Vegas seems to think the Vikings will become the first team to play a Super Bowl at its home stadium.
There are just eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs, which means good news and bad news. The good news is that the Super Bowl, which will be played on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota, is in sight. The bad news is that the majority of NFL fans have already seen their teams knocked out. These fans, however, can still manufacture rooting interest by betting on a team to win the Super Bowl.
The favorite to win this year's Super Bowl is, of course, the Patriots, who hold the AFC's top seed and are just two home wins away from reaching their third Super Bowl in four years. Over in the NFC, the Vikings are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl. If that came to fruition, Minnesota would become the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl at their home stadium.
Here are each team's odds to win the Super Bowl entering the divisional round, along with some insight as to why the odds are the way they are, and if they're worth taking.
New England Patriots +200
Despite all the noise surrounding the Patriots—and there has been a ton since an ESPN article dropped detailing supposed tension within the organization—it's a virtual certainty that the Patriots will play in the AFC Championship Game at home. No disrespect to the Titans, but the Patriots enter the contest as 13.5-point favorites and are coming off a bye week, while Tennessee needed a furious second-half comeback to top the Chiefs. Betting on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl is never a foolish investment, but +200 isn't terrific value when you consider they still have to win three games to get there.
Pittsburgh Steelers +500
Pittsburgh has good value at +500, particularly because Antonio Brown is expected to play without any limitations against the Jaguars on Sunday. Vegas has been tough on the Steelers all season, perhaps because they have the second-highest difference between their actual win total and their Pythagorean Expectation, a measure of how teams should fare based on key statistics. Though the offense hasn't been as consistent as one would like this season, it's still probably the most talented unit in the league, and that defense will be tremendously motivated to win one for Ryan Shazier. At +500, Pittsburgh is worth a shot.
Jacksonville Jaguars +1800
Obviously there's a huge gap between the AFC's top two teams and the two road teams this week, the Jags and Titans. Jacksonville's defense is Super Bowl-quality, there's no debating that, but the oddsmakers simply do not believe Blake Bortles can take a team to the Super Bowl. But the quality of Jacksonville's defense means they have a chance in every game they play in. The Jags have a clear formula that they have to stick to going forward—the defense has to force some takeaways and Bortles cannot turn the ball over. This happening three times in a row isn't impossible—remember Denver's run to the title two years ago—and I like Jacksonville as a long shot.
Tennessee Titans +5000
You might have been impressed by the Titans' comeback from 21-3 down to win 22-21, but Vegas wasn't. As the six seed, the Titans are guaranteed to play on the road even if they somehow pull a monumental upset over the Patriots this weekend. Unless you're a Titans fan or have some money to spare, it's best to stay away .
Minnesota Vikings +375
This Sunday's game against the Saints feels like the biggest hurdle Minnesota will have to overcome in this postseason. If the Vikings can get past the Saints and their diverse offensive attack, Minnesota would be a comfortable favorite over either the Falcons or the Eagles. Look for Minnesota's odds to win the Super Bowl to drop significantly with a win on Sunday. The one reservation here is the quarterback situation—yes, Case Keenum has looked steady as can be all season, but he hasn't played a single down in the postseason in his career. If you fancy the Vikings, get your bets in on them now before the odds get worse after Sunday.
New Orleans Saints +550
The Saints held off the Panthers in a shootout but allowed more than 400 yards of offense to Cam Newton & Co. Still, the oddsmakers respect this Saints team for a couple reasons. One of which is Drew Brees' playoff experience, and another is the fact that good running games—which the Saints have—tend to travel well. With a win over the Vikings on Sunday, the Saints could host the NFC Championship Game should the Falcons also beat the Eagles, which they're favored to do. As is the case with those liking the Vikings, it's best to get your bets in on the Saints before Sunday's matchup.
Atlanta Falcons +700
The Falcons had the biggest change in odds from last week, as Atlanta's 26-13 road win over the Rams forced their odds to win the Super Bowl drop from +2500 to +700. There's good reason to believe in Atlanta—of course, the Falcons have playoff experience, and they're fortunate to draw the Carson Wentz-less Eagles instead of the full-strength Vikings. I can't see Atlanta's odds changing much with a win this weekend, so it might be best to hold off on betting here.
Philadelphia Eagles +1400
Oh, what a difference a quarterback can make. Had Carson Wentz been healthy, the Eagles would have been the favorite to win the NFC and might have been the Super Bowl favorite. But Wentz isn't walking through that door, and Nick Foles has looked shaky in two-plus games as his replacement. While they're the underdog, there's a good chance the Eagles get by the Falcons this weekend, and then they'd be just one home win away from the Super Bowl. Any time you can get the number one seed at +1400 to win the Super Bowl entering the divisional round, it's hard not to take it.