Why The NFL Betting Odds Are Stacked Against The Preseason Favorites

With the NFL season right around the corner, now is the time for sports betting fans to get their preseason futures wagers locked in. There are betting odds available for everything from passing yards and rushing touchdowns in terms of player props, while the actual props offer NFL fans a chance to bet on everything from division winners to season win totals. While searching for the best possible value we came across an interesting phenomena that is worth consideration before making your NFL preseason prop bets. Here is a look at why the NFL betting odds are stacked against the preseason favorites.

The Curse

The phenomena that we noticed has to do with the NFL preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl and the fact that they have for the most part gone on to be major busts. Consider that dating back to 2001, only one preseason Super Bowl favorite has actually gone on to win the Lombardi trophy. The Indianapolis Colts’ 2006 championship is the lone exception to the rule as they were the preseason favorites at +700 and went on to beat the Chicago Bears in Peyton Manning’s first of two Super Bowl wins. However, 15 of the last 16 preseason Super Bowl favorites actually went on to fall short of reaching that ultimate goal.

The Cause

There isn’t any one reason for the preseason favorites failing to deliver Super Bowl wins. Obviously, there are individual factors that impact how a term performs throughout the course of a season but it is worth exploring the additional pressures put on Super Bowl favorites. The teams that are expected to perform at the highest level can often fall short based on whether or not they play to their potential and there are plenty of examples of this over the last couple of decades. The most skilled team doesn’t necessarily go on to win the Super Bowl every year. In fact, there is so much parity in football that coming out on top usually comes down to some combination of skill, depth, coaching and peaking at the right time. The pattern of preseason Super Bowl favorites failing to deliver represents a strong enough trend to explore potential causes but there is also something to the fact that if you had to choose between the favorite or the field of 31 other teams you are more likely to take the field anyways.


One approach you could take in regards to the trend of preseason Super Bowl favorites coming short almost every year is finding the best value based on the numbers. For example, the bulk of the eventual Super Bowl winners had odds between +1000 and +3000 over the last decade, which gives us a reference point off which to base our picks. The New England Patriots are listed as this year’s Super Bowl favorite at +800 but some sites have them and the Carolina Panthers listed as co-favorites. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals are two intriguing picks as those two teams are listed at +1000 odds to win it all. It can be a lot of fun to invest some money on which team you think will win the Super Bowl this season, just make sure that you take in to consideration that the odds are stacked against the preseason favorites.

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