The NFL playoffs are underway and betting odds have some clear-cut favorites. The road will be tough for most teams as the consistency was an issue for most of the NFL. However, the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans battled a lot of adversity and locked up the one-seed in each conference. Could we see a Bengals or 49ers dark horse Super Bowl run? Or will it be one of the usual suspects like the Packers, Chiefs, or Bucs. Check out the playoff odds and find out.
NFL Playoff Odds
Ranking Teams Based on the Value of Their Super Bowl Odds
San Francisco 49ers (+2000)
Love the 49ers for a few reasons. First, they are the best red zone offense in the NFL. Year after year in these playoffs we see how thin the margins become. The difference between 3 and 7 is going to be huge and the Niners are likely going to be on the right side of it. Second, they average the second most yards per completion. Not only do they have a solid run game with Elijah Mitchell, but they also have the ability to beat you over the top. Third, they have a top 3 defense in the NFL despite playing in an offensive powerhouse of a division. They can shut teams down in both the rushing and passing game for stretches, keeping them in games until their big play offense inevitably strikes.
Buffalo Bills (+750)
I love this Bills team’s odds to win the AFC at +360 and their Super Bowl odds at +750. Not only do they have a veteran squad led by a quarterback who’s won playoff games before, but they also match up well with every team in the AFC except maybe Tennessee with a healthy Derrick Henry. While Josh Allen and Stephon Diggs may represent this team on social media, what really defines the Bills is their defense. The Bills have held opposing quarterbacks to the lowest completion percentage and yards per attempt of any team in football. They allow just 17 points a game, the best in the league, and lead the league in passing touchdowns and first downs allowed. Josh Allen has been reckless at times this year as he’s tied for second in the league in interceptions, but he’s also the only player in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards and rush for over 750 in the same season.
Tennessee Titans (+850)
As perhaps one of the most disrespected one seeds of all time, there’s a lot of value on the Titans Super Bowl odds. With Derrick Henry coming back from injury, I think they pose a really difficult matchup problem for even the most dynamic defenses, and they’ve shown all year they can play up to their competition — beating the Rams, 49ers, Bills, and Chiefs. They have the best coach in the AFC outside of Bill Belichick, and a running game that ranks second among playoff teams in YPG. Their defense is also stingy, allowing touchdowns on only 52 percent of opponent red zone drives. I think the Titans worst matchup right now is the Patriots who beat them soundly earlier this season, though the playoffs with Derrick Henry are a whole new beast.
Green Bay Packers (+380)
At +380, the Green Bay Packers are currently the odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl. They finally have their all pro LT David Bakhtiari back in the lineup and may see the return of Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith for the divisional round. I think both players’ return would be not only timely but necessary for this Packer team as this defense has cooled down significantly over the last third of the season, allowing over 27 points a game from weeks 11-17. Despite having the best record in the NFL, the Packers rank 10th in point differential and have struggled to put teams away all season. That said, I still like these odds on the speculation that Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith return and bring this defense back to form. I also think the law of averages suggest that the Packers are due for an NFC championship game win, but I guess we’ll see.
Cincinnati Bengals (+1600)
Cincinnati’s passing offense has been electric over the second half of season, trailing only Tampa in plays over 40 yards. No player averages more yards per completion than Joe Burrow, and, shockingly, Joe Mixon ranks 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards. I do think they have the worst line play of any team in the playoffs and are too dependent on Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase catching 50/50 balls downfield. Their big play style and competence at coach and quarterback, however, gives them a good chance to upset teams that may have talent advantages. Their AFC title odds are also a good play at +650.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+800)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do one thing exceptionally well and it’s not Tom Brady. Well, that’s a bit hyperbolic because Tom Brady is a bona fide MVP candidate that leads the NFL in passing yards, but this offensive line is also having a dominant year. No team has allowed fewer sacks than the Bucs and no quarterback has been pressured less than Brady. Leading the NFL in both passing yards and attempts, the Bucs love to throw the ball. To put good teams away, though, they are going to need to get healthy at running back. As of the end of week 18, 3 of their top 4 running backs were out on the IR. With Chris Godwin out for the season, this puts a lot of pressure on Mike Evans, Gronk, and this defense.
Kansas City Chiefs (+450)
If the AFC wasn’t so unpredictable this year I’d like to fade the Chiefs hard, though they remain the only proven coach/quarterback duo in the AFC field that’s still in their prime. Something about the way this team has become increasingly dependent on defensive touchdowns gives me concern, though I do think having one of the easier first round matchups and home field advantage until the conference championship game will give them the leeway to work through some mistakes. The big problem for this Chiefs team is going to be the Bills. If these two teams meet in the divisional round, they’re going to have to get the running game established. Otherwise, Josh Allen and the Bills offense will be off to the races with Patrick Mahomes trying to fend off one of the best secondaries of the last half decade to keep pace.
