Expectations are reset every season in the NFL and all teams have new hope to hoist the Lombardi trophy. There are even some popular futures bets that tell us how the “betting market” is thinking about how the NFL stacks up.
Like the name suggests, the SuperBowl futures wager is betting whether or not a team will win the SuperBowl. The Win Total wager is an OVER/UNDER proposition on season wins.
The SuperBowl futures are always built with ample room for error from build margins. Build margins are how the bookmakers protect themselves against setting bad lines. The odds of all the NFL teams each season has added up to, on average, 134% (vs. the 100% true odds). This 34% build margin means that if you were to ensure you had a winner and put $100 on each of the 32 NFL team futures, you will on average lose $800 per season.
While the futures market has plenty of room for improvement (that theSCOREX is fixing), it still has plenty of great information we can dive into.
Let’s take a look at the 2018 season and the current caste system as chess pieces:
Wins: True Win Total
SB : True Super Bowl Win Probability
Futures: Futures record from 2001–2017 (W-L-P)
Tier 1 — King
The point of the game is to capture the King.
Patriots (Wins: 12.0 wins | SB: 10.9% | Futures: 13–3–1)
Tom Brady will be 41 when the NFL season kicks off and will look to add more bling to his collection. The expectations are always higher for the Pats vs. the field and yet they still find ways to outperform. The Pats have had the highest win total set for them since 2001, with an average of 10.5 wins expected per season (the next closest is the Packers whose average is 9.6 wins) and yet the Pats are still the most profitable team for win totals bettors (13–3–1). Every season pundits make calls that this will be the demise of Tom and Bill, and seemingly every year they continue to find a way.
Tier 2 — Queen
Can make all the moves and can appear (to many) as more powerful than the King.
Eagles (Wins: 10.1 wins | SB: 6.8% | Futures: 12–5–0)
Steelers (Wins: 10.3 wins | SB: 6.8% | Futures: 11–6–0)
Rams (Wins: 9.8 wins | SB: 6.8% | Futures: 6–11–0)
Vikings (Wins: 10.0 wins | SB: 6.8% | Futures: 8–8–1)
All these teams have true SuperBowl aspirations this season, and that is not necessarily a good thing. NFL teams, not named the Patriots, with win expectations of 10 or more have gone 30–45–5 (37.5% winners) since 2001. All these teams looked loaded to contend this season, but history says expectations have been set too high.
Tier 3 — Rook
A rook can be a powerful force, especially deep into the game, but getting them actived can be tricky.
Packers (Wins: 9.4 wins | SB: 5.0% | Futures: 9–7–1)
Texans (Wins: 9.3 wins | SB: 4.4% | Futures: 10–4–2)
Chargers (Wins: 9.4 wins | SB: 4.4% | Futures: 9–8–1)
Falcons (Wins: 9.3 wins | SB: 4.4% | Futures: 9–7–1)
Saints (Wins: 9.7 wins | SB: 3.9% | Futures: 8–7–2)
Jaguars (Wins: 9.2 wins | SB: 4.4% | Futures: 5–12–0)
Whether it’s a great quarterback with suspect supporting casts or strong supporting casts with suspect QBs, this tier of teams all show the potential to take down the king, but need to figure out a way to compensate for their obvious weaknesses.
Tier 4 — Bishop Pairs
There is plenty of hype surrounding keeping the bishop pair, as together they have the potential to dominate the game, but they are typically taken down by more skilled opponents.
Raiders (Wins: 8.3 wins | SB: 3.9% | Futures: 5–11–1)
49ers (Wins: 8.5 wins | SB: 3.6% | Futures: 8–8–1)
Chiefs (Wins: 8.5 wins | SB: 3.6% | Futures: 9–8–0)
With exciting, but unproven Quarterbacks, these teams have plenty of hype surrounding their seasons. With pricing in the 18/1 to 20/1 range for SuperBowl odds, you will have to believe that the signal-callers can take a leap forward in their play. SuperBowl winners in the past from this group (projected 8–9 win teams with short SB odds) has included the Patriots in 2003 and the Ravens in 2012.
Tier 5 — Knight
They need the board to shape up just right to be at their maximum effectiveness.
Titans (Wins: 8.0 wins | SB: 2.9% | Futures: 8–8–1)
Cowboys (Wins: 8.3 wins | SB: 2.4% | Futures: 6–11–0)
Broncos (Wins: 7.6 wins | SB: 1.8% | Futures: 10–6–1)
Seahawks (Wins: 7.7 wins | SB: 1.8% | Futures: 7–7–3)
Giants (Wins: 7.5 wins | SB: 1.8% | Futures: 6–9–2)
Panthers (Wins: 8.4 wins | SB: 1.8% | Futures: 8–9–0)
Ravens (Wins: 8.4 wins | SB: 1.5% | Futures: 8–6–3)
Lions (Wins: 7.9 wins | SB: 1.5% | Futures: 6–11–0)
These teams all have major perceived flaws at plenty of roster spots. They are generally projected as “average” teams. With some exciting pieces in place, these teams will need plenty of breaks to be considered elite by seasons end. The only team since 2001 that has faced similar odds before the season started and still put together a championship run was last year’s Eagles (40/1 before the season started).
Tier 6 — Pawns
Each pawn individually has a low chance of survival, but oftentimes one makes it to the end and turns into something special (like a Queen)
Colts (Wins: 6.9 wins | SB: 1.2% | Futures record: 11–5–0)
Bears (Wins: 7.1wins | SB: 0.9% | Futures record: 6–11–0)
Bengals (Wins: 6.4 wins | SB: 0.9% | Futures record: 10–7–0)
Redskins (Wins: 6.6 wins | SB: 0.7% | Futures record: 6–11–0)
Buccaneers (Wins: 6.3 wins | SB: 0.9% | Futures record: 7–9–1)
Dolphins (Wins: 6.3 wins | SB: 0.9% | Futures record: 5–7–5)
Cardinals (Wins: 6.3 wins | SB: 0.7% | Futures record: 9–7–1)
Browns (Wins: 6.1wins | SB: 0.9% | Futures record: 5–12–0)
Bills (Wins: 5.5 wins | SB: 0.9% | Futures record: 6–10–1)
Jets (Wins: 5.6 wins | SB: 0.9% | Futures record: 10–7–0)
Widely considered the bottom of the barrel, the only hope you will have in cashing a SuperBowl future is if you spot the next Tom Brady/ Bill Belichick combination. The last team that had longer than 50/1 odds to win the SuperBowl was the 2001 Patriots (60/1), starting a football dynasty that still reigns over the NFL to this day. You may find some value in the low expectations through the Win Totals markets. Betting on teams with a win total of 7 or less has gone 82–68–10 (55%), cashing more tickets than losing, but still around breakeven due to the higher vig charged on these bets.
Odds provided by SportsOddsHistory.com