As Bob Dylan sang, the instances they may be a-changin’ — in particular in the NFL’s American Football Conference.
“Parity,” stated Chuck Esposito, the ebook boss at Caesars Palace, wrapping the NFL’s current scenario in a unmarried phrase.
Highly-touted Indianapolis, which failed to make closing season’s Super Bowl within the wake of the unexpected demise of Coach Tony Dungy’s son, nonetheless began 2006 as a big favorite to symbolize the AFC in February’s mid-winter extravaganza, even though the Colts lost three of four exhibition UFA games.
But some thing occurred at the way to Miami.
Indy stumbled in 3 of its final five games and allowed electrifying LaDainian Tomlinson and his San Diego teammates to knock the Colts off their pedastal and put quarterback chief Peyton Manning in his, uh, region, although run defense seems to be the most important wrongdoer.
Las Vegas bet stores this week boosted Super Bowl futures on Indy and New England, even as decreasing them at the Chargers and Ravens.
“San Diego is the quality crew in soccer proper now, but we will see what takes place down the road,” said John Avello, the veteran bookmaker who runs sports activities betting operations at Wynn Las Vegas.
Avello dropped the Chargers into the same 7/2 to 3/1 community in which Chicago is living, at the same time as elevating the Colts to five/1.
“I’m trying to draw cash on Indianapolis,” Avello defined.
Eric St. Clair, book boss at The Cannery in North Las Vegas and Rampart Casino in Summerlin, dropped San Diego to 2/1 and the Ravens to 5/1.
He upped Indianapolis to 6/1 and New England to eight/1.
“The issue with the Chargers is that they haven’t been tested for a long time.”
San Diego ultimate lost to Kansas City on Oct. 22; the Chargers also were beaten by using Baltimore three weeks in advance.
They near out in opposition to Seattle and Arizona.
As the AFC stands now, San Diego, New England, Baltimore and Indy will win department titles, with Cincinnati and Jacksonville, having the best chance to get wild card slots and the Jets, Broncos and Chiefs taken into consideration lengthy photographs.
“Baltimore is our one liability with a legitimate shot to get there,” said Jeff Sherman, a Hilton oddsmaker and bet shop manager.
Sherman has admired the Chargers, Tomlinson, quarterback Phillip Rivers and linebacker Shawne Merriman proper alongside — even greater so with those important players healthful and all back within the lineup.
“I’m not sold on Indianapolis in any respect,” Sherman said.
“I do not have much religion in its run protection.
“It’s going to be difficult at the Colts, no doubt.
“It seems like they’d must play San Diego in San Diego for the AFC name, in the event that they get that a ways.
“No Colts’ home dome.”
Based notably on Sherman’s opinion, the Hilton has adjusted its Super Bowl futures considerably.
The Chargers are 6/5, Indy and Baltimore three/1 and New England five/1.
Chicago, which has sewn up the NFC North Division identify, grabbed domestic discipline benefit for the duration of the playoffs with a Week 15 victory over Tampa Bay.
The Saints, strengthened by way of the presence of Heisman Trophy walking back Reggie Bush and former Chargers quarterback Drew Brees, have compiled the NFC’s 2d-first-class ledger in the back of the Bears’ 12-2.
New Orleans has a two-sport South Division benefit over Atlanta, which is among NFC teams clinging to playoff hopes.
Dallas leads Philadelphia by using one recreation within the East, while reigning NFC titlist Seattle has clear sailing inside the West.
Despite their consistency and apparent project, no longer to mention easy cover against St. Louis remaining Monday night, bookmakers nevertheless have questions about how suitable the Bears certainly are.
Doubts still middle on quarterback Rex Grossman, who loved considered one of his better outings towards the Rams.
“I’m no longer positive he can be a 2nd-stringer on most teams,” Avello stated.
“He’s their largest danger,” delivered Sherman, who has Chicago at 6/five to win its 2d Super Bowl.
“You marvel what the Bears may want to do with a assured quarterback.”
Bookmakers seem skeptical approximately the NFC in popular, though.
“There’s no longer a whole lot in the conference from what I see,” Avello stated.
St. Clair has been impressed with New Orleans, to mention the least.
“We all know how right Bush and Brees are and the Saints were playing extraordinary ball,” he stated.
“I bet the Bears are the nice in the NFC and Grossman is midway first rate.
“It must be an thrilling Super Bowl.”