Fun article over at SB Nation on national championship odds in college football for this season. The question the folks were trying to answer was what is the smallest number of teams you could group together to give you a 50/50 (or better) shot of containing the eventual champion? As it turns out, most people thought “taking the top five or six teams presents close to a fair wagering opportunity.”
What about in the NFL? Well, despite the presence of nearly 100 fewer teams, the answer is about the same. The Patriots, Packers, Panthers, Steelers, Seahawks, and Cardinals form the upper crust of the NFL, at least according to Vegas odds. Together, that group has about a 50% chance of containing the Super Bowl 51 champion.
Take a look at the odds from Football Locks, which is pretty similar to the odds at other places. Here’s how to read the table below: The Patriots have 15/2 odds, which translates to 1 out of 8.5, or 11.8%. That includes a vig, tho, and if we remove the vig from each team, that drops the Patriots odds to 9.9%, which is a better approximation of New England’s real odds. I then sorted the teams in the NFL by that number, and calculated the cumulative Super Bowl percentage — after six teams, it’s pretty close to a 50/50 proposition.
|Team||Odds||Implied %||W/o Vig||Cumulative|
|New England Patriots||15/2||11.8%||9.9%||9.9%|
|Green Bay Packers||17/2||10.5%||8.8%||18.7%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||23/1||4.2%||3.5%||69.7%|
|New York Giants||30/1||3.2%||2.7%||75.6%|
|New York Jets||60/1||1.6%||1.4%||87.6%|
|Los Angeles Rams||65/1||1.5%||1.3%||88.9%|
|New Orleans Saints||65/1||1.5%||1.3%||90.2%|
|San Diego Chargers||80/1||1.2%||1%||96.9%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||80/1||1.2%||1%||97.9%|
|San Francisco 49ers||100/1||1%||0.8%||98.8%|
So, what do you think? Would you take the top 6 teams or the field?
The last 3 years, a heavy Super Bowl favorite has won it all. In 2013, the Seahawks had the 3rd best odds at 17/2; the next year, the Patriots were at 8/1, tied with San Francisco for the 3rd best odds. And last year, the Broncos were 7th at 12 to 1, but that still put them in tier 1 (the next team was at 25/1). But back in 2012, the Ravens were at 18/1 to win the Super Bowl from Bovada in early August; that made them one of 4 teams tied for having the 9th best odds. The year before, the Giants were 25/1 in early August, good enough for 12th place.