After nine weeks of play in the 2023 NFL season, most of the upper-echelon is performing as expected. However, there is some shifting in the Super Bowl futures from the start of the season. Let’s compare some of the top teams’ current odds to where they were over the summer, courtesy of DraftKings.
Super Bowl Futures: Then and Now
TEAM TO WIN SUPER BOWL 58
Kansas City Chiefs
San Francisco 49ers
The results from Week 9 solidified the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles as the favorites in each conference. The Chiefs (7-2) held on to beat Miami in Germany last week, giving the Dolphins three losses.
As for the Eagles, they did their best to give a game–and the NFC lead–away to rival Dallas, but when playing good teams on the road, the Cowboys are gonna Cowboy.
Philly is two games clear of Dallas with a win in hand and also has a one-game lead over Detroit for homefield advantage in the NFC. But after their bye this week, the Eagles next four games are as follows: at Kansas City, vs. Buffalo, vs. San Francisco, at Dallas. The schedule softens after that, but we’re hesitant to take Philly at +600 until we see how those four games play out.
Back to the Chiefs, we saw a similar story play out last year. K.C. is winning with defense, and Patrick Mahomes says the offense will be clicking come playoff time. We have no reason to doubt him.
Last year, the Chiefs and Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl after having a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That’s not an automatic–both No. 1 seeds in 2021 were one and done–but it’s still a big edge.
Presuming they get by Cleveland this week, the Baltimore Ravens are 7-2 with a monster game next Thursday against Cincinnati. If the Ravens win that one, the biggest tests remaining will be road tilts at Jacksonville and San Francisco. If the Bengals win in Baltimore next week, they also will have two tough tests remaining–at Jacksonville and at Kansas City in Week 17, which could determine the No. 1 seed.
We mentioned the Jaguars, and while they may not be as talented as those AFC North teams, they do have a chance at stealing home field if they can beat San Francisco at home this week. Their only potentially difficult road game left is at Cleveland. The Jags lost to the Chiefs in Week 2, which would hurt them in a tiebreaker.
Who Are the Pretenders?
We talked about Dallas‘ inability to close things out in the big moments. Also remember the Cowboys’ last two playoff losses–both to San Francisco on questionable final plays.
The Cowboys simply can’t be trusted on the road. With it unlikely to win the NFC East, Dallas is looking at a second-round game at the likes of San Francisco, Detroit, or Philadelphia.
Miami got lots of attention early by scoring at will against many teams, but a closer look shows that those points all came at the expense of teams with losing records. Against three teams with winning records, Miami is 0-3 with the following scoring outputs: 20, 17, 14. The Dolphins might win the AFC East and their core looks solid, but it seems like a Super Bowl run could be more of a 2024 thing.
Buffalo shot itself in the foot with losses at the New York Jets and New England with uneven offensive performances. They also easily could’ve lost to Tampa Bay and the New York Giants at home. The schedule gets harder for the Bills, who are hurting on defense and have two home games against Denver and the Jets upcoming, which are must-wins. If they can be 7-4 at that point, the Bills then go to Philadelphia and Kansas City before hosting Dallas. The final game of the season is at Miami, but the Dolphins may have already clinched the division by that point.
Who Can Win the Super Bowl?
In our minds, six teams can win the Super Bowl: Kansas City, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Detroit, and San Francisco. Oddsmakers clearly don’t believe that the Niners’ slump will last long, so they may actually have their best value if they go on to beat Jacksonville and Philadelphia. It’s also a good time to jump on Detroit because if Philly loses a couple of games, the Lions’ schedule is favorable enough to put them in line for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. There’s probably one game left where the Lions won’t be favored (at Dallas, Week 17). Kansas City’s odds also may not improve, so now is a good time to take the Chiefs.
We’d recommend waiting a few weeks on Philadelphia to see how they make it through their tough stretch, and there will be more clarity in the AFC North after Bengals vs. Ravens next Thursday night. Expect the Bengals’ odds to move up the board considerably if they win that one, so if you’re high on Cincy, take them now.
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