Just like that, the NFL's first 18-week regular season has come to an end. The 2022 NFL playoffs are here and Super Bowl 56 is right around the corner.
There are 14 teams participating in the 2022 postseason, and the battles to represent the AFC and NFC in the Super Bowl seem wide open. The 2021 NFL season was unpredictable — right up until the Colts' Week 18 loss to the Jaguars — so we could see some more big-time upsets as the playoffs arrive.
Since there isn't a clear-cut pecking order among the top contenders this year, sportsbooks seem to be relying on one key factor to help determine the favorites. It's the quarterback position. Teams with home-field advantage and quality quarterbacks seem to be getting the edge in the 2022 NFL postseason. That's why the Packers (Aaron Rodgers), Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes), Buccaneers (Tom Brady) and Bills (Josh Allen) opened the postseason as the four favorites to make the Super Bowl.
Here's an in-depth look at how the odds to win Super Bowl 56 shake out as the 2022 NFL postseason arrives.
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Super Bowl 2022 odds
The Packers have emerged as the new Super Bowl favorites. This isn't a surprise, as Aaron Rodgers has put forth another MVP-caliber season and led Green Bay to a 13-4 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
The Chiefs, who were the favorites during most of the offseason and before the season, have climbed back up to the No. 2 spot. They began the year slowly, posting a 4-4 record in their first eight games, but they won eight straight games after that and finished the season with a 12-5 record.
Kansas City is the AFC favorite, but they aren't the No. 1 seed in the conference. That right belongs to the Titans, who also finished the year with a 12-5 record. Despite their perch atop the AFC, Tennessee's Super Bowl odds are only +850 compared to Kansas City's +500.
Below is a full look at the odds for Super Bowl 56, via FanDuel Sportsbook.
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Best favorite to bet: Chiefs
The Chiefs started the season slowly, but they have figured things out in recent weeks. No, their offense isn't as explosive as it once was, but with Chris Jones playing on the interior defensive line instead of the edge, their stop unit has been significantly better. That will give them one of the most balanced teams of the postseason.
Kansas City's path to the Super Bowl is a bit less daunting than initially anticipated, thanks to a Wild Card matchup with the Steelers. The team will still need to get through the likes of the Bills, Bengals and Titans to win, but as long as Patrick Mahomes is healthy, they are a Super Bowl threat. The Chiefs have the second shortest odds, so that makes them a decent value compared to the Packers.
Best mid-tier value pick: Titans
The Titans aren't getting enough love. They have been one of the best, most consistent teams in the NFL this season, yet they have just +850 odds over at FanDuel. They will need to win just twice to get to the Super Bowl thanks to their first-round bye and they are expected to get Derrick Henry back for the Divisional Round if all goes well.
Tennessee is a different team with Henry, as he will lset their offense up to be more efficient than it has been with D'Onte Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard leading the charge. Their defense has been solid as well, and their pass rush could rattle some of the opponents they are set to face.
Are the Titans better than the Chiefs? Probably not, but they are well-coached and have fared well against top-tier teams this year, posting an 8-3 record against teams with a winning record. They seem poised to compete in the postseason, so feel free to roll with them in the unpredictable AFC.
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Best underdog bet: 49ers
The 49ers do not have many weaknesses. We can argue all day about whether Jimmy Garoppolo is a franchise quarterback or not, but the fact is that he has gotten his team to a Super Bowl before. Outside of him, the team's biggest problem is at cornerback, but some of their younger players, like third-round rookie Ambry Thomas, have stepped up in recent weeks.
Everywhere else, the Niners look strong. They have plenty of offensive weapons in Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Elijah Mitchell. Their defense is strong as well and their pass rush, led by Nick Bosa, will have a chance to rattle even the likes of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.
Are the 49ers likely to make a Super Bowl run? No, but at 31 to 1 odds, they are an excellent value pick. They are facing the Cowboys in the first round of the postseason and given how the Cowboys' offense has looked against healthy defenses lately, the 49ers should have a chance to knock them off. If they can do that, perhaps a surprise Super Bowl run could be in store.
Team to avoid: Packers
Look, I get it — the Packers have been the most consistent team in the NFL this season. They have a 13-4 record and two of their losses came when Jordan Love started or played at least half the game for the team. Why would you bet against Aaron Rodgers given how he has been playing?
Well, this is less about fading Rodgers and more about the lacking value we're getting on Green Bay. They are just +380 to win the Super Bowl. Those are the shortest odds on the board and while they should be favored to win the NFC, it doesn't mean that they will.
The Packers will get a bye but then will have a daunting path to the Super Bowl, as the Wild Card teams in the NFC are stronger than those in the AFC. They will have to face either the Rams, Cardinals, 49ers or Eagles in the Divisional Round. If they get through that test, Tom Brady or the Cowboys could be on deck.
Again, the Packers should win those games, but their opponents are tougher than the ones the Chiefs and Titans will face in the AFC. As such, it's probably best to avoid the Packers for now.