When the most recent Super Bowl future odds were posted this week, a few eyebrows were raised when Denver sat slightly ahead of Seattle at the top of the betting board.
And the eyes pointed directly to the holdout of stud RB Marshawn Lynch, who refused to report to training camp while looking for a raise on his $5 million 2014 salary.
[ See Denver vs. Seattle matchup stats | See best Denver line for next week’s preseason match at Sportsbook ]
With Thursday’s news that The Beast got his raise, expect to see co-favorites shortly and expect a preseason rush of money on the defending Super Bowl champions.
“The fact Marshawn Lynch got his raise and got into training camp as a happy camper only solidifies their position atop the Super Bowl futures leaderboard,” said Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager at Sportsbook.
“We would anticipate more money coming in on the defending champs based on this news.”
Of course, Denver was blasted by the Seahawks in the last Super Bowl and the notion that they are co-favorites may seem absurd to the casual fan. But the NFC boasts more contenders and the road back to Super Bowl weekend seems bumpier for Seattle than for Denver.
Sportsbooks have already taken in quite a bit of early Broncos money, making oddsmakers shade them a little bit higher, hoping for balanced action on some other contending teams. That move reduces sportsbook vulnerability to Denver winning it all.
"You can make a case for either Seattle or the Broncos to be the favorite to win the Super Bowl and is a reason that even though Denver is 13-2 and Seattle is 7-1 it is not much of a difference really,” Bradley said Thursday.
“Since we opened these odds in February, Denver has taken twice as much as Seattle and is why they are ahead a touch."
Fans and bettors get an early look at these Super Bowl favorites as they meet in Week 1 of the exhibition schedule. Not surprisingly, most sportsbooks monitored here have this game as a PK (even odds) which is appropriate given their positions tied in futures.
These teams have met in four of the past five preseasons and Seattle is 4-0 ATS in those games, according to the OddsShark NFL database.