Computers, betting markets agree on Falcons' Super Bowl chances

Credit: Michael Cunningham

Credit: Michael Cunningham

Three weeks ago, after the Falcons clinched the NFC South but before they earned a first-round playoffs bye, the betting public had less faith in their chances of winning the Super Bowl than the metrics. It took a while but the betting market finally has caught up to the numbers.

The Falcons earned the bye, beat the Seahawks in the divisional round last weekend and advanced to play the Packers in Sunday's NFC championship game at the Georgia Dome. The computer model gives the Falcons a 25 percent chance of winning out and the Football Outsiders forecast puts the probability at 28.5 percent.

Meanwhile the Falcons were getting 2.6-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl as of Tuesday morning, according to That's an implied probability of 27.8 percent, meaning the betting market is largely in agreement with the computer forecasts.

So there may be no more betting value on backing the Falcons to win their first Super Bowl. Before the regular-season finale the Falcons were getting 11-to-1 odds to do so, an implied probability of 8.3 percent that was significantly lower than the 12 percent probability forecast by both FiveThirtyEight and Football Outsiders.

The AFC’s Patriots are the 1.5-to-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl (implied probability of 40 percent). The FiveThirtyEight forecast is slightly more bullish than bettors on the Patriots winning another Super Bowl (43 percent probability) while the Football Outsiders model is much more pessimistic (35.5 percent probability).