any opponent solve this offense or its defense, let alone both, over the last 12 games. The 49ers have stars up and down the roster and an elite coaching staff that puts them in position to succeed.

You might have noticed in the three years above with two Conference Championships at a line of three or fewer points that the eventual Super Bowl winner was at least a 2.5-point underdog in all three.

That’s exactly where the 49ers are heading into this weekend. They might be a juggernaut hiding in plain sight.

Pick: 49ers To Win the Super Bowl (+320)


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