The 2015-16 NFL season is scheduled to begin on September 10th with the annual Thursday night kickoff game. This year’s matchup features the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although this date is still nearly two months away, sportsbooks have been posting a smorgasbord of betting opportunities including Week 1 lines, futures and prop bets.
At this time of the year, many bettors are beginning to tire of the lengthy (and often-times tedious) MLB season. These same individuals are typically morally opposed to betting WNBA games, despite the fact that there are actually excellent opportunities for shrewd bettors. To capitalize on this lull in the sports calendar, offshore oddsmakers will almost always go back to their bread and butter — football.
While most fans were watching the Kansas City Royals, or rather the American League, win the MLB All-Star game, one prominent offshore sportsbook posted one of the most sought after prop bets; particularly for the more casual fan.
Earlier in the week BetOnline, which has a reputation as being one of the more “square” offshore sportsbooks, posted NFL playoff odds for all 32 NFL teams. Along with the odds to make or miss the playoffs, we wanted to know the implied probability for each franchise to reach the postseason. By eliminating the juice/vig, we believe we have an accurate gauge on the confidence of the oddsmakers.
The table below displays the odds from BetOnline on July 17th, and will be updated as new information becomes available.
|Team||Make Playoffs||Miss Playoffs||Implied Probability|
|Green Bay Packers||-550||+350||81.82%|
|New England Patriots||-300||+240||72.97%|
|New Orleans Saints||+125||-155||41.67%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+165||-205||35.09%|
|San Diego Chargers||+170||-215||34.19%|
|New York Giants||+190||-240||31.75%|
|St. Louis Rams||+220||-280||28.57%|
|New York Jets||+350||-500||19.05%|
|San Francisco 49ers||+350||-500||19.05%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+600||-1000||11.11%|
The Seattle Seahawks (+450) are the favorite to win their second Super Bowl in three years, so it’s hardly shocking to see them with the best odds of making the postseason. However, bettors may be curious as to why they are tied with the Indianapolis Colts as the most likely playoff team.
At +800, the Colts futures are worse than the Green Bay Packers (+550) and are tied with the New England Patriots. Considering that the Pats are only listed at -300 to make the playoffs, there are two immediate takeaways:
- The AFC South is one of the weaker divisions in football, making it more likely that Indianapolis will reach the playoffs. This assertion is supported by the current divisional odds.
- The current turmoil surrounding Tom Brady has made it very difficult for bettors to set good lines for the Patriots. Although most sportsbooks moved the Pats from -6.5 to -3 for their Week 1 game against the Steelers, many oddsmakers (including the market-setting CRIS) have taken this game off the board. We’ve also noticed similar hesitation with New England’s win total. Ultimately, oddsmakers believe the Patriots are still an elite team with Super Bowl aspirations, but their chances of actually making the playoffs wane if Brady is forced to miss significant time.
It’s also interesting to examine the quagmire known as the AFC North where the Ravens (-130) have the best odds of making the playoffs, but the Bengals (+100) and Steelers (+110) are nipping at their heels. The Browns are being viewed as an afterthought with an 11.11% implied probability of reaching the postseason.
Although the NFC South is one of the weaker divisions in football, there is a similar level of parity at the top. The Saints (+125), Panthers (+135) and Falcons (+145) are all listed at plus money, making this the only division in football where no team’s implied probability of making the playoffs is at least 50%.
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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@sportsinsights.com.