The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens have emerged as favorites to meet in Super Bowl LVIII, according to opening odds for the 2024 NFL playoffs. With first-round byes as the NFC and AFC’s #1 seeds, both teams are well-positioned for deep postseason runs.
49ers Clear Frontrunners in NFC
The 49ers enter the playoffs with +250 odds to win the Super Bowl, the best of any team. They have multiple paths to advance to the championship game, including potential matchups against struggling wild card teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions.
San Francisco has remained remarkably healthy this season, with stars like QB Trey Lance, WR Brandon Aiyuk, and DE Nick Bosa missing minimal time. They lead the league in scoring defense (14.8 PPG allowed) and rank 2nd in scoring offense (29.9 PPG). This balance has pundits predicting the Niners will at least reach their third Super Bowl appearance in eight seasons.
Other NFC contenders face stiffer roads in the playoffs:
|Must beat solid Giants team to reach SF
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Injuries + tough path through Packers
|Unproven in playoffs under new coach
Barring injury, San Francisco has proven themselves the class of the NFC this season. With home field advantage, it would take a monumental upset for them not to play for the conference championship in three weeks.
Ravens Riding League-Best Offense
Over in the AFC, Baltimore is a close second to San Francisco with +275 Super Bowl odds. They similarly earned a first-round bye after securing the AFC’s best record at 14-3.
The Ravens set multiple offensive records in 2024, thanks to an MVP-caliber season from quarterback Lamar Jackson. Baltimore scored over 30 points an incredible 12 times. They lead in total yards (7123) and average the most points (32.2 per game) and yards (446 per game) gained.
|Points Per Game
With such a prolific attack, most analysts view Baltimore as the AFC’s foremost Super Bowl threat. As Brandon Wheaton notes:
“With how easily the Ravens move the ball, it’ll take a perfect defensive performance to beat them. No AFC team is better built for January football.”
Still, divisional matchups against the Buffalo Bills or Cincinnati Bengals will challenge Baltimore’s suspect pass defense. Their path likely goes through high-powered QBs Josh Allen or Joe Burrow. Limiting scoring will determine if the Ravens’ elite offense can carry them to the big game.
49ers-Ravens Super Bowl Rematch Appears Destined
Given their sustained success this season, the 49ers and Ravens have separated from NFC and AFC pack in oddsmakers’ eyes. Both teams are significant -200 favorites to win their conference championships, setting up a potential Super Bowl rematch from 2013.
|Super Bowl Odds
|San Francisco 49ers
A 49ers-Ravens showdown would pit the NFL’s #1 scoring defense against its #1 scoring offense. It would also feature an intriguing chess match between offensive guru Kyle Shanahan and defensive mastermind John Harbaugh. Past postseason meetings between these tacticians have produced instant classics:
- Super Bowl 47 (2013) – Baltimore defeats SF 34-31 in dramatic finish
- Super Bowl 54 (2020) – Kansas City wins 31-20 over Shanahan’s 49ers
While injuries or single-elimination variance could always alter things, most experts currently predict some combination of the 49ers and Ravens playing on Super Bowl Sunday. Their regular season dominance shows why they possess the best odds to claim the Lombardi Trophy in three weeks.
Barring surprises, the 2024 NFL postseason appears to be following an expected script thus far. Now fans eagerly await San Francisco and Baltimore proving oddsmakers right over the next month.
Upcoming Playoff Schedule
|Wild Card Weekend
|SF -200, Bal -200
|Super Bowl LVIII
|SF +250, Bal +275
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Updated January 11th, 2024.
Long Shots Still Hold Super Bowl Dreams
Despite the 49ers and Ravens clear betting favorites, some long-shot teams maintain realistic hopes of crashing the Super Bowl party:
Buffalo Bills (+600) – QB Josh Allen guides a talented, experienced roster. The Bills took KC to overtime in last year’s AFC Championship and could challenge Baltimore as this year’s road warriors.
Dallas Cowboys (+600) – Explosive offense led by RB Ezekiel Elliott and WR CeeDee Lamb. Dallas matches up well against injury-riddled Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round.
Cincinnati Bengals (+1200) – After last season’s Super Bowl appearance, the gritty Bengals can’t be counted out. A rematch with the Ravens may be their only path back.
New York Giants (+2500) – The ultimate underdogs, the Giants have a fierce pass rush that gives them a puncher’s chance against Dallas and beyond.
While most bettors view San Francisco and Baltimore as the safest championship bets, surprise stories do unfold every NFL postseason. The 2024 field features several dark horses with the talent and pedigree to make unexpected January runs.
Key Storylines to Watch
As the 2024 NFL playoffs take center stage, here are the top storylines to monitor over the next month:
- Can the 49ers translate regular season dominance into playoff success?
- Will Lamar Jackson carry Baltimore’s offense to a championship?
- Which wildcard sleeper team will go on a surprise run?
- How will Josh Allen and Buffalo respond after last year’s heartbreak?
- Can injury-riddled teams like Tampa Bay still contend for a title?
The road to the Super Bowl always provides captivating football theater. This postseason promises to unveil many memorable moments, all building towards a climactic finale between the NFC and AFC last teams standing. For fans, it shapes up to be the most wonderful time of the NFL year.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.