Which Super Bowl matchups would generate the biggest betting buzz?

The Patriots are heavy favorites to make the Super Bowl as the regular season wraps up.
Photo: Elise Amendola/AP

Many NFL bettors have gotten the best of sports books this season—the house’s profit margins have declined, along with the overall handle. But gamblers have more work to do to send books into the offseason on a down note. With the money it commands on an annual basis, the Super Bowl could pull casinos up. Bettors have wagered a record sum on the Super Bowl in three of the past four years, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, including the $132.5 million gambled on 2016’s Super Bowl 50.

With 10 of 12 playoff spots clinched heading into the regular season’s final week, it’s time to start thinking about likely championship matchups. Odds on potential Super Bowl pairings aren’t available locally, but these are the most probable matchups according to offshore sports books.

Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots (plus-225) This clash of prohibitive favorites could mean record-breaking volume, since both teams have national fan bases that would surely show up in droves. Dallas and New England have been the NFL’s two best teams all season, so action on the game would probably be split somewhat evenly.

Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots (plus-675) The Falcons’ inclusion would probably limit betting volume, as their fan base isn’t very entrenched in Nevada. This one could also be feast or famine for sports books, since the majority of bettors would be all over the Patriots on the point spread, with those who like the Falcons probably betting on them to win outright, leaving bookmakers rooting for the favorite to win but not cover.

Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots (plus-700) When the Patriots and Seahawks played in Super Bowl 49, the game stimulated nearly $116 million in wagers, just short of an all-time record. The Patriots dominated the action, and most money would likely come in on New England again.

Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots (plus-900) Gamblers who bet on the quarterback they trust the most would have quite the dilemma choosing between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, two players who have delivered for bettors more than anyone else over the past decade. There’s no doubt Packers-Patriots would mean big betting business.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (plus-950) The Steelers’ 2006 Super Bowl 40 victory over the Seahawks stood as the most bet-on game for seven years. Pittsburgh’s fan base can match the Cowboys’, Patriots’ and Packers’, so this is probably the second-most desirable matchup for casinos behind Patriots vs. Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs (plus-1150) The Chiefs are the only team near the top of the odds that hasn’t played in the Super Bowl in more than 20 years, but it’s unlikely the novelty would equal excitement locally. The Cowboys would hog the action, and even proposition wagers would be cut down with the solid but unspectacular Chiefs.

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