The NFL is a non-stop business building towards the regular season as soon as the Super Bowl is over. The effects of this are felt in sports betting, something Las Vegas excels at and focuses on non-stop and year round. With the 24/7 year round focus on the NFL today, why wouldn’t Vegas do the same thing and create very early betting lines for teams?
The first thing I saw in this article was the odds to winning Super Bowl XLVII. The Falcons are currently holding 25 to 1 odds for winning the championship game. This is not particularly good odds considering they held 12 to 1 odds going into the 2011 season. However, I don’t look on this so much as a negative as it is a positive. Having such high odds says that you are a favorite to go deep in the playoffs, and that generally means there is tremendous pressure on that team to win. I’m not saying the Falcons don’t have a tremendous amount of pressure on them, but I think that they aren’t as high profile as last year. Remember when SI’s Peter King picked the Falcons and Chargers for the Super Bowl? That’s not happening this year.
You have to take a look at the link above to get a full view of the recently drawn spread on the 2012 schedule. There are very few surprises on the schedule. Games that you would expect to be close are predicted close, and almost obviously the Falcons would be favored over a completely even team at home. Atlanta is favored in 9 of 15 games, 7 of 7 home games, and only 2 of the 7 road games. I think that the Falcons will beat Kansas City on the road in week 1, and at home against Tampa in week 17. Unfortunately, I would expect that there is a game (maybe two) that the Falcons might shockingly lose at home, but there is also almost certainly a couple road games that the Falcons are underdogs in that they will win.
In the end Vegas tries as hard as it can to be as accurate as it can in its predictions so that they don’t lose money. It doesn’t behoove them to make predictions that favor one side or the other. No team talks louder than another; the only thing that talks is cold hard cash. Las Vegas has experts who research extensively so that they don’t lose money when the set the betting line. I think it says a lot that the people who make the lines have given the Falcons 9 certain wins, a Pick’em game (against the Kansas City Chiefs), and an undecided yet winnable game in week 17. The Falcons should, according to the ‘experts’ in Vegas, win 11 games. I think that bodes well for playoff seeding, and hopefully for success in the playoffs.