No Brady, No Problem? Pats Still Super Bowl LI Favorites

Tom Brady

Tom Brady isn’t even allowed to stand on the sidelines during the New England Patriots’ first four games of the 2016 NFL season, but his impending absence hasn’t affected the team’s status as the odds-on favorite to win Super Bowl LI.

To start the season, Westgate Las Vegas Superbook is giving the Patriots 6/1 odds of winning this year’s championship game, which is set to take place at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on February 5th, 2017. New England’s odds have actually improved since last January, when Brady was still embroiled in a battle with NFL officials over whether Commissioner Roger Goodell overstepped his authority by issuing the suspension.

Brady will miss the first four games of the season after an appeals court upheld Goodell’s punishment. He is slated to return to the Patriots for the team’s Week 5 clash with the Cleveland Browns. Jimmy Garropolo, Brady’s understudy at quarterback for the last two seasons, will lead the Patriots’ offense in his place.

The Arizona Cardinals, who are set to play the Patriots in Week 1, are one of three teams with 8/1 odds of winning Super Bowl LI, along with the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks and the revitalized Green Bay Packers, according to Westgate.

Fresh off a career season, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer will lead an offense that features dynamic second-year running back David Johnson and a talented receiving corps anchored by veteran Larry Fitzgerald.

The Seahawks, who have reached the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, will look to overcome the offseason retirement of running back Marshawn Lynch – a key cog in their run-heavy offense in recent years.

The Packers, who have won the NFC North division crown in four of the last five years, are expected to bounce back after a somewhat disappointing 10-win campaign last season.

The reigning NFC champion Carolina Panthers are getting 12/1 odds of this year’s big game. The Defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos are listed at 25/1 amid uncertainty at the quarterback position after Peyton Manning’s retirement.