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NFL Betting Future Super Bowl Championship Odds

A quick rundown of NFL Betting future odds in the NFL

With the news this week that Tom Brady is out for the season. YES, that does change the odds quite a bit in the NFL.

This is how the top-rated teams in the NFL stack up AFTER the injury to Tom Brady:

BetUS NFL Odds – To Win Super Bowl

Dallas Cowboys +350
San Diego Chargers +700
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS +850
Indianapolis Colts +1000
Pittsburgh Steelers +1400
Jacksonville Jaguars +1400
Philadelphia Eagles +1400

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament that will require surgery. Recovery time for an injury such as this one is usually anywhere from six to nine months.

The worst fears of New England Patriots fans have come true – Brady is out for the rest of the 2008 season. Are they out of the Super Bowl picture completely? Maybe. But whichever way it comes down, it will obviously have an effect on the way this team is graded by the oddsmaker, and bet on by the NFL gambling public.

My guess is that those making the lines will anticipate the public betting against the Pats. That’s already started, as the Jets, who are measurably inferior in many departments, are a 2.5-point favorite as of Monday. The average bettor tends to overreact to injuries and focus on stars. It may not seem to matter to them that an offensive guard or tackle is out of action, but a star quarterback or running back is perceived to have a much bigger impact. In reality, the opposite is often true.

Of course, let’s stipulate that Brady is not your ordinary NFL quarterback. His absence constitutes a huge loss that has its ripple effect through the entire team, both on the field and in terms of intangibles. And is backup, Matt Cassel, has not started a game since high school. Bill Belichick and the front office did not devote enough attention or resources to addressing their quarterback depth during the off-season or in training camp, which is why they’re scrambling around to work out people like Chris Simms and Tim Rattay.

My own first reaction is that the Patriots, while still a playoff-level team, have much less to differentiate themselves from the likes of Indianapolis, San Diego and Jacksonville, for example, three teams who ironically all lost on Sunday but who will be in the hunt for playoff spots when all is said and done. But New England will be in that hunt too.

Most of the smart bettors will realize that players at the skill positions are often more easily replaced than those on the offensive or defensive lines. Brady’s loss will be felt the most when it comes to his leadership and decision-making, as well as his ability to find second and third receivers and his long-distance hookups with Randy Moss. Opponents will probably not have to defend as much of the field in his absence.

But this team will change its offensive approach with Cassel in the starting lineup. I don’t want to start singing the praises of Cassel, but he has spent four years in the offensive system in New England, so he is very familiar with Belichick’s philosophy and the Pats’ personnel. And that personnel is flexible, in the sense that the Pats have the ability to both run and pass the football. The Patriots have depth in the backfield; Lawrence Maroney has the capability to be a first-rate runner, and indeed was a prominent figure in last year’s playoffs. Sammy Morris is also more than capable, and Lamont Jordan was added to this combination. I would expect that when it comes to capitalizing on strengths and minimizing weaknesses, this will become more of a running football team, which will ultimately account for lower-scoring games and lower margins.

But remember that this team went 16-0 during the regular season, so there are a lot of component parts that function at a high level. The Patriots have an offensive line with three Pro Bowlers. They play defense. They have a pair of wide receivers that compare with any in the league (Moss, Wes Welker). They will win games, and the people who understand that can possibly find themselves on the positive end of some winning situations.

Of course, look for defenses to test that. Double-teaming Moss was a strategy that managed to slow down the New England offense a bit in the second half of last season. I wonder whether it wouldn’t be a better move for them to now put the double coverage on somebody like Welker, the shorter-range receiver, in order to make Cassel hold the ball longer, and to stack the box in order to force Cassel to throw the ball long. Can he play pitch-and-catch with Moss the way Brady did?

Probably not. But keep in mind that Cassel is a player the Pats were legitimately worried about losing to another team, because they felt he could possibly start for several of them. He may not be at the helm of a juggernaut, but Cassel likely can be a good “caretaker” for this offense, which will take on a different face. Yes, it would surprise me if the Patriots romped all the way to the Super Bowl title. But I would be shocked if this team lost more than six games. And they’ll grab more than their share of covers along the way.

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