I’m looking at Bovada’s Super Bowl Odds. Here are what they look like:
New England +200 Dallas +400 Green Bay +700 Pittsburgh +800 Kansas City +950 Atlanta +950 New York +1200 Seattle +1400 Oakland +6600 Detroit +6600 Miami +6600 Houston +6600
A lot hinges on the individual matchups, obviously, but right now I would say the best bet — or the best bang for your buck — lies with Green Bay (7:1) or Pittsburgh (8:1). In all fairness I think it would be a mild upset if the Patriots didn’t win it all again, and there are worse bets than 2-to-1 to get your money in. Right now, I will predict a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl.
Pittsburgh, I believe, is the only team in the AFC with the firepower on offense to win on the road in New England. The Chiefs could certainly make a game of it, but then again I’m expecting the Steelers to beat the Dolphins in the Wild Card Round, which would create a Pitt-KC Division Round game. I like the Steelers to win that on the road, but by a much closer margin than the 43-14 beatdown they laid on the Chiefs in Week 4.
In the NFC, who really knows? My instincts tell me, to spite the fantastic regular season they had, that the Cowboys are not long for the playoffs. So if that means that Seattle, or New York, or Green Bay has to do it, then fine. In most cases during the postseason I’ll take the more talented quarterback. And I’m inclined to roll with Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning or Russell Wilson over Dak Prescott. I don’t dislike the Cowboys or anything, I just think this is not their time quite yet.
A couple months ago I slurped up Duke as the best team in the country. Per Bovada they opened at 7:2 to win the National Championship before the year started; the next-best odds went Kansas (9-to-1) and Kentucky (10-to-1).
I’ve already written about Grayson Allen and his childish antics, but one more wrench got tossed in what has become a particularly interesting Duke season: Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski will miss the next month after having surgery on his back. Ever optimistic, I wrote my dad the other day via email, saying:
I still think Grayson + Coach K make Duke the favorites come March, but this has turned into an interesting little stretch. It’s conceivable that Duke nosedives all the way down to a 4 or 5 seed if they lose, say, another 7 or 8 games. (Again, doesn’t mean anything during the tournament, but pretty funny considering they are the clear-cut most talented team this year.)
The most important part of that block comes at the end. The regular season means very little in college basketball. Ideally you just want all your players healthy come tournament time, and hope that they are playing their best basketball of the season at that point.
So it comes as no real surprise, to me anyway, that even without the best player in the country, and even without the best coach in the country for a third of the season, Duke is still the favorite (albeit a co-favorite, along with UCLA) to win the damn thing. The Blue Devils opened at 7:2, and they are down to 5:1.
Edit: When I wrote this, Grayson Allen was still suspended. But tonight he was in the starting lineup against Georgia Tech, meaning his “indefinite” suspension due to criminal behavior on the basketball court lasted all of one whole game. Pretty embarrassing for Duke.
As a betting man, I would never take Duke (or UCLA, for that matter) at 5-to-1 against the field. To even wet my appetite I would need at least 10:1, and even that is a pretty bad bet considering the uncertainty surrounding the Devils right now.
With that said, if I was going to put my money on any one team, I would have a hard time not taking the talent. And the talent is still with Duke.