Some days I struggle to find topics to write on that will intrigue sports bettors. I realize the title may be click bait, however, I believe there is real merit in the numbers. By looking at the team odds to win every division, we should be able to get a good feel for who sportsbooks believe will punch their ticket to the 2018 NFL Playoffs. For the record, these odds were just prior to preseason Week 1 and there is no scientific proof to these findings.
Let’s start in the NFC, where in the East, the Eagles have the shortest odds of any NFC division at -175, making them a near lock for the playoffs in the eyes of the oddsmakers. The Rams are next at -155 to win the West, with the Vikings favored to win the North at odds of -105. In the closest NFC division, the Saints are expected to win the South and have the distinction as the only division favorite in the NFC to have odds better than an even payout at +125.
Although I did crunch some numbers, there is no complex algorithm to how I determined the best way to calculate who would make the playoffs as Wild Card teams. Bare with me here. The NFC South was one of the closest divisions in relation to odds to win the division. If it weren’t for the Bucs’ long odds, it would have been the closest race by far.
As stated earlier, the Saints odds are set at +125, but the Falcons are close behind at +150 with the Panthers less than a football field length away at +225. In the North, the Vikings are very close to a PK at -105, however, hanging tight are the Packers at +125. In the East, the Eagles look to have a strangle hold out on the division with the Cowboys at +375 and both the Giants and Redskins at +425 (Skins are bound to drop with the news of rookie RB Guice out for the season with an ACL).
Last but not least is the NFC West, where the only team even close to the Rams is the 49ers at +200. I was shocked to see the Seahawks paying big money for a $100 bet to win the West.
Taking all this into consideration, here’s how I see how the sportsbooks see the NFC 2018 NFL Playoff picture looking:
East – Eagles
North – Vikings
South – Saints
West – Rams
Wild Card #1 – Packers
Wild Card #2 – Falcons
The AFC has a different feel to it, with the Patriots (-625) and Steelers (-275) big favorites to win their division. Because of the difference, it was a little harder to put a value on the team rankings relating to the Wild Card.
The odds were massive for the Bills, Fins and Jets, so they get no consideration. The same can pretty much be said for the North, with the Ravens getting a pinch. It was a different story in both the South and West, with each having two teams to consider after the Jaguars (+150) and Chargers (+105) earned their spot as favorites to win their division.
The South looks to have some serious intrigue this season, with by far the closest odds of any division. The Texans are staring the Jags in the face at +175 while the Titans are holding their ground at +250. This is almost reciprocated in the West, with the Chiefs at +200 and the Raiders at +250.
After putting everything into my shaker…I put the lid on tight, give it a good shake…and this is how I got how the sportsbooks got the AFC shaking down:
East – Patriots
North – Steelers
South – Jaguars
West – Chargers
Wild Card #1 – Texans
Wild Card #2 – Chiefs
For the record, if I were going chalk through every division, my one deviation would be the Raiders over the Chiefs. I’m drinking that Gruden & Carr kool-aid. If they can find a way to get Mack signed and in camp, they will be a force.
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed playing with these numbers. Do I think these results will become reality? Maybe, there’s a good chance 75% of it plays out like this, but it’s the NFL, teams always surprise, both in a positive and a negative way. That’s what makes football great, and we’ll get to watch it all unfold in front of our very eyes shortly.