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Denver Broncos entering postseason with the fourth-best odds of winning Super Bowl 50

Ken Pomponio Avatar
January 5, 2016


Hey, it wasn’t some whacked-out, 3 a.m. dream: Your Denver Broncos are the No. 1 seed entering the American Football Conference playoffs.

But despite home-field advantage and the much-needed bye week, the 12-4 Orange & Blue still aren’t the clear favorites to win the AFC title, let alone Super Bowl 50 a month from Thursday.

According to the online sportsbook Bovada, the Broncos and the second-seeded New England Patriots (12-4) are AFC co-favorites at 2-1, followed by the 10-6 and sixth-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers (7-1), the sizzling-hot fifth-seeded Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) and the 12-4 and third-seeded Cincinnati Bengals (10-1). Bringing up the rear are the fifth-seeded and 9-7 champions of the weak AFC South, the Houston Texans, at 28-1.

As for the odds to win Super Bowl 50, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has installed the Patriots and the NFC’s top two seeds, the 15-1 Carolina Panthers and 13-3 Arizona Cardinals, as tri-favorites at 9-2. The Broncos and 10-6 Seattle Seahawks are next at 5-1 to win the title and the Steelers come in at 8-1.

Things drop off from there to the 12-4 Cincinnati Bengals at 20-1 and the 11-5 Kansas City Chiefs at 25-1. The 11-5 Minnesota Vikings and 10-6 Green Bay Packers (30-1 apiece), the 9-7 Washington Redskins (40-1) and the 9-7 Houston Texans (60-1) round out the 12-team field.

The Orange & Blue are given a little better odds when it comes to the analytics site, FiveThirtyEight.

Nate Silver’s Elo-based model, which is based on 20,000 simulations of the entire postseason, gives the Broncos an AFC-high 34-percent chance to win the conference crown. Following, in order, are the Patriots (28 percent), Kansas City (14), Cincinnati (11), Pittsburgh (8) and Houston (4).

As for the chances to win the Super Bowl, Carolina is tops at 20 percent, followed by Arizona (17), Denver (15), New England (13) and Seattle (9) in the top five.

As for this weekend’s wild-card games, Washington was the only home team to open as a favorite as Kirk Cousins and Co. are a one-point favorite over Green Bay. In the AFC contests Saturday, the Chiefs opened as a 3-point favorite in Houston and the Steelers debuted as a 2.5-point favorite in Cincy, with the Bengals still uncertain if quarterback Andy Dalton will be able to return from his fractured thumb.

Meanwhile, in the other NFC game Sunday, the two-time defending NFC-champion Seahawks opened as a 4.5-point favorite over the host Vikings.

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