Las Vegas sets lines(odds) for NFL teams to win or lose each week during the regular season. Some teams will be favorites to win games while others will be projected to lose.
One hidden gem Vegas also offers are odds for which NFL teams are likely to make the playoffs. Since Vegas isn’t in the business of losing money, the odds they set for these types of sporting events can be a good starting point if we are trying to determine what teams have the best chance of making the playoffs.
Below are Sportsbook lines for teams that are likely to make the playoffs:
San Diego Chargers +180
Detroit Lions +175
Chicago Bears +135
Pittsburgh Steelers +115
Cincinnati Bengals -105
Philadelphia Eagles -165
Indianapolis Colts -200
New Orleans Saints -225
Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers -250
Seattle Seahawks – 360
Denver Broncos -500
New England Patriots -550
If you are looking at this list you’ll notice two things; The teams at the top are least favorite to make the playoffs while the teams at the bottom are heavy favorites to make the playoffs. Secondly, I have listed 13 teams when only 12 will actually get in. I have included 13 teams as they are the closest in terms of odds, while the rest of the NFL teams are heavy underdogs to make it into the playoffs.
So what can we learn from this list?
First, The Broncos and Patriots are very likely to make the playoffs. Secondly, The Seahawks, 49ers, Packers, Saints, Colts and Eagles and Bengals are are favorites or heavy favorites to make it in.
The interesting thing here is the Steelers, Bears, Lions and Chargers are all in the mix to make it into the playoffs as Wildcard teams. This is a pretty important distinction to make from the rest of the teams on the list, as it gives us a look into which NFL teams are expected to have the best record from their conference, but not necessarily win their division.
If the Divisions were expected to pan out the way these odds indicate, it would look something like this
AFC East winner – Patriots
AFC North Winner – Bengals
AFC West Winner – Broncos
AFC South Winner – Colts
AFC Wildcard Teams – Steelers, Chargers
Of note here is the Steelers are considered likely to be in the wildcard matchup, but are so close to the Bengals(in terms of odds) that either could end up winning the division and the other would get in as a wildcard team.
NFC East Winner – Eagles
NFC North Winner – Packers
NFC West Winner – Seahawks
NFC South Winner – Saints
AFC Wildcard Teams – (Two of Three) Bears, Lions, 49ers
The AFC is a lot of fun to look at. The Seahawks are favorites to win the NFC West which would mean the 49ers would have to get into the playoffs as a wildcard team, which would then knock out either the Bears or the Lions. The odds also indicate (+135, +175 respectively) that the Bears and Lions are very close to being in a dead-heat going in, even though only one is expected to make it in.
To wrap this up, these of course are predictions based on numbers set by people in Vegas, and are ever-changing based on many different factors that seem to pop up in the NFL. If we can view this list as a ‘Power-ranking-odds-system’ of what teams are projected to do, it can be a good starting point of what to watch for throughout the NFL regular season and how each week the playoff race may shape up.