2019 NFL Playoffs Predictions: Odds for Teams to Make or Miss Postseason
In the world of almost endless options when it comes to betting on the NFL, one way that stand out from the rest right now is the ability to bet on whether any given team will make or miss the playoffs. It has all the intrigue of betting preseason futures or season win totals, but with a more limited time frame and much less risk. Of course, the lower risk means that in many cases the price is just awful. But there is some value to be had here. And, if nothing else, looking at these numbers is a good excuse to consider how we see things playing out down the stretch. Here are some of the more interesting of these numbers on the board:
Buffalo (Make -220, Miss +180): The team is currently 6-3 and alone in the first wild card spot in the AFC. They are two losses behind the Patriots and already lost to them at home, so they aren't winning the division. They need to stay in the wild card spot, then. They have games against the Dolphins , Broncos and Jets remaining, so nine wins seems like a reasonably floor. Then they have Dallas, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New England. They can't afford to be swept in those, obviously, but a win there could get them to 10 games, and that just might be enough. If nothing else, they are very likely to be in a tie-break battle with other teams in the conference at 10 wins given how many are at five wins right now. If the Bills could beat the Steelers, that would be particularly useful, as they are the current sixth playoff team in the conference. So, I am going to write a sentence I never thought possible heading into the season - the Bills are very likely a playoff team. There may even be a little value here.
Cleveland (Make +600, Miss -800): The Browns win one against the Bills, and suddenly people are trying to pretend that they have life in them. They don't. They would not only have to best one of the teams currently in a playoff spot but climb over six others in between them and the playoffs now. And Freddie Kitchens is still their coach, and he is still incompetent. There is not even an outside shot of a miracle here. They would need to run the table to get to 10 wins and even have a shot. And though they do get the Dolphins and the Bengals twice, they also have to play Pittsburgh twice and Baltimore once. It's not happening.
Pittsburgh (Make and Miss both -110): This is so interesting. This team was absolutely and utterly written off after a terrible start and the loss of their star QB. But they have won four in a row, their defense is ferocious with two of the better young linebackers out there leading the way, and Mason Rudolph isn't nearly as bad as some feared. The big thing they have going for them in this race, too, is that they own tiebreakers against both Oakland and Indianapolis. They have gimme games against the Bengals and the Jets, a manageable trip to Arizona, and, if they are lucky, they could face a Ravens team that has nothing to play for and is resting starters in Week 17. It could come down to the two games in the next three weeks against the Browns. At this point I would pick Pittsburgh as my second playoff team, so I would take the make price here. But it has been surprising that they are here, so it wouldn't be that surprising if they fell, too.
Oakland (Make +200, Miss -240): Their narrow win against the Chargers on Thursday night kept their playoff hopes alive. And they play the Bengals and Jets the next two weeks, so they should stay alive for a while. They also play the Broncos again, which should get them to eight wins. That means that they likely need two more beyond that. They play at the Chiefs and Chargers, and against the Titans and Jaguars. It's tough to know what any of those teams are at this moment, so you certainly can't rule the Raiders out in any game. I really don't like this team, and don't believe in them in a real way, but when you look at the remaining schedule it's tough to argue against the idea that there is some value in betting on them to make the playoffs at this price.
Dallas (Make -140, Miss +120): I would play the miss side of this very happily. The team is only at 5-4 right now, so they need to win the division to get in - the second wild card spot in conference sits at 7-3, and the race is going to be tough. The Cowboys have the same record as Philadelphia right now but are ahead because of a head-to-head win. Philadelphia has won two in a row since, though, while the Cowboys have dropped four of six. Management couldn't make it clearer that the coach is on a very hot seat, and he doesn't seem to have a lot of control of this team. Consistency has been a problem - on offense especially. And the Eagles have games against Dolphins, Giants and Redskins remaining - and they get to host the Cowboys in what could be a pivotal game. At this point, I feel fairly confident that the Cowboys aren't in.
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