NFL Future Bets
January 11, 2013
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The Divisional round is here and with only four combatants left on both sides, taking a look at future odds of who will be representing their conference in the Super Bowl isn't a bad idea. Historically, at least one team with a bye in this round has lost SU in each of the past seven seasons and five of those times two or more have lost. That means that if you really like one of the road teams outright this weekend, it may be worth it to take a look at what their future odds are to win the conference. Here is what we have at Carbon Sports:
AFC Champion: Denver (11-10), New England (7-5), Baltimore (10-1), and Houston (10-1)
Baltimore's defense has plenty of guys who have played numerous games against Peyton throughout their careers, so nothing that new will catch the Ravens off guard. Baltimore is a shell of their former selves on defense and their mediocre road play this year has been worrisome, especially when you consider they would have to win two road games to get the Super Bowl. But if they do get by Denver this weekend they will have no quarrels in going to New England (where they've had plenty of success before) or Houston. They have played both of these teams already this year and while Houston blew them out badly in Week 7, that was a horrible spot for Baltimore coming off a tough win and heading into their bye. They do have the emotional edge with Ray Lewis' playing his final year and at 10-1 they aren't a horrible option.
Houston is more intriguing at 10-1 though because they have the talent to go on the road and beat the Patriots and could have a home game in the next round. We've all heard about the bulletin board material RB Arian Foster has been using from New England sports writers and the Texans have got to be thrilled to get another shot at the Patriots. They were the last team to beat Denver this year (Week 3) and that game was in Denver as well. There aren't many reasons to think why they couldn't go back to Denver and beat the Broncos again, or put another beating on the Ravens. The only downside for Houston is the fact that history is against them, but that refers to winning the Super Bowl not simply getting there.
NFC Champion: San Francisco (2-1), Atlanta (3-1), Green Bay (3-1), Seattle (3-1)
There is no questioning the fact that the NFC is a tighter race and both games this weekend should be great. But to have both road teams here have the same value as the #1 overall seed is a bit surprising.
Seattle at 3-1 is tough to take simply from a value perspective. They weren't a great team away from home until the final month of the season and both of their remaining games would be on the road. They are a very talented team on both sides of the ball and there is no reason to think they couldn't get it done, but given the fact that they would be underdogs in both contests (Divisional and Championship) it's better just to take them SU on the individual games if you're a "12th man."
Green Bay presents a better opportunity here because if they were to go in to San Fran and win this weekend, they would either be at home (vs. Seattle) or in a dome vs. the Falcons. Obviously the Packers love to play at home in front of their fans and have had great success there this season (8-1 SU), but they are also a team built to play in a dome with their passing attack and speed. They beat Atlanta in Atlanta back when they won the Super Bowl a few years ago and would feel very comfortable there. They would be less than 3-point dogs in that scenario and would obviously be laying points at home vs. Seattle, so if you believe Green Bay will return to the big game (as I do), taking them at 3-1 here presents tremendous value.