We’re not even one week removed from last Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI – you know, the one where the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots – and already, odds for next year’s Super Bowl have been released. It’s next to impossible to cull any true insight from the odds at this point – to pick which teams are overvalued and which would be good bets. After all, there’s a long off-season of re-signings, free agency, new draftees and injuries that has to happen before we know each team’s final roster… and all of that hasn’t even started yet!
So why even try to analyze these ridiculously-early Super Bowl odds, then? Because some of the details in the projections provide an interesting water cooler topic of conversation.
Take, for example, our hometown Philadelphia Eagles and one of their biggest rivals, the Giants. The MGM Grand Las Vegas ranks the Eagles as the second biggest favorite in the NFC at 6-to-1, behind only the Green Bay Packers (11-to-2). The Eagles are also tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the third biggest favorite in the entire NFL.
The Giants, meanwhile, rank right behind the Eagles, with odds of 8-to-1. And that makes complete sense, right? The Giants are only the defending Super Bowl champions, while the Eagles finished last season with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs. Does this seem weird to anyone else?
The Vegas oddsmakers obviously don’t have much love for the G-Men. The New England Patriots, the team the Giants just beat for the Lombardi Trophy last Sunday, are the overall favorites to win the 2013 title, going off at 5-to-1.
At best, “futures bets” like these Super Bowl odds are one-third analysis of the previous season (results, whether a team over- or under-performed, etc.), one-third analysis of the future season (players returning from injury, strength of schedule, etc.) and one-third pure speculation (what teams draft best or are active in free agency, etc.). What these odds clearly say to me, though, is that Vegas believes the Eagles were big-time underachievers this past season, while the Giants were the classic “got-hot-at-the-right-time” team.
Are the Vegas pundits onto something? History would tell us that maybe they are…
• Before this season, the last time the Eagles missed the playoffs was in 2007, when, ironically, they went 8-8. The following season, they finished 9-6-1, were a Wild Card playoff team and reached the NFC Conference Championship game, losing to the Arizona Cardinals, 32-25.
• The last time the Giants won the Super Bowl was 2008 against, ironically, the New England Patriots. That team won three NFC playoff games on the road before upsetting the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. While they were league champions, not many “experts” gave them respect. The following season, they earned the #1 seed in the NFC, but lost in the playoffs to, who else but the Philadelphia Eagles.
Will history repeat itself in 2012, with Philly finishing better than New York? Eagles fans, as well as head coach Andy Reid, can only hope that it won’t just repeat itself, but will be even better for the Philly team.