Expert NFL Predictions: Will Team Make the Playoffs Props
Making the playoffs in the NFL is just plain tough. Sixteen teams fight for just six spots in each conference, and that means that many years we see some really good teams that don't get to play a 17th game. That means that we have a great betting opportunity around those playoff spots. Bovada has odds for all 32 two, allowing you to bet that they will or won't make the postseason. And, needless to say, there are some interesting numbers to discuss:
San Francisco - yes +135, No -165: The Niners won only six games last year, but five of them came after Jimmy Garoppolo was acquired and began starting. Now he has had an offseason to get more comfortable, and the coaching staff has had more time to get acclimatized. The team had mostly a solid offseason - the handling of Eric Reid has been lousy, but the rest is mostly positive. The Rams are good, but the Seahawks are Cardinals likely aren't, so there are opportunities here. It's a crowded field in the NFC wild-card hunt, but I am reasonably bullish about this team.
Philadelphia - yes -295, no +235: Defending is tough, and the team faces the pressure of having a massive target on their back this year. And their QB situation is unique for a team in this situation. But the talent is strong, the offseason has been excellent, and the NFC East is just plain lousy this year, so the path is manageable. There isn't enough value in this price to justify a season-long investment, but the yes is clearly the correct side here.
New York Giants - yes +250, no -325: This price made me laugh out loud. I like Saquon Barkley - maybe not picked quite as high as he was, but he's still very special. But I just don't like this team at all. Eli Manning is a walking farce at this point, the coaching staff is questionable, and the talent on both sides of the ball lacks depth. And Odell Beckham Jr. is volatile and discontent - a brutal combination for a guy like him. I wouldn't take the yes at +2500.
Minnesota - yes -215, no +175: I really like this team. Their 13 wins last year was no fluke, and they have had a strong offseason and made a quarterbacking change that is quite probably an upgrade. They are deep and well balanced, and the coaching is sound. And I have real reservations about the Packers this year, so the Vikings command the division as I see it. I have three NFC teams written into playoff spots mostly in pen, and the Vikings are one of them.
Cleveland - yes +450, no -650: There have been real positives moves, and the team is moving in a strong direction for the first time in a long time, but the distance between here and where they need to be is massive, and it is going to take time. The schedule is rough out of the gate, too, and that isn't going to help. The yes price here is awful.
Houston - yes and no -115: On one hand, Deshaun Watson showed a whole lot before his injury, and he should be able to take a step forward this year. And J.J. Watt is healthy to start the year, too. And they have some decent talent around him. But Bill O'Brien has consistently underwhelmed in his time in charge of this team, and I have a hard time having faith in this year suddenly being different. The AFC South is crowded, too, and there is a good chance that at least one good team will miss out of the playoffs. I want to like this team, but I can't get excited about being positive about them.
Baltimore - yes +145, no -175: This is a very interesting price to ponder. Cincinnati is a disaster, and Cleveland is still a work in progress, so there are some opportunities in the AFC North. And the Ravens have had an aggressive and interesting offseason, in particular how they have aggressively overhauled their receiving corps. But Pittsburgh is the better team, so winning the division will be tough, and the potential for a QB controversy that could become a distraction is high. I can certainly see them as a playoff team, but I am not sure that the yes side quite adequately covers the risk involved in betting on them.
Oakland - yes +155, no -190: It's crazy to think that this time last year we were talking about the Raiders winning the AFC, and then they won six games. Now they have done some nice things in the offseason, and I still believe in their core on both sides of the ball. But I have a hard time believing that Jon Gruden is really the future of this league, and nothing I have seen from him lately has changed that. I ultimately expect this team to be a little improved from last year but still frustratingly underwhelming. I like two teams in their division more than them, which makes it tough for me to like the yes here.
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