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LAS VEGAS – Tom Brady may not be able to play at peak efficiency anymore following serious knee surgery, and New England didn’t even make the playoffs this past season.
But this hasn’t stopped the oddsmakers at Las Vegas Sports Consultants from anointing the Patriots as the team to beat in 2009.
New England has next season’s shortest Super Bowl odds at 6-1, according to LVSC’s recently released 2009 Super Bowl numbers.
The Las Vegas Hilton, which put out next season’s Super Bowl odds even sooner than LVSC, also has New England the favorite at 8-1. No other team has odds less than double-digits.
Following New England is a tier system. In the first grouping just behind the Patriots are Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Dallas and the New York Giants. All are at 10-1, according to current odds at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Making up the second tier are San Diego, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Baltimore and Carolina. They are all at 12-1 at the Hilton.
Then you have a third tier composed of middle shots Minnesota (25-1), Green Bay (25-1), Jacksonville (30-1), Atlanta (30-1), Tampa Bay (30-1), Denver (30-1), the New York Jets (30-1) and oh yes, Super Bowl participant Arizona (30-1).
That’s not a whole lot of respect for the Cardinals. But then again does anyone really believe Kurt Warner can stay healthy and duplicate his great 2008 season? Oh, yes, the Cardinals still will have to play five regular-season non-division road games.
The Hilton’s fourth tier features five clubs at 40-1. They are Miami, Houston, Buffalo, Washington and Chicago. Seattle is next at 50-1.
The Seahawks could prove intriguing at those odds, considering they play in the weak NFC Western Division and figure to be a lot healthier than they were during the 2008 season when quarterback Matt Hasselbeck missed more than half the games and the offensive line and wide receiving corps was decimated by injuries.
LVSC lists the Seahawks even higher at 60-1. Most of LVSC’s Super Bowl odds, though, are lower than the ones posted at the Hilton.
For instance, LVSC’s recommendation is Arizona at 15-1, Atlanta 15-1, Green Bay 20-1 and Miami 25-1.
“You’re not looking to have great exposure,” LVSC senior linesmaker Tony Sinisi said about Nevada hotels putting up Super Bowl odds.
Free agency, mature rookies, an easy schedule, a coaching change and few injuries can turn around any team quickly in the parity-filled world of the NFL.
It happened with the Dolphins last season going from one-win to 11. The Dolphins enjoyed great health, a positive coaching change, a decent schedule and had the NFL’s best turnover ratio at plus 17.
Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan made a huge difference for the Falcons, which made the playoffs following a 4-12 mark in 2007.
So maybe there’s hope for long shots San Francisco, Cincinnati and Cleveland. All are 60-1 at the Hilton.
The highest odds at the Hilton are on Detroit, Kansas City, Oakland and St. Louis. Each of those clubs is 100-1.