Heading into Week 10, NFL teams have played 132 games, there are just 125 remaining. With half the season in the books, some teams have disappointed while others have impressed. Jacksonville is one of the surprise teams of 2017, it sounds crazy but the Jaguars can win the AFC.
Each week we simulate the NFL season 10,000 times using player and team statistics adjusted for strength of schedule. By comparing our projections to the betting odds (BetOnline) we can find value on NFL futures. Today we will look at the odds to win each conference. For example, New England is a +150 favorite to win the AFC. In order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Pats they would need to win the conference 40.0% (which is 100/(100+150)) of the time. The defending conference champs are projected to repeat 26.5% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at +150 odds.
AFC Probabilities and Odds
|Team||Odds||Projected Chance %|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+450||16.1|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+2500||0.3|
|New England Patriots||+150||26.5|
|New York Jets||+6600||0.1|
Current odds: +800, Implied Probability: 11.1%
Jags win AFC 17.4% of the time
It’s been a minute since the Jags were good. From 2011 to 2016, Jacksonville won the fewest games in the NFL (22) and were the second least profitable team (38-54-4 ATS, -17.81 units). Times have changed. The league’s best defense (No. 1 in DVOA and allowing fewest points per game) and an efficient rushing attack (4.9 yards/attempt, most rushing yards in the league) have dragged Blake Bortles to a 5-3 record and first place in the division. The former sad-sack of the AFC South has a 94.3% chance to make the playoffs and the third best probability to win the AFC.
Anyone get Jacksonville at +5000 in the preseason to win the AFC (pics or it didn’t happen)? Even if you missed the boat on those long odds, there is still value at +800.
Current odds: +340, Implied Probability: 22.7%
Steelers win AFC 30.4% of the time
We like the Jags but we are higher on the Steelers. Pittsburgh is in Tier 1 of our Power Rankings and are the most likely team to win the Super Bowl. This is what we said about the Killer B’s yesterday: “The team’s schedule in the second half of the season is favorable. Five of the eight remaining games will take place in the friendly confines of Heinz Field and only two of the Steelers remaining opponents have a winning record. Plus, in what could ultimately decide home field advantage in the AFC, Pittsburgh will host New England in their Week 15 matchup.” Give a team as good as Pittsburgh a bye and home field advantage (they are favorites to get both) and the team has value to win the AFC, even at +340 odds.
NFC Probabilities and Odds
|Team||Odds||Projected Chance %|
|Green Bay Packers||+3300||0.1|
|Los Angeles Rams||+650||11.1|
|New Orleans Saints||+700||14|
|New York Giants||+12500||0.0|
|San Francisco 49ers||+250000||0.0|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+12500||0.0|
Current odds: +650, Implied Probability: 13.3%
Seahawks win NFC 18.1% of the time
Sunday’s loss to the Redskins was baffling, missed field goals and turnovers cost them the game. Seattle, now 5-3, sits behind the Rams in the NFC West. You’d be forgiven for thinking Seattle was trending in the wrong direction but it is always important to not overreact to one game. Despite the hiccup against Washington, Russell Wilson has an 85.2% chance to lead the team back to the playoffs. Before Week 9, Seattle was +450 to win the NFC. Oddsmakers have inflated the Seahawks odds after one bad loss giving contrarian bettors an opportunity to profit.
New Orleans Saints
Current odds: +700, Implied Probability: 12.5 %
Saints win NFC 14.0% of the time
Are the Saints the best team in the NFC? If it weren’t for a seven-game winning streak by the Eagles more people would be talking about New Orleans as the class of the conference. A resurgent defense (8th in DVOA) paired with a Drew Brees’ led offense (6th in the league in scoring and 2nd in yards per game) is a scary thought come playoff time.
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