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Looking to the future, Belichick, Pats still favorites


February 8, 2017 05:22 AM
Belichick and Brady
Bill Belichick has won five Super Bowls with the Patriots, who are 6-1 favorites to win again in 2018.
© USA Today Sports Images

By Matt Youmans
VSiN senior editor

A day after winning his fifth Super Bowl as New England coach, Bill Belichick was in classic form, saying the Patriots are “five weeks behind” most other teams in the NFL in preparation for next season.

The Patriots overcame a 25-point second-half deficit Sunday to stun Atlanta 34-28 in overtime, so they surely can make up five weeks of work over a long offseason. The truth is the rest of the league still must gain a lot of ground to catch up to Belichick, who has guided New England to at least 10 regular-season wins for 14 consecutive years.

So, when Super Bowl futures were posted for 2018, South Point sports book director Chris Andrews said, “The Patriots have to be the favorites.”

New England is atop the odds board at 6-1. Belichick has pulled off the back-to-back trick. The Patriots were the NFL’s last repeat champions in 2005.

Tom Brady turns 40 in August, and although his 40-yard dash time leaves something to be desired, he’s showing few signs of declining and definitely not retiring. Belichick will welcome back his quarterback and the league’s No. 1 scoring defense.

The Patriots still should dominate their weak AFC East competition, so home-field advantage in the playoffs is again attainable.

“It would not shock me if the Patriots get back to the Super Bowl,” said Vinny Magliulo, the Gaughan Gaming sports book director and a VSiN analyst. “It’s not just due to their personnel. It’s the best coaching staff in the league.”

Magliulo (@VSiNVinny on Twitter) opened the AFC as a 1½-point favorite over the NFC with a total of 57 for the next Super Bowl. That matchup, according to the odds, is favored to be New England-Dallas.

The Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers are each posted at 8-1 odds at the South Point. The Steelers will stay in the AFC hunt if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returns, and his retirement talk is not yet being taken seriously.

Andrews said Dallas has drawn early support from futures bettors. Dak Prescott was a spectacular surprise as a rookie, and the Cowboys appear set to move into the future with Prescott while parting ways with veteran quarterback Tony Romo.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones probably wants to see Romo go to an AFC contender, with Denver and Houston the most likely landing spots. Arizona and Chicago seem to be potential NFC teams with an interest in Romo.

If Romo makes a move, the Super Bowl odds on his new team will improve. But he’s fragile, and gambling on him surviving a full season in good health is a high-risk roll of the dice.

Atlanta routed Green Bay in the NFC title game. Matt Ryan and the Falcons are at 10-1 odds. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (12-1) figure to be a better bet.

The Falcons must deal with an emotionally crushing loss and the hangover factor. It has been more than two decades since the Super Bowl loser has made it back to the title game the next season.

“Based on Sunday’s results, I would lower the Falcons,” Magliulo said. “It’s a tough loss to come back from, and I would not be afraid to drop the Falcons to 15-1 or 20-1.”

ODDS TO WIN 2018 SUPER BOWL
(Posted at the South Point sports book)

New England Patriots 6-1
Dallas Cowboys 8-1
Pittsburgh Steelers 8-1
Atlanta Falcons 10-1
Seattle Seahawks 10-1
Green Bay Packers 12-1
Denver Broncos 15-1
Kansas City Chiefs 15-1
Minnesota Vikings 18-1
New York Giants 18-1
Oakland Raiders 18-1
Carolina Panthers 20-1
Indianapolis Colts 20-1
Arizona Cardinals 25-1
Miami Dolphins 25-1
Baltimore Ravens 30-1
Philadelphia Eagles 30-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-1
Tennessee Titans 40-1
Cincinnati Bengals 50-1
Detroit Lions 50-1
Houston Texans 50-1
Washington Redskins 50-1
Los Angeles Chargers 60-1
New Orleans Saints 70-1
Buffalo Bills 75-1
Jacksonville Jaguars 75-1
Los Angeles Rams 100-1
New York Jets 100-1
Chicago Bears 125-1
San Francisco 49ers 250-1
Cleveland Browns 300-1

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