If the playoffs started today, the Broncos (preseason win total of 8.5) would be the top seed in the AFC and the Patriots would miss the postseason for the first time since 2008. The standings can look wonky after two games causing casual bettors to overreact. To take advantage let’s look at prop bets for teams to “make” and “miss” the postseason. Which AFC teams are the best bet to make the playoffs?
To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to make the playoffs at 5Dimes and compare that to our projected probability that they reach the postseason based on 10,000 simulations of the 2017 season. For example, the Patriots are -1800 to play past Week 17 for a ninth straight year. In order for us to feel comfortable wagering on New England they would need to make the playoffs 94.7% (which is 1800/(100+1800)) of the time. The Pats make the playoffs 91.9% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at -1800 odds.
Make the Playoffs
Current odds: +900, Implied Probability: 10.0%
Bills make playoffs 14.5% of the time
17 years. That’s how long it’s been since the Buffalo Bills reached the postseason, the longest drought in major sports. It could all end this season, which seems crazy after the team scored three points in a loss to the Panthers in Week 2. Look past the poor performance and you got a team with a stout defense (3rd in DVOA) that plays an easy schedule (4 games against Jets/Dolphins, plus Bengals, Saints and Colts). Worse teams have reached the playoffs.
Current odds: -550, Implied Probability: 84.6%
Steelers make playoffs 88.9% of the time
Easiest way to reach the postseason, win your division. Pittsburgh has a 68.8% chance of winning the AFC North for a third time in four years and the team hasn’t even got Le’Veon Bell going yet.
NFL Week 3: Bears vs. Steelers
This Pro System is 138-89 (60.8%) ATS since 2003
Current odds: -185, Implied Probability: 64.9%
Ravens make playoffs 67.0% of the time
Knock the Ravens’ wins (at Cincy, vs. Cleveland) if you want but they count as W’s in the record book. Any offense led by Joe Flacco has a low ceiling but the team has already positioned itself well for a postseason run by taking care of business against bad teams. Since 2008, the AFC North has sent at least two teams to the playoffs seven times.
Miss the Playoffs
Current odds: -280, Implied Probability: 73.7%
Dolphins miss playoffs 78.7% of the time
Jay Cutler is starting for the Dolphins, do I need to say any more?
Kansas City Chiefs
Current odds: +215, Implied Probability: 31.7%
Chiefs miss playoffs 34.5% of the time
Ultimate contrarian bet. Chiefs start the season with an improbable win over the defending champions only to fail to reach the playoffs. I can hear the screams in Kansas City already. The best reason to place this bet is because KC has a brutal schedule: there are no easy games in the AFC West and outside of the division the Chiefs get six playoff teams from a season ago.
Which AFC teams are the best bet to make the playoffs?
|Team||Make||Miss||Project Chance to Make Playoffs|
|New England Patriots||-1800||+880||91.9%|
|New York Jets||+4000||-16000||0.44%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-295||+215||65.5%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+700||-1500||5.9%|