A week before training camp and the San Francisco 49ers remain 4-to-1 Super Bowl favorites at the MGM Grand. Odds vary across different sports books and websites, but MGM has had the 49ers installed as favorites for the last month now. The Packers and Patriots are both sitting at 6-to-1, the Broncos are 7-to-1 and the Bears are 8-to-1.
It is worth noting that the odds can be brought down in order to offset heavier wagering on the team when the odds were higher. The 49ers were upwards of 10-to-1 previously, but it appears enough money came in on them that oddsmakers felt it was better to bring down the odds a bit.
Earlier today, I posted about the rule of six and how NFL parity results in teams coming out of nowhere to make the playoffs. While it has become quite regular to see teams come out of nowhere, those same teams don't often win the Super Bowl. The Giants two Super Bowl wins have been the biggest "long-shots" and even still they were not the longest of odds. The 2001 New England Patriots get those honors.
Since things are rather quiet, I thought I'd focus in this morning's discussion more on potential sleepers that could surprise us in 2012. Potential playoff teams like the Bears would not be surprises. Rather, I'm talking about a team like Tampa Bay who had a horrific 2011 season. The Bucs are a team that I think could surprise some folks and earn a playoff berth. Josh Freeman has been inconsistent during his career, but I just have a feeling about them this year.
I also think the Raiders could climb up and win the West this year. If Peyton Manning is back to 100%, those odds decrease pretty significantly, but the Raiders are one of the more intriguing teams in the AFC this season. I don't think they are necessarily "sleeper" material given their 8-8 record last season, but they're a team to watch.
Who are your big sleepers in 2012?