The Patriots opened as favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2013 with 5-1 odds.
As we emerge from the darkness of the past few weeks, the
degenerate gamblers and poker enthusiasts among us are comforted by the fact that we can
gamble on football again. It's not much, but it's slightly better than
spending every free moment sitting alone in a darkened room while
listening to Air Supply. Slightly.
Four teams had 6-1 odds or better (New England, Green Bay,
Pittsburgh and Philadelphia). I'm normally not one for futures bets, but
this one looks enticing simply because New England is lumped together
with a team with no defense or running game, a team with an aging
patchwork defense and no running game, and a team with no NFL-quality
linebackers and whose quarterback plays an average of around 4 full
games per year. In this case, a bet for the Pats is more of a vote
against the other top teams than a vote of confidence in New England.
With that said, there are plenty of reasons the Pats rightly
should be favored. The next-best QB to Brady in the division is
Fitzpatrick, and the schedule is favorable with the NFC West and AFC
South on tap. Barring significant injury, the Patriots will have the
inside track to the top seed in the AFC for a third straight year. And
given a full offseason with Belichick, a defense that improved in the
second half of the season could see at least incremental progress.
Given these factors, I like the Pats at 5-1 … compared to the
rest of the field. However, there is rarely much value in taking the
favorite on a future’s bet. This case is no exception. We still have an
entire offseason of things that can go horribly wrong for the Pats or
go horribly right for New England’s AFC rivals. And really, who wants
to have their money tied up for an entire year? If I know me, I'd lose
and rediscover that gambling slip a dozen times between now and next
February, and that assumes the best case scenario of my cat not
mistaking it for a chew toy. I’d advise keeping your powder dry on this
one. But if you absolutely must make a wager now to quell the inner
gambling demon within you, the Pats present the best value among the top
4 or 5 teams on the board.