The NFL preseason begins Thursday with the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. It was moved to Thursday this year partly because of the public relations nightmare when last year’s game was canceled due to field conditions.
Super Bowl betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com will be fluid during the preseason, especially if there are significant injuries to a contender. One thing to keep in mind before betting those futures is that the preseason truly does mean nothing in terms of forecasting success that year.
Last year, for example, the Cowboys were 1-3 in exhibition games and then led the NFC with 13 regular-season wins. Perhaps the best example is the 2008 Detroit Lions. They were the only unbeaten team in that preseason and then proceeded to become the lone club in league history to go 0-16 when it counted.
Back on May 1 the New England Patriots were +350 favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champs and they are now listed at +375. Barring injury to Tom Brady they should stay around that number if not get shorter odds. Don’t look for Brady to play in more than two preseason games – he certainly won’t play in the last one as few starters around the league do so.
The biggest mover has been the Green Bay Packers from +1200 at the start of May to +750. Would a Super Bowl LII matchup between the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and Brady be any good? Those two have combined for four NFL MVP Awards. Believe it or not, they have squared off only once: Nov. 30, 2014, a 26-21 Green Bay home victory.
The Packers rarely dip their toes into free agency but did add tight end Martellus Bennett this offseason. He caught 55 passes for 701 yards and seven scores last year with the Patriots.
There are four teams at +1200 on the Super Bowl LII odds: Dallas, Seattle, Oakland and Pittsburgh. All but the Raiders are defending division champions, and Oakland likely would have taken the AFC West in 2016 had quarterback Derek Carr not broken his leg in Week 15. All four are favored to win their divisions this year – Seattle (NFC West) has the second-shortest divisional odds behind the Patriots.
No team has ever played in a Super Bowl in its own stadium. Could the Minnesota Vikings become the first next February at U.S. Bank Stadium? Oddsmakers list the Vikings at +3300. The 2016 playoff team with the longest odds currently is Detroit at +6600. The Lions are one of four active franchises to never play in a Super Bowl.