There was a time in the NFL when Wild Card teams didn’t have much hope of winning the Super Bowl. The Oakland Raiders did it in 1980, and the Denver Broncos did it in 1997. It’s happened only four times in the 2000s. Will it happen again this year? Probably not; of the four Wild Card teams in action this weekend, three are listed at +7500 on the futures market for Super Bowl 51, well behind the favored New England Patriots (14-2 SU, 13-3 ATS) at +180.

But there is one Wild Card that should cause Patriots fans some concern. The New York Giants (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) are +1200 on the Super Bowl odds list, and they were a Wild Card team back in 2008 when they ruined New England’s undefeated season at Super Bowl 42. The Giants did it again to the Patriots four years later, this time as champions of the NFC East. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if history repeats itself.


Green Bay Way

Not a lot of people are betting on it, though. New York’s Wild Card game is this Sunday (4:40 PM ET, FOX) against the most popular team in the NFL playoffs, the Green Bay Packers (10-6 SU, 9-6-1 ATS). Aaron Rodgers and the Packers took the NFC North title by winning their last six games; at press time, they’re favored by 4.5 points to beat the Giants at Lambeau Field, up from –4 at the open.

The Packers are so popular, they’re the No. 3 favorites on the Super Bowl odds list at +700, despite having to play this week. The Kansas City Chiefs (+900) and the Atlanta Falcons (+900) were able to skip Wild Card Weekend by winning their Week 17 games and clinching the No. 2 seeds in their respective conferences. They’ll play just three times apiece, while Green Bay has four games to get through.

As people line up to bet on the Packers, the Dallas Cowboys (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) are suddenly getting overlooked at +450 to win Super Bowl 51, down from +325 last week. The Cowboys are the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they haven’t made the Conference Round since their last Super Bowl win at the end of the 1995 campaign. Maybe things will be different this year with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. He’s performed at the same level as Brady and Rodgers, thanks in no small part to the amazing Dallas offensive line. And if Prescott should stumble, Tony Romo is ready to fill in after playing in Week 17. Not a bad insurance policy.


*Odds as of January 4, 2017