9 Best Teams In The NFL (According To Vegas)
In theory, no one should have a better sense of the state of the NFL than Vegas, bookies, and the rest of the gambling community. They’re supposedly cold, calculating enterprises that treat the drama of sports in no higher regard than any other investment opportunity.
While the bookies and sports books may be managed to within an inch of their lives, remember that their job isn’t to pick the winners or guess the outcome. Their job is to make sure that bets are hedged, and that both sides of a proposition are bet equally.
Essentially, the accuracy of sports books are often no better than the accuracy of the mouthbreathers that are taking their action. That said, it’s not like you have a better system, so see what Vegas has to say about the 2014 season.
(While there are tons of different ways to gauge a team’s ranking or quality, I’m comfortable just using the Super Bowl odds to see who the best is. The most likely team is the best, the least likely is the worst. Not the most dynamic system, but we’re not statisticians.
Justin Tuck’s face mask should be enough to get them on this list. But if that’s not enough, let’s toss in Eli Manning’s recent history as a championship quarterback, a dodgy division, and the leadership of Tom “Chuckles” Coughlin, and these guys are looking strong enough to make the cut. They haven't exactly sold anyone on a trophy. Not yet, anyway. But a Giants Super Bowl (in the Meadowlands, no less) is certaily possible.
9. New York Giants (26-1)
After losing their coach and their luster for an entire season due to league punishments for an instituted bounty system, the Saints are back with Sean Payton, and, consequently, hope. There’s hope in their running game, especially now that Payton’s back, but their defense let up 7,000 yards last year, THE WORST IN NFL HISTORY. I know Payton’s back, but that’s a big hole to fill.
8. New Orleans Saints (20-1)
Houston has been flirting with greatness for a while, even stepping up to the podium every so often, only to slink back down. While they haven’t made the leap, there’s no doubt that they’re teetering on once again being an elite team, and their ranking here demonstrates as much. Would the Texans winning the Superbowl be a shock? Surely. But when you look at the numbers, it shouldn't be all that stunning.
7. Houston Texans (16-1)
There’s little doubt that the Falcons will be an offensive powerhouse, but the adage goes that offense will only get you halfway there. No one’s doubting the Falcons are a playoff team, but they’re going to need to fit in a few more pieces, especially their rookies, to give the top dogs a run for their money.
6. Atlanta Falcons (15-1)
Aaron Rodgers is considered by many to have proven himself to be the best in the game right now, and there’s little doubt that Green Bay is going be a successful team this year. However, to go from great to the best, they’ll need Randall Cobb to step up and be their go-to guy. And they’ll need a defense that can adapt a little better to variations like the 49ers read option.
5. Green Bay Packers (12-1)
Subjectively, it’s hard to say if the Pats deserve to be here, or if old habits die hard, and fans and gamblers alike refuse to believe that they’re not still in the mix. With the loss of one tight end to what appears to be the commission of a bunch of murders, the loss of another in the preseason to injury, an aging Tom Brady, and a thinner receiving corps, it’s hard to maintain expectations. Except you try not to bet against Belichick unless you really have to. The man has evil superpowers when it comes to football strategy.
4. TIE – New England Patriots (15-2)
Then we’ve got a squad helmed by a guy who didn’t really get much done in Boston, Pete Carroll. He has managed to raise Seattle’s profile nationally in very short order thanks to some gutsy drafting, a return to several USC players that had been written off, and the breakout performance of Russell Wilson. They’re favorites to take the division, but it’s anyone’s guess after that.
3. TIE – Seattle Seahawks (15-2)
Much of San Francisco’s squad wasn't really up for discussion this preseason, which could have been a blessing or a curse. If your team sucks, then you’re stuck with it. If your team had an impressive and somewhat surprising run under a fresh new quarterback, then you’ve gotta like the way things are going. Harbaugh has shown he knows what he’s doing, so as long as the front office kept things more or less as they were, they will continue to trend upward, which is pretty impressive considering how they ended last year.
2. San Francisco 49ers (7-1)
Never count out a Manning. Despite a weak start by both the quarterback and the team as a whole, it didn’t take long to remind the league that he was still Peyton Manning, just with different horse iconography on his helmet. As a result of more familiarity, the acquisition of former Brady fave Wes Welker, and gamblers voting with their hearts, it’s no surprise to find this Mile High team in the pole position going into the season. Disagree? Blame Vegas.