We take a look at changing odds and what it means for assessing NFL free agency.
Shortly after the Super Bowl wrapped, odds were released for Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. Bovada installed the Denver Broncos as 7/1 favorites, with the 49ers and Patriots right behind them at 15/2, the Packers at 10/1 and the Ravens and Seahawks at 12/1.
The start of NFL free agency brought an update to those odds across the sports gambling world. Bovada updated their odds, and currently have the 49ers and Broncos installed as 7/1 favorites, with the Patriots still 15/2 and the Seahawks at 10/1. MGM currently has the 49ers and Seahawks as co-favorites 5/1 and the Broncos and Patriots at 6/1. Finally, the Las Vegas Hilton has had the Patriots at 5/1 this whole time, dropped the 49ers and Broncos from 7/1 to 6/1, and dropped the Seahawks from 8/1 to 7/1.
I bring all this up because as Joe Fortenbaugh stated, the changing odds could be the best indicator of what the public thinks about free agency transactions. We can figure out draft grades all day long, but for the purposes of covering the entire NFL, oddsmakers can tell us a lot. It is not a perfect picture, because they are tasked with trying to draw in bets on certain teams, but it's an interesting discussion nonetheless.
It is safe to say the Seahawks will remain a popular Super Bowl bet, but things will get interesting come draft day for the rest of the league. The 49ers have remained relatively quiet, but made some solid moves, and I think the oddsmakers understand that. I imagine lowering the odds a little bit reflects the addition of Anquan Boldin, as well as the large number of draft picks they hold in next month's draft. Given that Baalke and Harbaugh have done some big things thus far, they have likely earned quite a bit of a benefit of the doubt with oddsmakers heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.