Super Bowl Odds Stacked Against Wild Card Teams
As we head into the NFL's wild card round, the top four Super Bowl favorites are the Denver Broncos (11/4), New England Patriots (6/1), San Francisco 49ers (6/1) and Atlanta Falcons (7/1). The top two favored Super Bowl matchups are Broncos-49ers (13/2) and Patriots-49ers (15/2) - the AFC is an early two-point favorite versus the NFC. Not coincidentally, the four favorites all have first-round byes and thus won't be playing this weekend.
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However, recent history shows that a winner on wild card weekend could well end up being the NFL champion come February in New Orleans. The past two Super Bowl winners both won in a wild card game: the New York Giants (as a division champion) last season and the Green Bay Packers (as a wild card team) two years ago. A total of eight teams who have played on wild card weekend have won the Super Bowl overall.
Only two No. 6 seeds have won it all: the 2010 Packers and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. In six of the past seven seasons, at least one of the Super Bowl participants won a wild card game. That a wild card team will play in the Super Bowl this season is +300, with no at -400. That one hoists the Lombardi Trophy is +600 with no at -1000. The over/under for wild card teams (Bengals, Colts, Vikings and Seahawks) winning this weekend is 1.5, with the under a -140 favorite. The actual favorite for the number of wild card teams to win this weekend is one at +125. Seattle is the only wild card team that's a favorite as it is -3 at the Redskins. All four wild card teams losing is at +450. All four winning is +4000.
Green Bay has the shortest Super Bowl odds among the eight clubs playing this weekend. The Packers are 8/1 to win the Super Bowl. Should the Pack win it, they would tie the Steelers and Cowboys for the most playoff wins all-time with 33. Green Bay also is the biggest favorite this weekend at -9 against the Minnesota Vikings, the team that beat the Packers in Week 17 to earn the NFL's final playoff spot. Adrian Peterson's Vikes are the long shots to win the NFC at 18/1.
Peterson of course finished this season with 2,097 yards rushing, just nine shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's NFL single-season record. Peterson had 199 yards and a touchdown on a season-high 34 carries last Sunday at the Metrodome against Green Bay. Back on December 2 in Green Bay with a 23-14 Packers win, Peterson rushed 21 times for 210 yards and a score. In 12 career games against Green Bay, Peterson has 1,442 rushing yards (120.2 per game), his most against any foe.
The book lists Peterson's over/under this week at 125.5 yards (over a -125 favorite) and that he will score a touchdown is a -180 favorite. No is +150. Peterson scored in eight of the final 10 regular-season games. He is also the 7/4 favorite to have more rushing yards than any other player on wild card weekend.
The overall longest shots to win the Super Bowl are Cincinnati and Indianapolis at 50/1, and the Colts are AFC title long shots at 22/1. Vikings-Colts and Vikings-Bengals are the longest shots as a Super Bowl matchup by far at 350/1. Indy is led by No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck, who is one of three rookie starting quarterbacks in these playoffs along with Washington's Robert Griffin III and Seattle's Russell Wilson. That's the most rookie QBs to start a playoff game since 1966.
A total of 11 rookie quarterbacks have started a playoff game previously in the Super Bowl era. Five of them won - another is guaranteed to this weekend with Wilson and Griffin facing off. Houston's T.J. Yates, who was filling in for an injured Matt Schaub, was the last rookie to win as the Texans beat the Bengals and their rookie QB, Andy Dalton, 31-10 last season on wild card weekend. It was the first time rookie QBs opposed each other in the playoffs. No rookie signal-caller has ever led his team to a Super Bowl. Four have advanced to a conference championship game, the last being the Jets' Mark Sanchez in 2009. No NFC rookie quarterback has led his team to the conference title game since Tampa Bay's Shaun King in 1999.
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