In the last ten NFL seasons, the preseason favorites with sportsbooks have gone on to win the Super Bowl twice – the New England Patriots in 2016 and 2018. That’s it. And, the decade before had a similar outcome, with the 2006 Indianapolis Colts being the only team to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy after being favorites before the regular season got underway.
Most fans will be relatively aware of the above fact, and it’s part of the reason that many will pay little attention to sportsbooks. Betting companies aren’t completely clueless, of course, and we know that the preseason favorites are statistically very likely to make the Playoffs (the ’08 Patriots were the last team to miss out).
But after a handful of games, we tend to see the sportsbooks getting a better handle of things. Last season, the Chiefs, although starting among the favorites, quickly moved to the market leader after starting 4-0. They dropped back a bit in the fall, but became favorites again after a superb December.
The Steelers’ odds have almost halved
The point is that the market movement we see at this point in the season is usually a better indicator than preseason, and that’s good news for the Steelers. The team has moved from around +2500 preseason to +1200 in MansionBet’s Super Bowl markets. We should stress that the data comes after Week 6, but it’s the trend, not the exact price, that is significant here.
Of course, none of this needs to be overly scientific. Most Steelers fans will be fairly happy with how things have gone so far. But the underlying point is that the Steelers have performed better than expected in the eyes of the odds-setters. They went from being ranked the 11th most likely team to win the Super Bowl to the 6th most likely.
While the Steelers move after going 5-0 was significant, other teams have had, let’s say, more dramatic moves. The Green Bay Packers went from +3000 right down to +850, but nudged all the way back up to around +1200 after being outwitted by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Gameweek 6. The Seahawks moved from +2000 to +700, and they are now 3rd favorites for Super Bowl LV, and you’ve got to think that their fans would have taken that six weeks ago.
The Chiefs and Ravens still on top
It is worth noting, however, that the two teams singled out as favorites before the start of the season – the Chiefs and the Ravens – still remain at the top of the market. In fact, both have consolidated that position with sportsbooks shaving a little off their odds since early September. Today, you can find the Chiefs somewhere around the +400 mark, and the Ravens at +550. Both teams started off at about +600.
On the other side of things, a handful of NFL teams have dropped back considerably after underwhelming starts to the season. The 49ers were the biggest movers, falling from around +900 to +3000. The Cowboys have also been hammered in the markets after a shaky start, with their odds doubling from +1500 to +3000. A very weak NFC East will play in Dallas’ favor, however, and they are still very much on course to make the Playoffs.
It’s early days for everyone, of course. But there has been plenty to like about the Steelers’ season so far, and the sportsbooks seem to agree. The latter fact will mean nothing to Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the team, but it should give Steelers fans a bit more confidence going forward.