As summer training camps approach, we are now seeing an increase in early predictions for the 2013 NFL season. This development began to peak my curiosity into what Vegas might have in mind on the subject.
As a disclaimer, betting odds are not necessarily set to predict the likeliest outcome of an event. Moreso, oddsmakers strive to set their lines at a midpoint mark with the best chance to bring in even money on both sides of the bet. If one side becomes unevenly bet too heavy, they adjust the line to entice more bets on the opposite side, always trying to stay in the middle.
This way the bets on each side of the mark wipe each other out, yet the sportsbook still collects the juice (betting fee, typically 10% of the total bet) off the losing bets. This even wash is sought to minimize risk for the sportsbook and simply profit from collecting the betting fees.
With that being said, the line is still a pretty strong indicator of the outcome that oddsmakers predict most likely to occur. If Dallas is giving 3 points to Washington, it’s fairly accurate to say this is very close to the ending they predict most likely to occur. For example, a final such as Dallas 20, Washington 17 would fit their prediction.
The odds are not always an exact prediction as they do take into account indirect factors such as which teams constantly have a strong backing even with skewed lines. In this case, oddsmakers may need to adjust the mark some from their initial prediction to find the betting balance. But overall, the odds are typically a strong indicator of prediction nonetheless.
When dealing with Futures Odds such as the outcome of an entire season, etc…these odds tend to become a much stronger indication of the oddsmaker’s predicted likeliest outcome. Especially when we are still several months away from the opening kickoff of the season.
To determine what Vegas is currently predicting for the 2013 NFL season I took four categories of Futures Odds into account for each team.
- Over/under for total number of wins in 2013 (indicates win/loss record)
- Odds to win the division (indicates division champs)
- Odds to win the conference (indicates conference champs and wild card teams)
- Odds to win the Super Bowl (decides winner between conference champs)
After adding all of these categories together, I then analyzed the combined data for each team and ranked them by conference and division. Below are the 2013 NFL Season results as translated from the Vegas Futures Odds:
- DISCLAIMER: These are not my predictions, yet outcomes Vegas Futures Odds are forecasting
- NEW ENGLAND (12-4) wins the AFC Championship (smallest odds to do so at 2 / 1)
- GREEN BAY (12-4) wins the NFC Championship (smallest odds to do so at 2 / 1)
- NEW ENGLAND wins the NFL SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP (have smallest odds at 4.5 / 1 ; Green Bay is 5 / 1)
- DALLAS (8-8) finishes tied with New York Giants (8-8) for second place in the NFC East
- DALLAS and New York Giants both miss the NFC Playoffs