NFL Super Bowl Odds: A Case To Bet All 8 Remaining Teams
Getty Images. Pictured: Trevor Lawrence (left), Patrick Mahomes (center) and Joe Burrow (right).
And then there were eight.
After a wild Super Wild Card Round weekend, the four biggest favorites won while the short underdog Giants and Jaguars pulled off upsets to keep their seasons alive. Now we head to the Divisional Round with the rested 1-seed Eagles and Chiefs waiting, and only eight teams remain.
So, who will actually win the Super Bowl? Which team has the right combination of talent, depth, coaching, and luck to hoist the trophy? What’s the best case scenario for each team left — and what’s the worst? What does it look like if everything goes right, and what’s the path for things to go sideways?
I’ll make the case for why every remaining NFL team can win the Super Bowl — and then the case for why they won’t. The decision from here is up to you.
All prices are listed below at FanDuel with a handy-dandy QuickSlip link if you’re compelled to place your Super Bowl bet.
Jacksonville Jaguars +3300
Why the Jaguars will win the Super Bowl…
Last February, I identified several teams that could be this year’s Bengals, and the +12000 Jaguars were atop my list. The case was easy: a huge coaching leap from Urban Meyer to Doug Pederson, a sophomore breakout from QB Trevor Lawrence, and a heap of draft picks and salary cap to add talent around him. That’s basically how this season has played out.
Lawrence has had outstanding moments and proven a quick study when he fails. The Jaguars passing attack ranks sixth by DVOA and improved as the season progressed, and Pederson’s offense does a great job probing the defense early and spamming whatever works once they find it. Travis Etienne can fly, and those expensive receivers everyone panned have great chemistry with Lawrence.
The defense has been stout against the run all season but really took off over the final five weeks of the season when they led the league in EPA, thanks to a fearsome pass rush that ranks third in pressure rate over the back half of the season.
Pederson is 6-0 ATS as a postseason underdog, including 5-1 outright. He consistently makes the right analytics moves, like that late two-point conversion against the Chargers, and gives his team every chance to win. He’s the most proven playoff coach left in the field.
Pederson and Lawrence can do this. It was always the Jags.
Why the Jaguars will fall short…
The Jaguars are only here because they backed in via an awful division once Tennessee fell apart, then backed into the Divisional Round when the Chargers did the same. Good luck counting on the Chiefs, then two more great teams, doing the same.
Jacksonville faced the league’s easiest schedule defensively by DVOA. In six games where the Jags faced an offense in the top half of the league, the defense cratered, allowing 30.0 PPG vs just 15.4 PPG in the others and finishing 31st in passing defense and overall. The passing offense has also fallen off mightily when facing a top defense.
Beating up on the Colts and Texans is cute, but this pass defense ranked bottom five on the season and this young team is about to see a serious step up in competition. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in the AFC South anymore.
New York Giants +2500
Why the Giants will win the Super Bowl…
Brian Daboll pulls all the strings, and he and Wink Martindale give the Giants a puncher’s chance. They’ve done miracles with this offense, reworking the offensive line and turning Daniel Jones into a real, live NFL quarterback. The +12500 Giants were another of my deep sleeper Super Bowl candidates.
The Giants’ offense is the real deal. They ranked top 10 on the season and got better down the stretch, ranking top seven both passing and rushing over the final six weeks, and they’re coming off their most complete game of the season.
The defense led the league in pressure rate the back half of the season. Dexter Lawrence can take over a game, and Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari lead a blitz-happy defense that can change a game at any moment.
The Giants are kings of keeping it close. They’ve played 14 one-score games and they’ve only lost four of them. Every Divisional Round trend says New York has a real chance to upset Philadelphia. Do that and you’re only two games away from another miracle run a la 2011. New York is +3000 at BetRivers if you believe.
Why the Giants will fall short…
The Giants have the worst defense left in the field by a wide margin. They had the worst run defense in football, and the three remaining NFC opponents are outstanding running the ball. The defense was also super low variance, meaning they’re consistently bad. As well as the Giants offense played against Minnesota, they needed every point to stay in front of the Vikings.
New York is worst in the league defensively on first downs. They’re second worst against tight ends with Dallas Goedert, then George Kittle or Dalton Schultz on tap. The Giants rank bottom five in defensive Drive Success Rate, bottom five in pass protection, bottom quarter of the league in explosive pass plays on both offense and defense.
