COVID-19 cases are affecting just about every NFL team, but the odds for those squads to win the Super Bowl have remained largely unchanged. Training camps for NFL teams started last week, and the NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, warned organizations to expect there would be a high number of COVID-19 cases when players arrived.
“It won’t feel normal, because it won’t be normal,” Sills told NFL Network.
Players who have either tested positive for the disease, or have been in contact with someone who is infected, are placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list. A player can come off the list after two negative tests, but will continue to be tested daily for eight days.
There are currently 66 NFL players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Jacksonville quarterback Gardner Minshew.
While Lions general manager Bob Quinn is prohibited by NFL-NFLPA policy on commenting on a player’s medical status, he did tell reporters last week that he feels confident in the league’s protocols.
“Am I concerned? Obviously, because this is a big unknown,” Quinn said. “But, we’ll do the best we can, and we feel like, at least for the Lions, we have a good plan in place for the facility to keep everybody safe.”
COVID-19 Cases Not Impacting Super Bowl Odds
Thus far, the news that NFL players are either testing positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to the disease, has barely caused a ripple in Super Bowl 55 odds.
Defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City are now 4/1 at Caesars sportsbook to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 7, 2021. That’s down from 6/1 when Caesars released its odds in March.
Odds to Win Super Bowl 55
|Team||Odds March 1||Odds August 3|
|Kansas City Chiefs||6/1||4/1|
|San Francisco 49ers||8/1||15/2|
|New Orleans Saints||11/1||13/1|
|New England Patriots||14/1||20/1|
|Green Bay Packers||18/1||16/1|
|Los Angeles Rams||25/1||30/1|
|Los Angeles Chargers||30/1||45/1|
|Las Vegas Raiders||30/1||30/1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||50/1||11/1|
|New York Jets||60/1||100/1|
|New York Giants||100/1||50/1|
|Washington Football Team||200/1||150/1|
Source: Caesars sportsbook
While most NFL teams haven’t seen their Super Bowl 55 odds affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic, New England has seen its odds drop from 14/1 to 20/1. The team doesn’t have anyone on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but seven players have opted out for the 2020 season.
Several Players Sitting on Sidelines
What might be more concerning to oddsmakers than the reserve/COVID-19 list, is the number of NFL players opting out this season. Of the seven Patriots players who are sitting out the 2020 season, safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, and right tackle Marcus Cannon were all slated to be starters.
On Friday, starting wide receiver Marqise Lee told the Patriots he won’t be playing this season. Lee told ESPN that he has a newborn in the house, and doesn’t want to jeopardize his daughter’s health.
“This is a big sit-down process I had, with me and my significant other, as far as family goes,” Lee said. “The risk factor in which we believe that’s going out there, it just wasn’t worth it in a sense. Just too many unknowns.”
In addition to the seven Patriots who won’t be taking the field in 2020, a total of 36 additional players including Philadelphia Eagles WR Marquise Goodwin, New York Giants LT Nate Solder, Carolina Panthers LB Christian Miller, and Green Bay Packers WR Devin Funchess have opted out of the season, as of this writing.