The Patriots opened as favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2013 with 5-1 odds.
As we emerge from the darkness of the past few weeks, the degenerate gamblers among us are comforted by the fact that we can gamble on football again. It's not much, but it's slightly better than spending every free moment sitting alone in a darkened room while listening to Air Supply. Slightly.
Four teams had 6-1 odds or better (New England, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia). I'm normally not one for futures bets, but this one looks enticing simply because New England is lumped together with a team with no defense or running game, a team with an aging patchwork defense and no running game, and a team with no NFL-quality linebackers and whose quarterback plays an average of around 4 full games per year. In this case, a bet for the Pats is more of a vote against the other top teams than a vote of confidence in New England.
With that said, there are plenty of reasons the Pats rightly should be favored. The next-best QB to Brady in the division is Fitzpatrick, and the schedule is favorable with the NFC West and AFC South on tap. Barring significant injury, the Patriots will have the inside track to the top seed in the AFC for a third straight year. And given a full offseason with Belichick, a defense that improved in the second half of the season could see at least incremental progress.
Given these factors, I like the Pats at 5-1 … compared to the rest of the field. However, there is rarely much value in taking the favorite on a future’s bet. This case is no exception. We still have an entire offseason of things that can go horribly wrong for the Pats or go horribly right for New England’s AFC rivals. And really, who wants to have their money tied up for an entire year? If I know me, I'd lose and rediscover that gambling slip a dozen times between now and next February, and that assumes the best case scenario of my cat not mistaking it for a chew toy. I’d advise keeping your powder dry on this one. But if you absolutely must make a wager now to quell the inner gambling demon within you, the Pats present the best value among the top 4 or 5 teams on the board.