Thu, Jan 4, 8:55am by Head Editor
With their 26-6 win over the New York Jets on New Year’s Day (AEDT), it’s business as usual for Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the rest of the New England Patriots squad as they prepare to host their eighth consecutive divisional playoff game.
The reigning Super Bowl Champions finished the season with a record of 13-3 that was enough to secure the number one seed in the AFC and as you’d expect, they remain top pick to defend their crown, at $2.88.
While the Patriots were expected to finish at the top of the regular season table, the now second favourite Minnesota Vikings have been the biggest surprise packet of the season, coming in from $41 to $5.50.
The Vikings finished the regular season with a 23-10 win over the Chicago Bears, which secured them the No.2 seed in the NFC and a first-round playoff bye. The Minneapolis-based franchise will become the first team in history to win the Super Bowl at their own stadium if they salute in early February.
Pittsburgh Steelers are next in betting, at $6.50, after condemning Cleveland Browns to the second 0-16 season in the history of the NFL with a 28-24 win at Heinz Field.
Despite losing their Week 17 match against the Dallas Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles remain on the fourth line of betting ($9) after finishing on top of the table in the NFC East.
Onto the teams who will be taking the field in the Wildcard round this weekend and the home teams are all heavy favourites at around the $1.25-$1.35 mark.
One of those favs is the LA Rams, who host their first post-season game in Los Angeles since 1985 when they welcome the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons.
The New Orleans Saints are expected to be too strong for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, while the Kansas City Chiefs are $1.22 to progress at the expense of the Tennessee Titans.
The Buffalo Bills made the playoffs for the first time since 1999, but they are big outsiders at $4.55 when they head to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Several of the pre-season favourites including the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders all had their season’s end prematurely last weekend in what was a thrilling finish to Week 17.
Sportsbet Markets – Super Bowl Winner
New England Patriots $2.88
Minnesota Vikings $5.50
Pittsburgh Steelers $6.50
Philadelphia Eagles $9
Los Angeles Rams $11
New Orleans Saints $11
Kansas City Chiefs $17
Atlanta Falcons $17
Jacksonville Jaguars $17
Carolina Panthers $26
Tennessee Titans $67
Buffalo Bills $67
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