New England has not only gotten into the super bowl hot betting conversation, but they also have Bill Belichick as their favorite for Coach of the Year.
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have officially rejoined the discussion. Four straight wins, including a win over a bona fide contender at the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, have created a legitimate championship expectation for the Chiefs, and promise that they have solved some of their recent problems, particularly on defense.
Options for the Super BowlRELATED
Kansas City (+750) is the second seed, after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+600), and it certainly had some attractive value a month ago at 13-1 odds. In my eyes, the Chiefs still look very careless, and Mahomes is still not the incredible version that won the MVP award in 2018. But the defense, who has not given up more than 17 points per game in this streak of four weeks, it has shown drastic improvement.
The Patriots have won, and covered the line, in five consecutive weeks, generating interest among bettors. AP Photo
With five consecutive wins and covered lines, the New England Patriots (15-1) could be the best team in the AFC. Bill Belichick is pushing the right buttons on defense, and rookie Mac Jones continues to evolve as a respectable quarterback. The Pats are now in first place in the AFC East, with two games remaining against the Buffalo Bills.
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After their surprise win at Buffalo, the Indianapolis Colts (30-1) look like a team that is destined for the playoffs. A week ago, I supported a play at 30-1 to win the conference, and they confirmed that potential with a win at ‘The Ralph.’
The NFC still feels like a mess at the top, but the Arizona Cardinals (+900) flexed the muscle again, improving to 2-1 without Kyler Murray. The Los Angeles Rams (+850) have shorter odds, but the Cardinals are well positioned to win the division, and perhaps even take the top spot in the conference seed.
Tampa Bay snapped its two-game losing streak, and apparently has the easiest reigning schedule. Still, the Bucs are 0-5 against the road this season, so let’s not get excited about a home win against a New York Giants side without a competent quarterback.
Futures for the Super Bowl
Tampa Bay Buccaneers + 600 Kansas City Chiefs + 750 Buffalo Bills + 800 Los Angeles Rams + 850 Arizona Cardinals + 900 Green Bay Packers + 1000 Dallas Cowboys + 1100 Baltimore Ravens + 1200 New England Patriots + 1500 Tennessee Titans +1800
Most Valuable Player Options
Is anyone else regretting not taking Mahomes at 60-1 a couple of weeks ago? He is now a fifth seed at 9-1 odds, and he could continue his streak. That’s because the AFC is wide open, so Kansas City can actually still secure a top two spot in the seed, which has typically been a requirement for a quarterback who wins the MVP award.
It’s hard to find courage with someone else, for now. Tom Brady (+275) is rightfully the favorite, but the other top-ranked teams in the NFC either lost, or were without their star quarterback. As for the AFC, Mahomes delivered, but Josh Allen (6-1) and Lamar Jackson (13-1) did not advance their campaigns. Let’s not even begin to legitimize rookie Mac Jones (300-1) as a candidate.
Following that line, we must also hit the brakes with Jonathan Taylor (20-1). For me, it is an absurd notion. I agree that he will lead the league on the ground, and that he is a crucial part of Indy’s offense. He’s a running back, though, and they just don’t usually get the love quarterbacks are used to. Eventually, a quarterback from one of the top two seeds is going to consolidate.
It would take Taylor at 35-1 or higher to be even remotely interested in a bet. Obviously, scoring five touchdowns in a game is incredible, and if you keep doing it, you will deserve the award. But I’m going to risk assuring that that kind of production won’t continue. To say he’s the MVP so far is laughable, considering Indy isn’t even a playoff team now. Projecting it to earn the distinction is another conversation, but one I’m not willing to have, yet.
Most Valuable Player Favorites
Tom Brady + 275Josh Allen + 600Aaron Rodgers + 800Dak Prescott + 850Patrick Mahomes + 900Matthew Stafford + 900Justin Herbert + 1200Kyler Murray + 1300Lamar Jackson + 1300Jonathan Taylor +2000
Other prizes to consider
The Coach of the Year award appears to be down to three types. I ran for Belichick at the start of the season at 18-1, and even at 12-1 last week. In DraftKings, Belichick is the second seed at +500, behind Kliff Kingsbury (+400). Mike Vrabel (+600) has done a remarkable job, but could fade in the race if Tennessee suffers down the stretch without the injured Derrick Henry. I think Belichick eventually wins it because he will get all the credit for a solid defense, and developing a rookie quarterback. He can still win it, even if New England qualifies for the postseason as a wild-card team.
I’ve mentioned it previously, but it’s hard to imagine Dak Prescott not winning the Comeback of the Year award. It is at -400 now on DraftKings. Playing with that kind of odds is never attractive, but a serious injury is the only thing that will prevent this bet from cashing. Joe Burrow (+600) and James Conner (10-1) could conceivably earn this recognition, but it’s going to take too much.