Super Bowl Value (01/06/16)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Which team should you bet to win the Super Bowl?



The NFL Playoffs are upon us. Before Wild Card Weekend kicks off, which of the twelve remaining teams is worth betting to win the Super Bowl?

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win Super Bowl and compare that to our projected odds that they lift the Lombardi Trophy. For example, Arizona is listed at 7/2 to win it all, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Cardinals they would need to capture the championship 22.3% (which is 2/(2+7)) of the time. We project Arizona to win it all 22.3% of the time, meaning there is slight value in placing a bet at 7/2 odds.

Denver Broncos
Current odds: 10/1, Chance needed in order to place a wager: 9.1%
Denver wins the Super Bowl 14.7% of the time

Should the Broncos start Peyton Manning or stick with Brock Osweiler? For the purposes of this bet it doesn't matter. With Manning starting the AFC's top overall seed has the third best chance to win the Super Bowl. If Osweiler were to start Denver would still have a 10.6% chance to win, which is good enough to return value at 10/1 odds. The real reason you are making this wager is because of the Broncos No. 1 rated defense.

Houston Texans
Current odds: 66/1, Chance needed in order to place a wager: 1.5%
Houston wins the Super Bowl 2.8% of the time

If you like longshots look no further than the Texans. Houston won the AFC South on the strength of its defense. J.J. Watt anchors a unit that boasts eight former first round draft picks and is sixth in defensive pass efficiency and 13th in defensive rush efficiency. The Texans are technically the worst AFC team in the playoffs but they get a nice matchup at home against Kansas City. The Chiefs haven't won a road playoff game since the 1993-94 season.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Current odds: 16/1, Chance needed in order to place a wager: 5.9%
Pittsburgh wins the Super Bowl 6.3% of the time

The team no one wants to play. When Pittsburgh is clicking offensively that statement is true. Big Ben, Antonio Brown, DeAngelo Williams (when healthy), Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton create nightmare matchup problems for opposing defenses. The Steelers are going to have to win four consecutive games away from Heinz Field to win the Super Bowl. That will be tough but it's also why you are getting them at 16/1 odds.

Team Odds Implied Chance Projected Chance
Arizona Cardinals 7/2 22.2% 22.3%
New England Patriots 7/2 22.2% 11.2%
Carolina Panthers 5/1 16.7% 16.1%
Seattle Seahawks 15/2 11.8% 11.2%
Denver Broncos 10/1 9.1% 14.7%
Kansas City Chiefs 14/1 6.7% 4.9%
Pittsburgh Steelers 16/1 5.9% 6.3%
Green Bay Packers 16/1 5.9% 3.1%
Cincinnati Bengals 18/1 5.3% 5.3%
Minnesota Vikings 33/1 2.9% 1.2%
Washington Redskins 50/1 2.0% 1.1%
Houston Texans 66/1 1.5% 2.8%