The exciting part about this exercise is that we can follow the ups and downs of our beloved Saints throughout the regular season via the variations of their odds not only to make it to the Super Bowl, but first to even make it to the playoffs, win the NFC South, or earn a first round bye in the playoffs.
My favorite website to look at Super Bowl odds throughout the regular season is Five Thirty Eight (FTE). They use the well-oiled Elo rating system. The system was invented by physicist Arpad Elo, and originally designed to rate players in zero-sum games, like chess. The system assigns a gain value to the winner and a loss value to the loser such that the sum of the winner’s gain and the loser’s loss is equal to zero.
This week, the Saints were idle, with their bye coming extra early in this new 17-game regular season schedule. However, despite New Orleans not playing, other teams won and lost, which adjusted the odds. Who rose? Who fell?
Let’s look at the standings:
The Top 10
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom the Saints face on Sunday, continue their ride atop the odds of winning the Super Bowl, now at 17% (15% last week). The biggest change in the top 10 is the arrival of the upstart Cincinnati Bengals, paced by the dynamic duo of former LSU Tigers in quarterback Joe
Burreaux Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who together are rewriting franchise records in Cincy, and have the “Who Dey” Nation believing that this is the beginning of a golden era of pro football in The Queen City.
The Muddled Middle
Following their narrow victory on the road in Seattle, the New Orleans Saints held their ground as the best of the average, coming in with the 11th odds of winning the Super Bowl (2%). The Saints also have a healthy 75% chance of making the playoffs this season, which is encouraging. The shock in this tier are the Kansas City Chiefs, who fell out of the top 10 and are now behind the Saints in 12th position. The Super Bowl loser curse must have a scientific and/or logical explanation, because Patrick Mahomes and his crew look like an empty shell of their former selves through seven weeks this season. Another notable addition are the Atlanta Falcons. The Dirty Birds are quietly 3-3 after a 1-3 start to the season and moved up from the bottom 10 (26th) to the 22nd position this week. Despite being a below average team, the Falcons will not be an easy out in the NFC South this year.
The Bottom 10
At the back of the classroom with all the troublemakers, our friends the Carolina Panthers are sinking deeper and deeper, now with the 27th odds of winning the Big Game, down from 24th last week. After a 3-0 start which included a fairly dominant win over the Saints, Carolina has now lost four games in a row to fall to 3-4 on the year. The Panthers play in Atlanta on Sunday, on a day when the NFC South plays itself (Saints welcome the Bucs in the Superdome) and with a loss, Carolina could find itself slipping further out of playoff contention only halfway through the season.
With a 17-game season, we are getting close to the point where the cream will rise to the top, pretenders will start falling by the way side and the playoff picture will be getting clearer every week. The fun has just begun.
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