And then there were eight. Roger Goodell will hand the Lombardi Trophy to someone in Minneapolis but which team will it be? We simulated the NFL Playoffs 10,000 times to determine the most likely champion. Now it’s time to find some value betting NFL futures before the Divisional Round. Odds courtesy of Bookmaker.

AFC Championship

The Patriots and Steelers have been the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl all season. Combined, the top seeds in the conference have a 76.0% chance of playing in Minnesota come February. The simulations favor New England and Pittsburgh but oddsmakers have adjusted lines to the point where no value can be found.

That leaves two longshots in the Jags and Titans. At +2900, bettors are getting fair odds on Tennessee though the real value lies with Jacksonville. It’s not often a team wins in the playoffs and their odds get worse to win the championship (JAX was +1750 to win Super Bowl before the Wild Card round). A 10-3 victory against the Bills has not inspired confidence in the betting community. Blake Bortles rushing (88 yards) for one more yard than he passed (87 yards) for sums up the offensive struggles in the Wild Card round. However, the Jags were never going to win a title on the arm of Bortles. To capture the AFC and make a Super Bowl run the defense will have to carry the day. The unit is No. 1 in DVOA and tops against the pass by a mile, which will come in handy against the Steelers and Patriots.

At +975, the odds imply a 9.3% chance of Sacksonville winning the AFC. According to our simulations, the Jags reach the Super Bowl 19.9% of the time making Bortles the best bet on the board.

TeamOddsProjected Probability (%)

NFC Championship

New Orleans is the most-balanced offense in the NFC. Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas have given defenses fits all season. The team is top five in the NFL in points (28.0), passing yards (261.8) and rushing yards (129.4) per game and no slough on defense, ranking 6th in weighted DVOA. Brees & Co. are listed at +355 to win the NFC, according to our simulations they should be closer to +280 meaning there is value on the Saints.

TeamOddsProjected Probability (%)

Super Bowl

Jacksonville’s path to the Super Bowl is arduous.  If the Jags get by the Steelers, they’ll have to travel to Foxborough to take on the defending champions and then possibly face the Vikings in Minnesota during the Super Bowl. Pair that with a Blake Bortles-led offense that has scored one touchdown in the last eight quarters and you get an underdog that few want to bet. If it was easy you wouldn’t get long odds. At +2250, you need just 4.3% confidence that the Jaguars win the Super Bowl, if so place the bet.

For the risk averse gamblers out there, the Saints (+690) are offering even-money based on the simulations.

TeamOddsProjected Probability (%)
Falcons +8156.6


NFL Divisional Round

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Photo Courtesy of Reinhold Matay – USA Today Sports