The NFL Playoffs are one of the most gambled on sporting events in the world.
At the beginning of each season, 32 teams have a chance of playing on that last Sunday in February. After Week 17, there are only six teams remaining from each conference. Four will wait until the Divisional Playoffs to make their Super Bowl statements, but the other eight will battle in either five or six days on Wild Card Weekend.
The once undefeated teams (Vikings and Saints) remain the Super Bowl favorites according to Bodog.com, but have you ever wondered what those exact odds were?
For non-gamblers, the odds are really a non-factor, they usually base the best team based on record. In most cases, that's how Las Vegas and the off-shore sites have put the numbers together.
As of Monday, Jan. 4, 2010-2:04pm CST:
Odds To Win the NFC Championship
New Orleans Saints
= 5/4 or (bet $100 to win $125)
Considering the Saints lost their last three games of the season, this is a very low and risky number. They are the current betting favorite in the NFC, but taking this short of odds on a team that is not playoff-tested would be throwing away your money.
= 5/2 or (bet $100 to win $250)
Personally, the Vikings should be the favorite in the NFC with their playoff experience at the quarterback position and across the board. Super Bowl teams typically either have a superb passing game or a dominating running attack. Minnesota can attack you with both; that makes them the most versatile team in the NFC. If they need to run they'll run, if they need to pass they'll pass.
The key will be how well the defense plays. Jared Allen, The Williams Wall, and the secondary all need to step up, and they will be playing in the end.
= 11/2 (bet $100 to win $450)
The Cowboys are the most interesting Wild Card team playing in the NFC. The talent they put on the field can be considered just as good or better than the Vikings, Saints, or Eagles.
If they can shed the playoff woes of the past decade and then some, the Cowboys can make a run at the Super Bowl. They would have a significant advantage over Minnesota. The Vikings offensive line has been their biggest problem, and Dallas' defensive line is one of the best in the league.
Dallas fans know the only team they can play in round two is Minnesota. If Anthony Herrera and Bryant McKinnie play like they have in Minnesota's four road losses then the Dallas Cowboys will end the Vikings season in the Divisional Playoffs.
The reason I don't like Dallas is that Minnesota is 8-0 at home. The dome is loud and those two linemen have played like Pro-Bowlers in the Metrodome.
= 8/1 or (bet $100 to win $800)
Considering that they just got dominated by Dallas in an important seeding game, this number is also a little low for my taking. Most people are relying on the fact that Andy Reid has taken the Eagles to the NFC Championship five times over the past seven years. They have only won one of those games.
Tough number to risk $100 on after they just got dismantled by Tony Romo. The more troubling thing was how Dallas' defense just handled Donovan McNabb and DeSean Jackson.
Green Bay Packers
= 9/1 or (bet $100 to win $900)
A lot of betting wonks love to ride the hot pony, and the Packers have to be considered exactly that. Green Bay has won six of their past seven, their only loss coming in Pittsburgh in their home finale. They also lost on a miracle last second pass.
If you dismiss that game and the two losses to Minnesota, the Packers would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Now you can't do that because they did lose those games, but the most likely scenario would take Green Bay to New Orleans in the Divisional Playoffs.
Because of the way in which both Green Bay's offense and defense are clicking right now, they should be considered a legit contender to knock off Drew Brees and the Saints. Wouldn't it be sweet to see another Green Bay-Minnesota matchup in the NFC Championship game?
= 9/1 (bet $100 to win $900)
The defending NFC Champs are the longest shot in the NFC for a reason. They have lost the ability to defend like they did last season. They also were destroyed by their Wild Card Weekend opponents.
It would surprise me if they get by Green Bay. Even though they are at home, Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant have shown the ability to take their offense to new heights. Injuries to Anquan Boldin and some other starters are going to make it a very tough task. The odds of this team should be more like 20/1; I would not take less than that.
Odds To Win the Super Bowl
Arizona Cardinals = 22/1
Dallas Cowboys = 10/1
Green Bay Packers = 22/1
Minnesota Vikings = 7/1
New Orleans Saints = 4/1
Philadelphia Eagles = 16/1
These odds favor the AFC opponent in the matchup in Miami. The Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, and New England Patriots would more than likely be favored over all of these teams in a Super Bowl.
Odds of Potential Super Bowl Matchups
Arizona Cardinals vs. Baltimore Ravens = 100/1
Arizona Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Bengals = 150/1
Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts = 20/1
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Diego Chargers = 20/1
Arizona Cardinals vs. New York Jets = 200/1
Arizona Cardinals vs. New England Patriots = 50/1
Dallas Cowboys vs. Baltimore Ravens = 75/1
Dallas Cowboys vs. Cincinnati Bengals = 100/1
Dallas Cowboys vs. Indianapolis Colts = 12/1
Dallas Cowboys vs. San Diego Chargers = 16/1
Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Jets = 125/1
Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots = 35/1
Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens = 100/1
Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals = 150/1
Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts = 20/1
Green Bay Packers vs. San Diego Chargers = 25/1
Green Bay Packers vs. New York Jets = 200/1
Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots = 60/1
Minnesota Vikings vs. Baltimore Ravens = 40/1
Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals = 60/1
Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts = 6/1
Minnesota Vikings vs. San Diego Chargers = 9/1
Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Jets = 70/1
Minnesota Vikings vs. New England Patriots = 20/1
New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens = 30/1
New Orleans Saints vs. Cincinnati Bengals = 40/1
New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts = 7/2
New Orleans Saints vs. San Diego Chargers = 5/1
New Orleans Saints vs. New York Jets = 45/1
New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots = 13/1
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Baltimore Ravens = 90/1
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals = 125/1
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts = 16/1
Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Diego Chargers = 20/1
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Jets = 175/1
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots = 50/1