How the NFC Betting Odds Stack Up to Win Super Bowl 50
The wild card round of the playoffs narrowed the field of teams remaining in the NFC side of the bracket to four. Minnesota came within a chip-shot field goal of knocking off the Seahawks, but Blair Walsh inexplicably hooked a 27-yard field goal wide left, letting Seattle up off the mat and sending the Vikings home. The Washington Redskins ran out to an early 11-0 lead, including a sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for a safety, but then the Packers found their offensive stride again and rolled to a 35-18 win. Let’s take a look at the betting odds of the four teams still standing in the NFC.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 13, 2016
Betting on the Arizona Cardinals (3/1)
Carson Palmer has bucked the odds to have a career year, coming back from two different ACL tears to post the most passing yards he has ever thrown, going over 4,600 yards for the season. Their defense has been particularly stout as well. In Week 16, this team gave us a preview of the coming attractions in the playoffs by delivering a 38-8 pounding of the Green Bay Packers (their opponents in the divisional round this weekend as well). It would be foolish to make a lot out of the Cards’ 36-6 loss to Seattle in Week 17, for several reasons: the Cardinals were not really into the game, as it could not influence their playoff position; Carson Palmer was going to take to the bench at halftime no matter what, according to head coach Bruce Arians. A rested Cardinals team should deliver another win at home against those Packers and then has more experience on both sides of the ball should they face the Panthers in the NFC championship.
Betting on the Carolina Panthers (4/1)
Even though the Panthers had the best season record at 15-1, they also got to play in an NFC South that really didn’t feature much in the way of competition. Their loss came on the road against the Falcons, a team that was much better in terms of talent than their record indicated, and they finished the season coming back together at the right time, but the Panthers had a much easier schedule than the Cardinals. Cam Newton is deserving of the league’s MVP award, but Ron Rivera has to worry about overconfidence and focus being issues for his team, as they began to creep up in the Week 15 near-loss to the Giants, took center stage in the Week 16 loss to Atlanta and almost caused havoc again in Week 17. That’s the only reason why Arizona has a slight edge here.
Betting on the Seattle Seahawks (6/1)
Given the fact that the Seahawks were on the edge of losing their wild card game to the Vikings, this is a little surprising to me. I think that the Seahawks do a lot of things well, but the Vikings don’t have the most solid defense in the world — and they almost took the Seahawks out of the playoffs. Russell Wilson will have his hands full against a swarming Panthers defense, and if Marshawn Lynch can’t play this week either, the running game will be hampered significantly — Christine Michael is nowhere near Lynch’s equivalent.
Betting on the Green Bay Packers (18/1)
The Packers looked more impressive than the Seahawks did in the wild card round, particularly in the second half. The Redskins have a game defense, but the Packers simply did whatever they wanted once Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy found their rhythm, and the team moved up and down the field at will. Even so, a patchwork offensive line will leave the Packers in all sorts of trouble against a Cardinals defense that attacks both the running game and the passer.