NFL Playoff Futures (1/1/14)

By John Ewing
After 50,000 simulations of the NFL Playoffs we find value in football futures: Super Bowl and Conference odds. Odds courtesy of

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the Super Bowl and compare that to our NFL Playoff Odds. For example, Cincinnati is listed at 18/1 to win the Lombardi Trophy, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Bengals they would need to win the Super Bowl 5.26% (which is 1/(1+18)) of the time. We project Cincinnati to win it all 5.30% of the time, meaning there is value in placing a bet at 18/1 odds.
Super Bowl Value Bets
Seattle Seahawks (13-3, 1st seed in the NFC)
Current odds: 11/4, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 26.7%
Seattle wins the Super Bowl 33.7% of the time
The Seahawks, No. 1 in our Power Rankings, finished with 13 wins, tied for the most wins in franchise history. The Hawks won the NFC West title for the first time since 2010 and the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Seahawks will have home field advantage throughout the postseason meaning the road to the Super Bowl runs through Seattle. The Seahawks have only lost one home game in the last two years and a lot of value in betting on the Hawks is derived from having one of the best home field advantages (The 12th Man) in the NFL.
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6, 3rd seed in the NFC)
Current odds: 16/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 5.88%
Philadelphia wins the Super Bowl 6.1% of the time
The Eagles were an afterthought at 50/1 to win the Super Bowl before the season began. With a win over Dallas, Philadelphia clinched the NFC East and will now host the Saints as the 3rd seed in the NFC. With a high-powered offense, 2nd in the league in yards per game (417.3) and 4th in points per game (27.6), it wouldn’t be surprising to see Philadelphia make a deep run in the postseason.
Cincinnati Bengals (11-5, 3rd seed in the AFC)
Current odds: 18/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 5.26%
Cincinnati wins the Super Bowl 5.3% of the time
The Bengals are 8-0 at home and get to host a playoff game. A cynic might say that is the best thing you could say about a team with Andy Dalton as its quarterback. Dalton’s 20 interceptions are concerning but half of them came in three games against top 15 pass defenses (Miami and Baltimore). The Red Rifle will face a Chargers defense that is 32nd in defensive passing efficiency and with weapons like A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard the Bengals can overcome any of their signal caller’s shortcomings.    
Conference Value Bets
There are two teams, Philadelphia Eagles (9/1) and Cincinnati Bengals (7/1), that have value in betting them to win their respective conferences. Since we have already discussed both teams above let's take a minute to talk about a team that you should not bet on, at least their futures odds.
Green Bay Packers (8-7-1, 4th seed in NFC)
Odds to win Conference: 8/1, Odds to win Super Bowl: 14/1
Green Bay wins the Super Bowl 2.2% of the time
After a dramatic win against Chicago and with Aaron Rodgers (and Randall Cobb) back one might be optimistic about the Packers playoffs chances. One would be wrong. Green Bay has a weak pass rush, a questionable secondary and a difficult path to the Super Bowl. Despite the bookmakers giving Green Bay the sixth best odds to win it all, the Packers are the least likely winner in our simulations.  
Below are the odds for each team to win the Super Bowl and their respective conferences. Plus, odds needed to place a wager and our projected odds for each team.

Super Bowl Odds

Team Super Bowl Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Seattle Seahawks 11/4 26.67% 33.70%
Denver Broncos 11/4 26.67% 25.30%
San Francisco 49ers 7/1 12.50% 7.50%
Carolina Panthers 10/1 9.09% 7.20%
New England Patriots 9/1 10.00% 6.20%
Philadelphia Eagles 16/1 5.88% 6.10%
Cincinnati Bengals 18/1 5.26% 5.30%
New Orleans Saints 22/1 4.35% 3.20%
Kansas City Chiefs 22/1 4.35% 1.80%
San Diego Chargers 35/1 2.78% 1.60%
Indianapolis Colts 28/1 3.45% 1.40%
Green Bay Packers 14/1 6.67% 0.80%

NFC Conference Odds

Team Conference Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Seattle Seahawks 10/11 52.38% 50.00%
Carolina Panthers 5/1 16.67% 16.40%
San Francisco 49ers 5/1 16.67% 13.60%
Green Bay Packers 8/1 11.11% 2.20%
Philadelphia Eagles 9/1 10.00% 11.50%
New Orleans Saints 14/1 6.67% 6.20%

AFC Conference Odds
Team Conference Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Denver Broncos 5/7 58.33% 52.50%
New England Patriots 7/2 22.22% 19.00%
Cincinnati Bengals 7/1 12.50% 13.20%
Indianapolis Colts 14/1 6.67% 4.90%
Kansas City Chiefs 14/1 6.67% 5.60%
San Diego Chargers 16/1 5.88% 4.80%