- Sportsbooks list the AFC as 3.5-point favorites to win Super Bowl 54
- The AFC is 2-6 against the spread the last eight times listed as Super Bowl favorites
- The last six Super Bowl favorites of 3.5 points or higher have failed to cover
Sportsbooks like the AFC to win Super Bowl 54, and perhaps that’s understandable. The 14-2 Baltimore Ravens were the NFL’s best team during the regular season.
The Ravens went 5-1 straight up in regular-season competition against the other teams that also qualified for the NFL postseason. The one team to defeat Baltimore is also an AFC squad, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Across the leading sportsbooks, the Ravens are +189 favorites in the 2020 Super Bowl odds.
Odds to Win Super Bowl 54
Odds taken Jan. 7
Perhaps it’s no wonder that the AFC is the 3.5-point favorites to win it all.
Head to Head All Even
Adding up the non-conference records of the six playoff teams in each conference this season, there’s no difference to be found. The six AFC playoff teams went a combined 18-6 against NFC opponents. As well, the six NFC playoff teams went a combined 18-6 against AFC opposition.
“We can’t relax because if we want to be the best team in the NFL, we have to win the Super Bowl. That’s how you become the best team in the NFL. It’s doesn’t matter what you do in the regular season.”
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 2, 2020
Of the three unbeaten teams, only the Ravens are still in the hunt. Baltimore, the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints were all a perfect 4-0 straight up against the other conference this season.
However, the Ravens were just 2-2 against the spread when facing NFC teams. Baltimore is also the only AFC team left with a chance to reach the Super Bowl that’s faced two of the four remaining NFC playoff clubs.
The Patriots Factor
The last five times that the AFC was represented in the Super Bowl by a team other than the Patriots, the conference has not fared well.
My Top 10 favorite Broncos games of the decade, counted down.
February 7, 2016. What else could be #1??!! In Super Bowl 50, a complete dominating performance by the Broncos (esp. Von) tames the Panthers 24-10. This one’s for Pat!#BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/Nl3LeGvOxl
— Broncos Outsider (@BroncosOutside) January 1, 2020
AFC teams not named the Patriots are 1-4 SU in the past five Super Bowl games. However, the one winner in that span was the Ravens.
Brady, Peyton and Big Ben Factor
This year, for just the third time since 2002, the starting quarterback for the AFC in the Super Bowl won’t be Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger.
New era in AFC …
This season's AFC championship game will be the first without Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger in it since 2002, per @ESPNStatsInfo.
Four QBs in AFC divisional round: Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Ryan Tannehill.
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) January 5, 2020
Since 2001, the only AFC quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl not named Brady, Manning or Roethlisberger were both Ravens – Joe Flacco in 2012 and Trent Dilfer in 2001.
Traditional Edge to NFC
Two of the winningest teams in Super Bowl history are still in with a chance at this year’s title. The San Francisco 49ers are 5-1 in Super Bowl appearances, while the Green Bay Packers are 4-1.
The Packers are 3-1-1 ATS in the Super Bowl, while the 49ers are 4-2. The Seattle Seahawks (1-2) and Minnesota Vikings (0-4) aren’t exactly juggernauts. Seattle is 1-1-1 ATS. The Vikings are 0-4.
— Nigel Wombat-Smothers (@nigelsthename) January 6, 2020
On the AFC side of the ledger, again it’s the Ravens who carry the day. Baltimore is 2-0 in Super Bowl games. The Chiefs are 1-1. The Tennessee Titans are 0-1 and the Houston Texans are one of four current NFL teams still seeking their first Super Bowl appearance.
The Chiefs are 1-1 ATS, while Tennessee’s lone big-game chance ended in a push. Baltimore is 2-0 ATS.
How Would a 49ers-Ravens Super Bowl Play Out?
Baltimore and San Francisco (+311) are the top two betting choices to win the Super Bowl. The Ravens and 49ers have previously met in SB 47. The Ravens won outright 34-31 as 4.5-point underdogs.
For the win.
How does a Ravens-49ers rematch in the Super Bowl sound? ?
?: FOX pic.twitter.com/5zOjXBbenZ
— The Athletic NFL (@TheAthleticNFL) December 1, 2019
They also met earlier this season in Baltimore. The Ravens won 20-17 but failed to cover as six-point favorites.
Super Bowl Numbers Don’t Add Up for AFC
The AFC is 2-6 against the spread the last eight times listed as Super Bowl favorites. As well, the last six favorites of 3.5 points or higher have failed to cover in the big game.
Only one of the top 7 teams in preseason Super Bowl odds is still alive pic.twitter.com/Gv4yzdCHXP
— ProFootballReference (@pfref) January 7, 2020
Since 2000, 13 Super Bowl favorites were giving 3.5 points or more to the underdog. The last four teams among this group all lost the game outright. Just two favorites were able to cover the spread. Three other favorites won the game but failed to cover, and one game ended in a push.
Based on that data, how do you not take the points and bet the NFC?
Pick: NFC +3.5 (-110)
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