It’s been a miracle season for New York, but their luck can’t really run this hot for three more games, can it? At some point, Daniel Jones and this severe lack of talent just won’t be enough.
Dallas Cowboys +850
Why the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl…
When the Cowboys are good, they’re great. They throttled the Bucs Monday night. They destroyed the then 8-1 Vikings 40-3 in November. They had games with 40, 40, 49 and 54 points. Three times, this defense forced four or more turnovers. Micah Parsons is a game wrecker with 13.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 27 QB hits.
Dallas is a team of stars. Dak Prescott is coming off the game of his life. CeeDee Lamb proved himself a true WR1. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard can dominate the run game. Trevon Diggs can take one the other way any play. Parsons was the DPOY favorite most of the year.
Dallas ranks second defensively by DVOA on the season. The offense has been terrific since Prescott returned from injury at 32.5 PPG. When Prescott doesn’t turn it over, he trails only Patrick Mahomes in EPA per play on the season.
If Prescott takes care of the ball and he and the defense play like they did Monday, the Cowboys can beat anyone anywhere. Dallas is +1000 to win the Super Bowl at BetRivers.
Minus turnovers (left), Dak Prescott is basically matching Patrick Mahomes play for play by EPA, ahead of the rest of the league.
Include turnovers (right), and Dak falls very much back to earth, though still quite good.
Take care of the ball and Dallas can still make a run. pic.twitter.com/41oGExxKbe
— Brandon Anderson (@wheatonbrando) December 26, 2022
Why the Cowboys will fall short…
Don’t be fooled by Dallas beating up on the corpse of Tom Brady’s Bucs. We already knew the Cowboys were outstanding front runners, awesome against bad teams. They’re largely untested against actually good teams and hasn’t been very good when facing a stiff test.
That No. 2 DVOA defense fell to league-average over the final six weeks of the season, an ugly 25th against the pass. Dallas hasn’t been the same since losing Anthony Brown and never really found a CB2, and the Cowboys rank dead last against opposing WR2s. The defense leaked explosive plays late, and that elite pressure that led the league early dropped to 14th over the back half of the year.
The offense has been better with Prescott, but who have they played? They faced only seven top 15 defenses, four early without Prescott, and they rank 12th offensively by DVOA with him, more Giants or Falcons than Bills or Chiefs. Dallas is the run-heaviest team left behind a banged-up line, inefficient on first downs, and overcommitted to Elliott. And now they apparently can’t make an extra point kick either.
At the end of the day, do you really want to bet on Prescott and Mike McCarthy?
Cincinnati Bengals +750
Why the Bengals will win the Super Bowl…
The Bengals were a play or two away from winning it last year, and then they got better. This year’s team is better on both sides of the ball by the numbers.
It starts with Joe Cool. Burrow took last year’s success and got even better, reducing his sack rate while increasing in touchdowns. Last year’s overcommitted run game has been replaced by efficient rushing and a pass-heavy offense that ranks third in pass protection and fourth in DVOA.
The offense is battle-tested by the league’s third most difficult schedule. It faced a top-15 defense nine times and still ranked fourth in DVOA in those games. The receiving corps is healthy now and there might not be a deeper or more dangerous crew in the league than Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
The Bengals’ defense is good against the run with a healthy D.J. Reader, and defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo makes brilliant in-game adjustments with a versatile game plan. Cincinnati’s covered 21 of its last 25 second halves ATS dating back to last year’s postseason run.
Why look for this year’s Bengals when you can just bet the actual Bengals instead?
Why the Bengals will fall short…
Last year’s Bengals had one major flaw. That was the offensive line and now, after spending the offseason fixing it, the line has been decimated by injuries. RT La’el Collins was first, out for the season. Then it was RG Alex Cappa and LT Jonah Williams, both question marks for the rest of this run. Cluster injuries can kill a team’s chances, and these offensive line woes may have returned at the absolute worst time.
The defense is missing star corner Chidobe Awuzie, and the Bengals have struggled to defend the pass without him. They allowed the second highest explosive pass rate the back half of the season, and the secondary is beatable and thin. Cincinnati’s defense has been elite at home (No. 2 by DVOA) but ranks just 22nd on the road, and the Bengals likely won’t play at home again.
