The football stadium is barely empty after the Super Bowl by the time that the Super Bowl futures are posted for the next NFL season. These ridiculously early numbers are entertaining and often informative. On very rare occasions they could even be worth betting a couple of bucks on. Most times, though, you really don’t want to invest in them at all. Here are six factors to consider when looking at Super Bowl futures soon after they are posted:
What teams are getting heavy hype? – Every year there will be a few football teams that get heavily hyped early on. One of those will obviously be the Super Bowl champion – especially if they won in impressive fashion. A team that had a strong playoff run and seems to be on a strong arc of improvement will get a lot of attention, too. So will the highly public teams – especially if those teams are playing well and people have reasons to believe that they are going to be strong again next year. Oddsmakers are going to have a strong sense of which teams are getting hyped, and will set the odds accordingly. That means that the odds for these NFL teams are likely to be relatively low, and there isn’t going to be a whole lot of value in these players for the NFL football bettor.
What teams aren’t likely to change? – The offseason is often a time of significant change for teams. When a team isn’t likely to change, though, then it becomes much easier to assess where they are at, what can be expected of them, and whether that is reflected sufficiently in the price available for them. This is typically the case of football teams that are building around a young, strong core, and which is showing a lot of progress towards their goals. In those cases patience is more important than huge changes, and the front office isn’t likely to risk making big changes that could disrupt their progress.
Which teams are going to go under big changes? – This is the obvious counterpoint to the last point. When you look at some teams you just know that they are going to look much different when the NFL season starts than they do now. It could be that they have too many free agents and aren’t going to be able to sign all of them. Or perhaps the quarterback is old, or ineffective, and a new starter will be under center. Maybe there are significant retirements looming. Maybe the changes are off the field – a new coaching staff, a key coordinator or assistant leaving to coach elsewhere, or a new front office that will look to implement their priorities. The more changes a team is likely to go through the tougher it is to assess what they are actually going to look like next season. That means that it is harder to know whether the odds make sense or not. Betting on these teams would just be gambling because you just have to guess what is likely to happen.
What divisions are going to change significantly? – Teams are heavily reliant on the teams around them. They play each team in their division twice, so the strength of the division can have a big impact on the record of the team and their playoff fate. The strength of the division, then – and the stability of those teams heading into next season – can have a big impact on how attractive a team’s futures are.
Which teams should take a step forward? – This is a simple question, but an important one. Only one team won the Super Bowl, so every other team needs to improve if they want to win it next year. Some NFL teams need to improve only a little, while others would have to take a massive step forward. Two factors need to be considered by the NFL handicapper, then. First, whether a team is likely to take a move forward next season. Second, if the likelihood of that improvement is reflected in the odds.
Which odds are likely to fall significantly? – Sometimes the best reason to bet on these football odds is that they are significantly better than they are likely to be closer to the NFL season. If you really like the team, then, you might find that the increased risk of betting now is more than compensated for by the inflated odds. The opposite of this is also true – if the odds are likely to rise for a team then it obviously wouldn’t make sense to bet on the team now because the potential return will be better, and the risk less, down the road.