An Early Look at 2014 NFL Odds
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - The Super Bowl is over and so is the 2013 season, but one thing you might want to look at is early betting for the 2014 season or Super Bowl XLIX.
The Seattle Seahawks had the youngest team in the NFL and they basically got to the big game without two of their best receivers: Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice. Rice tore his ACL and hasn't been a huge factor in his three-year career, catching 97 passes for 1,463 yards in 33 games. Harvin showed in the Super Bowl what kind of playmaker he can be when healthy, which is rare. If both players are healthy most of the season, Seattle can be absolutely scary as Seattle opened up as 9-2 favorites from Bovada to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
But are there better values out there? Is is wise to pick a team before free agency and the NFL Draft?
One of the better values is Green Bay at 16-1. The Packers would have been one of the tops seeds in the NFC had Aaron Rodgers not broken his collarbone. They also All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji due to injuries. They play in the NFC North, which features Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago. They have talent but don't have Rodgers and are not as well-coached. They also have an up-and-coming young running back in Eddie Lacy.
It's also interesting to see teams like Pittsburgh (33-1) and Baltimore (40-1) so low on the totem pole when both were a game away from making the playoffs. The Steelers had some devastating injuries on the offense line and should be improved this year, especially with a full season for running back Le'veon Bell. Baltimore just picked up Gary Kubiak to run their offense, replacing Jim Caldwell who became the Lions' head coach. Taking these teams this early would be a risk because they need some help in the draft and free agency. But good organizations usually bounce back from tough seasons and unlike Denver, they both play physical brands of football.
As for the Denver Broncos (8-1), they will likely lose Eric Decker, who did nothing in the Super Bowl and running back Knowshon Moreno. He's one of the toughest running backs in the NFL, but with Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman just drafted the last two seasons, the Broncos could probably afford to let him go. As long as Manning is back, this is not a bad bet, but it's probably smarter to wait and see what he does. The Denver defense will also get back Von Miller, but their secondary is mediocre and they showed that they were outmuscled and out-quicked by a more athletic team against Seattle. The competition in the weak AFC caught up with them.
Another possible NFC contender is Carolina at 25-1. This is a young team that is probably a few players away in taking the whole thing. Quarterback Cam Newton could use more weapons and it's possible they can get that in the draft and in free agency. Their defense is not far away from Seattle's as linebacker Luke Kuechly is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Newton made big strides this season and if he takes another step, look out. They can be right there with Seattle, Green Bay and San Francisco (15-2) as teams to beat in the NFC.
Betting the Super Bowl this early is a smart move if you're practical and have the cash left in your bankroll from this past season. Don't wager something you can't afford but if you see a good value, you could be sitting here next season, collecting thousands because you made that early bet on a longshot.