Burrow, Joe Mixon and Chase can keep up with anyone, but the offense can be hit or miss and went ice cold against Baltimore, nearly costing Cincy its season. Zac Taylor still has more than a few detractors. Can the Bengals keep Burrow upright long enough to win three track meets?
Philadelphia Eagles +500
Why the Eagles will win the Super Bowl…
The Eagles have been the best team in the NFC all season, and the road to the Super Bowl runs through Philadelphia.
The Eagles went 14-1 with Jalen Hurts, nearly running the gauntlet, and the offense with Hurts was the league’s most lethal rushing attack and No. 1 overall by DVOA. Hurts won’t win this year’s MVP after missing those late games, but his running ability unlocked this offense while the passing game exploded late with both A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith capable of taking over games.
The defense might be even better than the offense. It’s a passing league, and the Eagles led the league in passing defensive DVOA. A deep and versatile front leads the league in pressure rate and takes away explosive passing plays. Philadelphia is the perfect matchup against many of the league’s best teams, built to take away opposing passing games and punish defenses built to defend the pass with a physical, bruising rushing attack.
The Eagles are rested and mostly healthy now that Hurts is off the injury report. They take care of the ball, run the football, dominate the clock and play great D. They’ll play twice at home for a trip to the Super Bowl, and their elite pass defense and rushing attack look like the perfect matchup against those high-flying AFC offenses if they get there.
The Eagles are +500, but for my money, they’re still the most likely champion on the board.
Why the Eagles will fall short…
Are we sure the Eagles are healthy? Tackle Lane Johnson is still practicing lightly and is a huge key on the line especially in pass protection, and nickel Avonte Maddox is a doubt. Hurts is off the injury report but didn’t look himself in Week 18 and may need some time to shake off the rust.
And for all that pass defense, the run D has been vulnerable. Philly is fringe bottom 10 against the run both by EPA and DVOA, and every remaining NFC opponent has a dangerous run game. The Eagles have been tremendous front runners but struggle a bit when teams survive the opening punch.
Philadelphia piled up wins against one of the league’s softest schedules. It faced only seven top-15 offenses and seven top-15 defenses, and the offense is gimmicky and didn’t fare well in division rematches down the stretch against an opponent who’d already had a look and time to prepare.
The Eagles may have been the best regular season team, but the postseason is a different animal. Is Hurts really a Super Bowl QB?
San Francisco 49ers +450
Why the 49ers will win the Super Bowl…
The 49ers are a juggernaut hiding in plain sight.
San Francisco has won 11 straight games by an average of 16.3 PPG. The offense ranks second in rushing and first passing during that stretch, and the defense ranks second and third. When you’re top three at everything, you’re a pretty good football team.
For all the focus on the transition from Jimmy Garoppolo to Brock Purdy, most of the QB results and offensive numbers look pretty similar with either guy. The real change might actually be Christian McCaffrey. The 49ers offense ranked 22nd in DVOA before acquiring CMC, 15th passing and 26th rushing. They rank 1st and 3rd since McCaffrey’s first full game and haven’t lost since.
We’ve yet to see any defense capable of containing all of San Francisco’s versatile weapons: McCaffrey, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk — and Deebo Samuel is healthy now, too. 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. The Niners 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.
No team in the league has been hotter or better since Halloween. Football Outsiders makes the 49ers Super Bowl favorites at 24.6%, an implied +306. At +450 they’re implied 18.2% to win it, a potentially huge margin in our favor.
Why the 49ers will fall short…
The juggernaut 49ers are largely untested.
The offense faced the league’s easiest schedule, just three games all year against a top-12 DVOA defense and none — Broncos, Saints or Commanders — that exactly strike fear in the heart of an opponent. San Francisco has played two true road games since October, both one-score victories, and Purdy has yet to face a top-15 pass defense. Niners opponents who have faced Purdy when he starts average 22nd by DVOA against the pass.
What happens to this year’s Mr. Irrelevant when he has to face a top team on the road in a raucous environment? How will the last pick in the worst QB draft in years respond against an elite pass rush or secondary? We don’t know, and even one or two huge mistakes could mean the end of the 49ers’ season.
In 14 San Francisco wins, the Niners have forced 29 turnovers and turned it over only six times themselves. In the four losses, they turned it over 11 times and forced just three. What happens when the turnovers don’t come? The defense has waned down the stretch, vulnerable to explosive passes and not great against secondary WRs with a fading pass rush and beatable secondary.
