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Oddsmakers: Patriots vs Vikings in Super Bowl LII Oddsmakers: Patriots vs Vikings in Super Bowl LII
Super Bowl LII is less than two months away. But a lot can happen before the nation gorges on bad dip, overpriced commercials and... Oddsmakers: Patriots vs Vikings in Super Bowl LII

Super Bowl LII is less than two months away. But a lot can happen before the nation gorges on bad dip, overpriced commercials and pigskin on February 4.

Witness Sunday’s Rams vs. Eagles shootout in Los Angeles. During one play, in a flash, the Eagles’ championship hopes took a massive hit.

Based on bet365 odds, as of Dec. 11,  the New England Patriots (no surprise) will face the Minnesota Vikings (kind of a surprise) in the big game. A week earlier, the Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles were favored to meet, but the Eagles have to go the rest of the way without quarterback Carson Wentz.

You gotta feel for Philly. With Wentz out for the season due to a torn ACL, backup Nick Foles must shoulder the load for the Eagles for the last three regular season games and the entire playoffs. Foles isn’t exactly shabby, but he ain’t Wentz — and the news cut into the Eagles’ chances.

Meanwhile, the 10-3 Patriots aren’t a lock to make it either. Without Gronk (sitting out due to his own cheap shot), they looked positively pedestrian in a loss at Miami Monday night. And they’ll face a stiff challenge from the AFC-leading Pittsburgh Steelers, who boast an 11-2 record. To make things more interesting, the Patriots and Steelers meet at Heinz Field Dec. 17.

As of Dec. 11, the Patriots were favored to win the Super Bowl at 13/5 odds with the Steelers right behind them at 9/2. As for the Vikings, they’re 10-3 on the year, while the Eagles are 11-2. But with Wentz on the sidelines, Minnesota’s odds of winning it all are third best at 7/1. The Wenz-less Eagles are at 9/1.

Either way, the AFC is expected to rule supreme in the season finale. Of course, nothing’s set in stone and there are a few other teams enjoying decent years who could have a legitimate shot. There’s a lot of parity in the AFC with the South’s Jacksonville Jaguars owning the next best record at 9-4. They’re 20/1 to hoist the trophy.

The next best clubs in the NFC are the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, who are all 9-4 on the year. The Saints are fifth-favorite to win the Super Bowl at 11/1 with the Rams next at 14/1 and the Panthers 22-1.

At the other end of the scale, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets are struggling with 5-8 records and are the current longshots to take Super Bowl 52 at 1000/1. Designating the Patriots as the favorites shouldn’t be a surprise, despite some losses. The defending Super Bowl champs have been favored since the season opened when they were listed at 13/4. But back in September — and this shows you how things can change — the Seattle Seahawks were next at 8/1 followed by the Green Bay Packers at 10/1.

The Seahawks have an 8-5 record and are currently ranked eighth in the odds at 16/1, while the Packers are 7-6 and have slipped to 14th favorite at 50/1. The Steelers were also 10/1 at the start of the season, while the Vikings and Eagles were both outsiders and ranked 14th and 18th respectively at 28/1 and 40/1, so they’ve surprised the experts so far.

The Rams have definitely had a better season than most predicted. They opened at 28th at 150/1 while the Saints were ranked 17th at 40/1. Anything’s possible once the playoffs start,  and we’ll know soon enough how accurate the oddsmakers were.

Mike McNulty

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