NFL Playoff Value Bets

Dec 21, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) scrambles during the game against the Dallas Cowboys  at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NFL season kicks off Thursday with a rematch of Super Bowl 50. Before the Broncos and Panthers take the field here are a few teams with value 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 odds that they make the postseason based on 10,000 simulations of the 2016 season. For example, Green Bay (our most likely Super Bowl champion) is -380 to return to the playoffs. In order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Packers they would need to reach the postseason 79.2% (which is 380/(100+380)) of the time. The Cheeseheads are projected to make the playoffs 82.4% of the time, meaning there is value in placing a bet at -380 odds.

Here are a few teams with value.

Dallas Cowboys

Current odds: +145, Implied Probability: 40.8%

Cowboys make the playoffs 53.8% of the time

Tony Romo is hurt, again. Initial reports estimated the Pro Bowl quarterback would miss six to ten weeks with a broken bone in his back. However, the Cowboys did not place Romo on injured reserve hinting at an earlier return to action. In our simulations, we assumed Romo would play half the season, if he returns sooner than expected that only helps this bet. Even with Dak Prescott playing half the team’s games, the Cowboys are the favorites to win a weak NFC East. Win your division, make the playoffs, there is value taking the ‘Boys.

Indianapolis Colts

Current odds: -105, Implied Probability: 51.2%

Colts make the playoffs 61.1% of the time

Indy missed out on the postseason last year by one game (finished 8-8) and Andrew Luck didn’t play in nine contests. Don’t overthink this one. When Luck has been healthy and played a full season the Colts have won the AFC South.

Denver Broncos

Current odds: +105, Implied Probability: 48.8%

Broncos make the playoffs 54.9% of the time

A seventh round pick is going to start for the defending Super Bowl champions? These are strange times. Kansas City (-135) is the favorite out of the AFC West to make the playoffs but Denver, even with Trevor Siemian starting, is the team with value. The Broncos return most of the pieces from a historically great defense and managed to win it all with below average quarterback play (sorry, Peyton). Siemian doesn’t have to be great, he just needs to be serviceable.

Other teams with value: Packers, Panthers, Steelers, Bengals, Giants and Redskins.

Below are all 32 NFL teams and their chances to win make the playoffs.

TeamOddsImplied ProbabilityPlayoff Chance
Green Bay Packers-38079.2%82.4%
Carolina Panthers-32576.5%79.2%
Seattle Seahawks-34077.3%77.4%
Pittsburgh Steelers-25571.8%76.2%
New England Patriots-32076.2%
76.2%
Indianapolis Colts-10551.2%61.1%
Arizona Cardinals-22068.8%57.7%
Cincinnati Bengals-11553.5%57.2%
Denver Broncos+10548.8%54.9%
Kansas City Chiefs-13557.4%54.7%
Dallas Cowboys+14540.8%53.8%
New York Giants+14041.7%43.3%
Minnesota Vikings+13043.5%42.5%
Houston Texans+12544.4%42.1%
Oakland Raiders+15040.0%36.6%
Washington Redskins+22032.3%32.5%
Baltimore Ravens+16537.7%28.4%
Buffalo Bills+24529.0%27.4%
New York Jets+27526.7%26.0%
Jacksonville Jaguars+23030.3%23.2%
Atlanta Falcons+31024.4%22.2%
Chicago Bears+32523.5%22.1%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers+31024.4%21.1%
Los Angeles Rams+36021.7%19.1%
Detroit Lions+32023.8%17.2%
Miami Dolphins+31024.4%16.0%
New Orleans Saints+30524.7%15.2%
San Diego Chargers+35022.2%13.7%
Philadelphia Eagles+37521.1%10.0%
Tennessee Titans+60014.3%5.2%
San Francisco 49ers+80011.1%4.5%
Cleveland Browns+12507.4%1.3%

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