New England Patriots (+2200)
Oh what to do with a rookie Mac Jones on the road in the playoffs. I still can’t fully figure him out, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s that the Patriots are going to have to get some serious breaks to make the Super Bowl, much less win it. For one, I think the Buffalo Bills are a similar, but better version of the Patriots. Both teams are well coached with elite defenses that supplement their offense. What the Bills have that the Patriots don’t, however, is elite speed on the perimeter and dynamic quarterback play. Quarterbacks making their first start in the playoffs against a quarterback with playoff experience are 14-32-1 ATS since 2002. Even if the Patriots escape Buffalo, they’ll likely have to face Tennessee —a horrible matchup for a team who has struggled to defend the run at times this year.
Los Angeles Rams (+1000)
I wanted to fade this Rams team so badly until they drew the Cardinals in round one. Only Trevor Lawrence has thrown more interceptions than Matt Stafford this year and they’ve struggled to put up points as a team in games where they don’t control time of possession. I think they’ll beat the Cardinals because they’re healthier and more dynamic on offense, but I also think the last team the Rams want to face on the road in round 2 is Green Bay. With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon having another week to get healthy, I think this Packer team can control the tempo of this matchup and force Stafford into risky throws late in games.
Philadelphia Eagles (+6000)
With the best rushing offense in football, the Birds are the true definition of a specialist. They lead the league in rushing yards, touchdowns, and first downs per game behind the dual threat of Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders. Despite this, however, they rank just 20th in the NFL in average time of possession. Going up against Tampa Bay in round 1, they’re not only going to need to be able to keep him off the field, they’re also going to need to slow down the passing game. The Eagles rank 4th among NFC playoff teams in passing yards allowed. Miles Sanders is listed as questionable heading into the weekend, and he’s going to need to be healthy to keep this offense rolling. Overall, I’m not a huge Eagles apologist this year because I think there’s no way they escape their first round matchup against the Bucs. Young quarterbacks rarely knock off experienced quarterbacks in these games especially when they have the weaker roster.
Las Vegas Raiders (+6000)
I wouldn’t touch the Raiders on the spread this weekend much less their playoff odds moving forward. After playing one of the craziest games in NFL history on Sunday Night, the Raiders fly out to Cincinnati this weekend to take on the Bengals in the earliest playoff game of the weekend. Josh Jacobs is banged up, Rich Bisaccia is arguably the worst coach in the playoffs, and both their rushing offense and defense have been pedestrian. What the Raiders do have going for them is consistency in the passing game. If they can dodge the elite secondaries of Buffalo and New England, which is likely if they can survive the Bengals, they’ll be able to put up points against anyone they meet in the AFC.
Dallas Cowboys (+1200)
Fading the Cowboys from the start. I don’t like their odds to get out of Sunday’s game against San Francisco, much less the NFC. While they may be 12-5, they’re really 6-0 against the NFC East and 6-5 against everyone else. Dak has struggled to throw the ball downfield over the latter half of the season, and Mike McCarthey is always hard to trust. Perhaps most damning for the Cowboys is the path they’ll likely have to take to the Super Bowl. They’ll have to face a streaking San Francisco team with a good run defense and versatile pass defense first and then Tampa Bay second. Dallas’ defense has lived all season on opportunistic turnovers and pressuring the quarterback — two things the Bucs are great at avoiding.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+9,000)
Not only are the Pittsburgh Steelers the worst team in the playoffs, I’m not exactly sure what they do well. They have the worst run defense in the entire NFL allowing 146 yards a game, and an offensive line that’s built like swiss cheese. No quarterback averages fewer yards per pass attempt than Big Ben at 6 YPA and they are the only team in the playoffs to rush for less than 95 yards a game. I usually love to hammer Mike Tomlin in big underdog spots on the road like this weekend against KC, but we’ve seen this movie before and it didn’t end well for the Steelers. When Kansas City can get their ground game going, it opens up so many more doors for this already electric offense. Don’t overthink it — fade this offensive line, fade this run defense.
Arizona Cardinals (+2,500)
Momentum isn’t as big a factor in the pros as it is in college but it certainly does play a role, and no team has less momentum right now than the Arizona Cardinals. They’ve lost 4 of 5 including losses to the Lions, Colts, and Seahawks. This offense looks considerably more stagnant without DeAndre Hopkins and James Conner in the lineup, and they’ve struggled to defend the run since JJ Watt went down. Going all the way back to his college coaching career with Patrick Mahomes, Kliff Kingsbury’s teams are 17-41 in the months of November and December. Translation: once Arizona is figured out, they struggle to make the right adjustments.