NFL Super Bowl Futures Market Heading Into Final Week

Mark Saxon
January 4, 2024 11:19 AM

Week 17 didn’t provide much of a shake-up in the NFL’s Super Bowl futures markets.

It was more of a gentle stir.

The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens affirmed their 1 and 1A favorite statuses with fairly routine beatdowns.

In the 49ers’ case, it came against the lowly Washington Commanders while the Ravens had a far more impressive showing, obliterating the 11-5 Miami Dolphins 56-19.

If anyone still doubted the legitimacy of this Lamar Jackson-led attack, feel free to doubt no more.

Those teams’ future odds nudged down just a bit, with the 49ers listed at most sportsbooks at around +215 and the Ravens in the +325 range these days.

As usual, make sure to shop for the best prices available at — where else? — BestOdds.

The ‘books aren’t making the mistake of overreacting to small sample sizes, but you wonder at this point if they’re risking ignoring reality.

The last two weeks certainly could indicate that the Ravens simply might be the better team and their odds remain significantly more enticing.

Coming off the worst game of his career, Brock Purdy of the Niners course-corrected with a perfectly decent 88.2 QB Rating, throwing for 230 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

But did you see what Jackson did against a better defense? We’ll spoil it for you.

He put up a 95.9 rating, throwing for 321 yards and five TDs without a pick.

He might have sewn up the league MVP award and he certainly didn’t dent the confidence of anyone holding a Ravens’ championship ticket.

The Next Tier

The Dallas Cowboys are the most volatile commodity in this market.

A win that was so close owner Jerry Jones told reporters, he “nearly died three times,” and included a controversial penalty that wiped out a Detroit Lions 2-point conversion convinced the ‘books that the Cowboys are, once again, for real.

Are they, though?

They still haven’t proven they can win outdoors or away from their home state and they need to beat the Commanders Sunday or the Philadelphia Eagles likely will win the NFC East.

Seems like a shaky foundation.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t impress the bookmakers much in their 25-17 home win over the Jake Browning-led Cincinnati Bengals.

Their odds got longer, up to about around +950, probably because their once-explosive offense continues to stagnate.

But Rasheed Rice’s performance in that game – 127 yards receiving on five catches – should give K.C. backers hope that Patrick Mahomes finally has a target he can trust not named Travis Kelce, whose own production has been curiously declining (Taylor Swift taking too much of his attention?).

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills have been charging up the board, going from about +1300 two weeks ago to +875 lately.

Their defense has looked great and the run game is powering their attack.

They could even snatch another division title from the Dolphins’ hands if they can win in South Florida on Sunday.

But is their charge coming too late and do rumors of a shoulder injury to quarterback Josh Allen make this a sucker bet? Stay tuned.

The Longish Shots

On Nov. 21, the Eagles were the Super Bowl favorites at +450, narrowly ahead of the Chiefs and 49ers, but the wheels have been wobbling on this club for a while now.

After narrowly beating the Bills, they got blown out by the 49ers and Cowboys (guess where?), lost to a Seahawks team that won’t be playing after this weekend, beat a lousy New York Giants team by one score, and then lost to the 4-12 Arizona Cardinals.

Not a great trajectory heading into the playoffs, but if you liked the Eagles before, this is a good time to buy.

For a team with +1150 odds, you get a lot of talent here and a team that is guaranteed to pick up first downs in short-yardage situations behind perhaps the greatest center in NFL history (Kelce who isn’t dating Swift, Jason).

The Dolphins looked so bad Sunday vs. the Ravens, that their odds nearly doubled to their current perch at +1350. Sure, teams have bad days from time to time.

But the problem for this squad is two of its worst days came against teams it will have to contend with on the path to the Super Bowl.

It lost by four touchdowns to the Bills in Week 4 and just lost to the Ravens by 37.

If you can squint your eyes and ignore those, this is a great price on a team that can score with anybody when it’s right.

That always gives you a chance in January.

The Detroit Lions are a supremely live longshot at +2100, especially since their struggling defense managed to hold the Cowboys to just those 20 points at home, about half what that team has averaged under its roof.

Of course, to bet on Detroit means you think they (or somebody else) can knock off that loaded 49ers team.

At this price, that seems a risk worth indulging in.

About the author

Mark Saxon was a senior writer for The Athletic covering the St. Louis Cardinals. Mark began his baseball-writing career in 1998 in the growing shadow...

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