We are nearing the midpoint of the 2017 NFL season and almost every division is up for grabs. Only three defending division champions (Patriots, Steelers and Chiefs) sit in first place. Who’s the best team in each division and which team should you bet to win the division crown?
To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the division at BetOnline and compare that to our projected probability that they win the title based on 10,000 simulations of the 2017 season. For example, Pittsburgh is -1500 to win the AFC North. In order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Steelers they would need to take the division 93.8% (which is 1500/(100+1500)) of the time. The Killer B’s are projected to top the AFC North 91.5% of the time (most likely division champ), but there is no value in placing a bet at -1500 odds.
Here are four teams with the most value to win their division.
Current odds: +210, Implied Probability: 32.3%
Jags win the AFC South 53.9% of the time
In every division, the betting favorite is the same as our pick based on 10,000 simulations, except in the AFC South. The Titans (+150) and Texans (+175) have better odds yet the Jags are twice as likely to win the division. Isn’t Blake Bortles still the quarterback? Yes, but with a solid running game and a defense that leads the league in sacks (33) and turnovers (16) his impact on games should be limited. No team is as mispriced as Jacksonville according to our numbers. Even with Bortles starting, the Jags should be closer to -120 favorites than +210 underdogs.
Kansas City Chiefs
Current odds: -160, Implied Probability: 61.5%
Chiefs win the AFC West 80.3% of the time
Kansas City started the season 5-0 and were the darlings of the betting world going a perfect 5-0 against-the-spread. The Chiefs have since lost two straight and failed to cover in both. Contrarian betting means buying low and selling high. Casual bettors are jumping off KC’s bandwagon, perfect time to hop on. The oddsmakers see this as one of the most competitive divisions (every team is +800 or better to win) but our simulations disagree. Only three teams have better than an 80% chance of winning their division and the Chiefs are one of them despite their recent losing streak.
Current odds: -175, Implied Probability: 63.6%
Seahawks win the NFC West 77.2% of the time
The Rams have a better record, the best point differential in football and are in first place in the NFC West. So why is Seattle the most likely team to win the division? In a two-horse race, the Seahawks own the tiebreaker after beating the Rams 16-10 in Week 5. The offense is inconsistent but the defense remains a strength. As long as the Legion of Boom is allowing the fewest points in the NFL Seattle will be the favorite in the division.
New Orleans Saints
Current odds: +145, Implied Probability: 40.8%
Saints win the NFC South 52.3% of the time
Drew Brees has been in New Orleans for 11 years. In five seasons, when the defense has been average (<24 points/game) the team is 58-22 but in the other six seasons, when the team has allowed 24 or more points per game, the Saints have gone 43-53 per Mike Sando of ESPN. New Orleans is 15th in defensive DVOA in 2017 and has won four straight. After starting 0-2, the Saints chance of winning the division has increased from 3.7% to 52.3%.
Week 8: Saints vs. Bears
This Pro System is 120-68 (64%) ATS since 2003
NFL Division Odds and Probabilities
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