The coming of the new NFL season marks the dawn of a new day, but bookmakers are predicting the same old story.
The 2014 NFL season ended in very unpredictable fashion. While the fact that the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks met in the Super Bowl was a surprise to no one, most expected Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to win his second-career Super Bowl ring in what was certain to have been on his last seasons.
The outcome was far from expected, with the Seahawks humiliating the Broncos 43-8. Manning’s performance was so futile that even his past achievements were called into question by some pundits.
After the game the league settled into its normal offseason routine; free agency and the draft sprinkled with a few trades and coaching changes. With training camp set to start in just two weeks and the regular season barely more than a month away, it’s important to take a look at how the pecking order has changed. Luckily for us, online sportsbooks in Canada and the UK have already done that.
Bookies expect a rematch
• Bet365 and BetVictor are both favoring the Seattle Seahawks to repeat as Super Bowl champions in 2015
• We predict that the Denver Broncos will win in a rematch of last year’s final game
• The Houston Texans - last year’s worst team will be much improved Almost all bookmakers have Denver and Seattle at the top of their boards once again. Neither team made any huge moves in the offseason, but neither team needed to. They were both so dominant that all they do is repeat their 2013-14 performance and they should be right back up their next year.
Bet365 has the Seahawks favored at 11/2 and the Broncos and New England Patriots tied a 13/2. BetVictor also has the Seahawks at 11/2 followed by the Broncos at 6/1 and San Francisco 49es at 7/1.
Our Pick: The Seahawks and Broncos look like the league’s top two teams once again, but when was the last time a rematch occurred? 1994, when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills for the second consecutive year. Don’t expect that to happen this time around.
The Hawks are expected to fly again
As seen in the odds above, both major bookmakers expect the Seattle Seahawks to win their second straight Super Bowl. How likely does that look? On paper, their team is just as good as it was last year, if not better.
Star running back Marshawn Lynch has refused to play until the team grants him a larger contract and defensive stud Bruce Irvin is injured and will miss the start of the season, but overall the team is loaded and quarterback Russell Wilson should continue to improve in only his third NFL season.
Our Pick: The Seahawks look like the league’s best team again, but winning the Super Bowl twice in a row isn’t easy. The last team to do it was New England ten years ago. We’re putting our money on the Broncos earning redemption.
Indianapolis rises with Andrew Luck
Three years ago Peyton Manning was still with the Indianapolis Colts, an ageing team without much talent outside of him. He tore up his shoulder, missing almost the entire season and causing the Colts to tumble from a playoff team to having the leagues’ worst record.
Manning was traded to Denver and Indy used the first overall pick to take Andrew Luck, their next franchise-saving quarterback. In 2012 and 2013 he almost single-handedly took them to the playoffs. Now that they’ve surrounded him with some talent, what are the chances that he takes them to the Super Bowl?
The odds are as follows: Bet365 has Indy at 22/1 with BetVictor giving them slightly better odds at 20/1. That puts them in the second-tier but not too far off from the top. The NFL is a deep league; any team in the top half has a chance of winning the Super Bowl.
Our Pick: The Colts are rightfully not a favorite to win the Super Bowl in 2015, but they should be considered a dark horse candidate. We would advise you to place a modest bet with them. Your chances of winning may be small, but the potential payout is huge.
The Houston Texans are getting some respect
Last year the Texans finished with the NFL worst record at 2-14 just one year after making the playoffs. Their coach and quarterback were fired. Going into 2014 they have a new quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick), coach (Bill O’ Brien) and defensive cornerstone (first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney).
While the Texans don’t look like Super Bowl contenders, they were a much more talented team than they appeared to be last year and have made a lot of improvements in the offseason.
Oddsmakers are picking up on this, bringing the Texans up from the bottom and putting them in them in the middle of the pack. Both Bet365 and BetVictor are giving them 40/1 odds of winning the Super Bowl in 2015.
Our Pick: Putting your money on Houston to win the Super Bowl would be a huge mistake. Online and mobile betting sites offer other wagers, however. Taking a more modest line, for example picking them to win the AFC South division, may not be a bad idea.