Gary | Fri 05/08/2016 - 16:04 EDT

NFL Betting Predictions

Favorite To Win Super Bowl 2017

 AFC Favorites (all odds according to Bovada)

New England Patriots (+600)

Though the four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady has some concerned about New England's chances to win the Super Bowl, head coach Bill Belichick has faced this hurdle before. Remember back in 2008 when the two-time league MVP tore his ACL in the first game of the regular season and had to miss the rest of the year? Well the Patriots found a way to win (like they normally do) and rallied behind career backup Matt Cassel to an 11-5 record. This will be a little different as Brady should return fired up to unleash his fury on the league. 

Couple that with a top-three offense -- wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are studs and tight end Rob Gronkowski is the most dominant at his position -- and the Partiots should be cruising along.

The Pats narrowly lost to the Broncos in their bid to return to the Super Bowl last year, but Belichick will do his best to put that crushing 20-18 loss behind his team. The key weakness for the Patriots this year is their mediocre defense, but if they can play closer to bending, and not breaking, then expect the Pats to make another run for Brady's fifth Lombardi. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (+1200)

Akin to the Patriots, the Steelers will have to deal with a suspension to a critical part of their offense to start their season. Running back Le'Veon Bell, the presumed fantasy stud of the year, is dealing with a four-game suspension but has tried to appeal it throughout the off-season.

Regardless whether or not the appeal is successful, the Steelers still have a potent lineup. Pittsburgh is led by two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger and All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown. With Bell in the lineup, the Steelers have perhaps the most explosive offense in the league.

The Steelers finished with a 10-6 record in 2015, but won't have to contend with Payton Manning led Broncos squad. Pittsburgh was eliminated by Denver in the playoffs last year, but the retirement of Manning gives some room for the Steelers to make a run at the title, if the offense can stay healthy. 

AFC Dark Horse

The Oakland Raiders (+2500): 

This is the biggest stretch of this column, but seeing the Silver and Black back in the Super Bowl isn't as far-fetched as you might think.

The Raiders have steadily built up their team around some very talented core players at premier positions on offense (quarterback and wide receiver) and defense (defensive end/outside linebacker).

Quarterback Derek Carr and Amari Cooper combined to form the best young passing combination in the league last year and they'll only grow in year two of Cooper's young career.

Combine that with the emergence of All-Pro linebacker wrecking ball Khalil Mack, and the Raiders are trying to make the records of last decade a distant memory. 

While Oakland has a talented lineup around both sides of the ball, they do lack in playoff pedigree. The majority of the Raiders offense does not have much playoff experience (Oakland's last playoff berth was in 2002), but the Raiders did sign two stalwarts this offseason in linebacker Bruce Irvin (Seahawks) and safety Reggie Nelson (Bengals).

Those additions, coupled with the growth of their young stars, should give the Raiders a shot at the post-season. 

NFC Favorites

Green Bay Packers (+850)

Green Bay, the odds-on favorite to take home the Lombardi from the NFC, will have the luxury of welcoming back wide receiver Jordy Nelson. The speedster will re-join an offense that is flush with talent. Wide receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams along with running back Eddie Lacy form one of the most dynamic cores in the league.

This contingent is all held together by five-time Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The former two-time MVP is the best passer in the NFC and nearly led his team to the NFC Championship game if it wasn't for a miracle finish by the Arizona Cardinals. 

Green Bay finished last season at 10-6, but they will have to deal with a maturing Minnesota Vikings team in the NFC North. If the Packers can rally around and best Minnesota and the NFC North again, they'll be as battle-hardened as any team in the playoffs. 

Carolina Panthers (+1200)

This was a close call for the final favorites slot as either the Seahawks (+1000) or the Cardinals (+1200) could have slid into this position, but we'll got with the reigning NFC champions.

This comes down to two words why the Panthers will contend again for a Super Bowl berth: Cam Newton. It doesn't need to go much further than that as the reigning MVP is the most imposing and dynamic quarterback in the league, so anytime he steps on the field, the Panthers have a shot 

NFC Dark Horse

New York Giants (+2500)

The Giants are the worst team on this list by a somewhat wide margin. Finishing with a disappointing 6-10 last season, New York has a lot of ground to make up this season. The Giants made it a point to shore up their porous defense in the off-season by inking deals with All-Pro Olivier Vernon and veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Two-time Super Bowl champ Eli Manning and All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham gives New York the best 1-2 punch in the NFC East. 

Category : Sports Betting News

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