You had never even heard of Purdy two months ago. He’s really the guy San Francisco is hitching its wagon too? He’s the guy you’re hitching yours to?
Buffalo Bills +330
Why the Bills will win the Super Bowl…
The Bills are the best, most complete team in football.
The DVOA ranks speak for themselves: second on offense, fourth on defense, first on special teams. When you’re that good at everything, you can win a game any number of ways. Some teams are better at one specific thing. Buffalo is better than most opponents at almost everything.
It starts with Josh Allen, of course. Allen is superhuman and has had multiple playoff performances that are among the greatest all time at QB. He can run through defenders and pass over them on successive plays, and Buffalo saves his run threat for the season’s biggest games. The Bills have also rounded their rushing attack into form late just like last season, and the No. 2 DVOA offense is actually quite low variance, meaning the Bills are just consistently great.
But while Allen does everything on offense, this will always be a defense-first team under Sean McDermott. The Bills are elite against the run and great against the pass. They don’t have a star pass rusher after the Von Miller injury but rate top 10 in pressure rate anyway and usually don’t need to blitz to get there. And they might be getting stud safety Micah Hyde back this week or soon. The Bills rank No. 1 defensively with Hyde this year, and they move to the top of my defensive matrix in a tier alone with Hyde back in the lineup.
The Bills won’t have to play another road game despite not winning the 1-seed, a stroke of luck for a franchise badly in need of some. Buffalo has the best team and is playing with a purpose after the Damar Hamlin scare. The Bills have never won a Super Bowl. Could this finally be their year?
Why the Bills will fall short…
Buffalo has been more good than great the back half of the season.
It seems like it’s always some key player getting hurt with this team. Hyde missed most of the season, and Hamlin was his replacement. Miller is out. Allen’s elbow injury clearly set him back and may still be a bother. Tre’Davious White took ages to see the field and still isn’t at his best, leaving Buffalo vulnerable against opposing star receivers. When the injuries pile up, sometimes it just isn’t your year.
The defense has taken a step back over the final couple months and has been leaky to explosive plays. The offensive line has been leaky in pass protection too, doubly a problem when Allen holds the ball too long and tries to play Superman. The Bills have a bad habit of starting games slowly and letting opponents hang around. It only takes once for that mistake to end a season.
The Bills have never won a Super Bowl — why would this year be any different?
Kansas City Chiefs +300
Why the Chiefs will win the Super Bowl…
Patrick Mahomes is the MVP, and as long as the Chiefs have him playing at this level, they will be a Super Bowl favorite.
Instead of taking a step back without Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs’ offense got more versatile and deadly this year. The explosive pass plays are back, but now Kansas City can grind out long drives and the power run game has exploded down the stretch, ranked fourth by DVOA the final six weeks.
The Chiefs have the league’s best passing attack and best offense. Mahomes is 8-3 lifetime in the postseason. He’s scored 33 TDs in those games, a 51-TD pace against the league’s finest competition, averaging 32.4 PPG.
Mahomes and this offense are going to put up points — lots of them. You can’t just beat the Chiefs. You have to outlast them and kill Mahomes dead. He came back from down 24-0 to lead at halftime in a playoff game. He trailed by a field goal with 13 seconds and won anyway. He makes up new passing angles and creative ways to beat opponents every week.
If you have Mahomes, you can win the Super Bowl. Them’s the rules.
Why the Chiefs will fall short…
The Chiefs remain very beatable defensively. They’ve been league average on that end against one of the league’s softest schedules. Kansas City faced only four top-12 offenses all year and ranked 24th in DVOA both against the pass and overall. They’re bottom five defending opposing WR1s and RBs and awful defending the red zone, second worst at 67% TDs allowed.
The Chiefs’ usually elite special teams under Andy Reid have fallen to pieces too, most notably Harrison Butker and the kicking game. The rebuilt offensive line has also struggled at times in pass protection. The Chiefs faced only one team all year in the top quarter of the league in pressure rate and turned it over a season-high three times that game.
Football is a team game. The last MVP to win a Super Bowl that same season did so last century, Kurt Warner back in 1999. When one player is truly that valuable to his team, sometimes it’s because the rest of the team doesn’t quite measure up.
The Chiefs are average or worse protecting the quarterback, in defense, and on special teams. Can Mahomes really do it all by himself?