Bet the Saints to Win Super Bowl 55

Our recommendations for the playoffs are born from similar methodology found elsewhere on this site.  Advanced NFL statistics are considered alongside our power rankings and a team’s playoff seed to model their probability of winning Super Bowl 55 (I’ve given up on the roman numerals).

While we feel Kansas City stands the best shot of winning the Lombardi, we also feel they represent the worst wager.  Aggressive 2:1 pricing looks like a bad deal to us given the stronger statistical showings from other teams this year.  Here I present our forecast for each team’s probability of winning the Super Bowl alongside the edge of their wager at prevailing Vegas odds:

TeamPower RankOddsWin ProbEdge
KC2+20025.9%-22.3%
GB4+45018.6%2.4%
BUF3+70013.3%6.8%
NO1+70014.1%13.0%
TB5+10009.7%6.3%
BAL7+12006.8%-11.4%
SEA6+13007.6%6.4%
PIT10+22004.2%-3.3%
TEN11+28003.1%-9.9%
LAR8+30003.7%15.8%
IND9+40002.9%18.6%
CLE17+50002.0%-0.1%
CHI15+80001.6%27.3%
WAS14+80001.8%45.9%

Probabilities do not sum to 100% due to vigorish.

Many bettors will be justifiably suspect of the high edges on deep underdogs like WAS, CHI, IND, and LAR.  A few points of order: first, few bettors outside the Las Vegas area will have the opportunity to actually avail such long odds.  Second, the model bubbled four of the six lowest-probability teams to the top (the others being TEN and CLE), leading to some inherent suspicion on my part.  Lastly, I could not in good conscience ever claim to believe a wager had a 10%, 20%, or much less, 50% edge; all of the edges are likely overstated, with at least part of that overstatement due to the incidence of vigorish.

Offsetting these factors is the undeniable dominance of underdogs over the past two years of the NFL coupled with the general tendency of human nature to underprice the impact of the highly improbable.

Accordingly, my recommendation to any interested NFL bettor is NO +700.  Those with a penchant for long dogs could consider WAS +8000 with reduced wager sizing based on both the Kelly criterion and some common sense.  If nothing else, rooting for an underdog from a city wracked by conflict is enormously entertaining.

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