Manning Beats Brees as Colts Are Picked in Vegas to Take Title From Saints

Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts are favored by Las Vegas oddsmakers to win the Super Bowl after coming up short in their championship bid last season.

The Colts enter the regular season with 13-2 odds of capturing their second National Football League title in five years, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which advises Nevada’s sports books on betting lines.

The 34-year-old Manning led the Colts to an NFL-best 14-2 record last season and beat out New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees to win his fourth Most Valuable Player award before losing to the Saints 31-17 in the Super Bowl.

“We’ve made some improvements almost in every area a little bit, albeit somewhat incremental, but the true test comes up (this) week,” Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. “That’s when you can really start to gauge exactly who you are. But you can make an assessment, and I think in a lot of areas we got better.”

The 31-year-old Brees’s Saints are tied with the Dallas Cowboys as the second Super Bowl choice with odds of 8-1.

The Saints are seeking to become the first repeat Super Bowl champions since the New England Patriots after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Cowboys will aim to become the first franchise to win the title game in its home stadium.

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will be the site of this season’s Super Bowl on Feb. 6, 2011.

Saints vs Vikings

The San Diego Chargers have 17-2 odds of winning the title, followed by the Patriots at 9-1 and the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings at 10-1.

The Saints host the Vikings and quarterback Brett Favre in the NFL’s regular-season opener on Sept. 9. It’s a rematch of last season’s conference championship game, which the Saints won 31-28 in overtime to reach the Super Bowl.

The Colts, one of two teams to go winless in the preseason, open the regular season on Sept. 12 in Houston.

The New York Jets, who fell one win short of reaching the Super Bowl last season, have 12-1 odds in the second season for coach Rex Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez.

The Jets have gained added attention this season from their appearance on the HBO program “Hard Knocks,” which chronicled their preseason training camp and the holdout of Darrelle Revis, who yesterday ended a seven-month impasse by agreeing to a new contract. The Jets will also be playing their first season in the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium, which they share with the New York Giants.

The Giants have championship odds of 15-1, just behind the Baltimore Ravens at 14-1.

Improved Ravens

The Ravens had one of the biggest improvements in odds during the offseason among top Super Bowl contenders, narrowing from 24-1 after the acquisition of Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ odds rose to 20-1 from 12-1 after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension. Roethlisberger, who was accused of sexually assaulting two women, will miss the team’s first four games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Roethlisberger denied the assaults.

The Washington Redskins went to 28-1 from 50-1 after adding quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Saints won the Super Bowl last season after entering the year with 20-1 odds of winning the title. The Colts a year ago were the sixth choice to win the championship at 12-1.


===================================================
     Team                Odds to Win Super Bowl
===================================================
Indianapolis Colts                 13-2
New Orleans Saints                  8-1
Dallas Cowboys                      8-1
San Diego Chargers                 17-2
New England Patriots                9-1
Green Bay Packers                  10-1
Minnesota Vikings                  10-1
New York Jets                      12-1
Baltimore Ravens                   14-1
New York Giants                    15-1
Pittsburgh Steelers                20-1
Atlanta Falcons                    22-1
Tennessee Titans                   25-1
Cincinnati Bengals                 25-1
Washington Redskins                28-1
Chicago Bears                      30-1
Houston Texans                     30-1
Miami Dolphins                     30-1
Philadelphia Eagles                30-1
San Francisco 49ers                40-1
Arizona Cardinals                  50-1
Carolina Panthers                  50-1
Denver Broncos                     50-1
Jacksonville Jaguars               50-1
Seattle Seahawks                   50-1
Cleveland Browns                   80-1
Detroit Lions                     100-1
Kansas City Chiefs                100-1
Oakland Raiders                   100-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers              100-1
Buffalo Bills                     120-1
St. Louis Rams                    150-1
==================================================
Odds courtesy of Las Vegas Sports Consultants

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

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