On Monday, word came out that the 49ers Super Bowl odds at MGM hotels had dropped down to 4-to-1, making them the favorites ahead of the 9-to-2 Green Bay Packers. Cantor Gaming-run sportsbooks have had the 49ers listed at 10-to-1, but it sounds like MGM dropped their own odds in large part to counter the recent run of money on the 49ers. The betting public seems on board with the 49ers Super Bowl chances, so MGM is looking to offset it a bit by lowering the odds. It is worth noting that if you're looking for better odds, there are reportedly 12-to-1 odds offshore and upwards of 16-to-1 in some UK/Irish sportsbooks. So if you're across the pond, hit it up!
Given all the Super Bowl talk, it is not surprising that Vernon Davis was asked about it in an interview he conducted with Tim Kawakami (also some interesting discussion about his younger brother (not Vontae) accused of murder):
-Q: You guys are being mentioned as the Super Bowl favorites. You think you should be the favorites?
-DAVIS: I strongly believe we should be the Super Bowl favorites. But I can't talk about it because it's all about work. It starts here at practice. I don't want to talk about it and brag and say this and that, because it's not about that. It's about working first. And in the end, you will see where you'll be.
Naturally the national media has jumped on this as some kind of bold Super Bowl prediction. Vernon comes off as confident about the team's chances, but this is not a case of VD going out of his way to discuss the 49ers Super Bowl chances. He is confident, but he was also directly asked whether he thinks the 49ers should be the favorites.
In his press conference yesterday, Coach Harbaugh was asked about the Super Bowl discussion:
There's already Super Bowl discussion around your team. Have you already started talking about complacency? You're getting a lot of love from the media, honied words of praise. Does it concern you?
"What our focus is on is getting better every day, first and foremost. Can we be better today than we were yesterday, be better tomorrow than we were today? And also keeping an eye on getting our best 90 players to training camp. And then the other thing, a very important thing, is our next game, which is the Green Bay Packers. And figuring out a way to win that one. So, great expectations for today's meetings, tomorrow's practice, and that's where our mindset is."
Had he been asked whether the 49ers should be Super Bowl favorites, I'm certain he would have worked his way around it discussing how the team is only focused on the Packers and the league has plenty of good teams worth considering as favorites. It's just a matter of the personality being asked the question.
While I do believe the 49ers coaching staff will do their damndest to keep the team from getting overconfident, that will remain a significant challenge in 2012. Although they haven't won anything yet and came up short last season, when you hear enough chatter about the Super Bowl, there is always a good chance it will impact preparation and performance. The 49ers coaching staff earned their paychecks last year with an impressive turnaround. It's safe to say they will get a chance to earn their paychecks this year by keeping players focused and on the same page.