NFL Playoff Odds (12/17/14)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Playoff odds for teams still battling for a spot in the NFL Playoffs. Odds courtesy of

Four teams, the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts have clinched a postseason berth. With eight spots remaining in the NFL Playoffs, which teams will clinch the final seeds?

Below we look for value in the odds for playoff hopefuls to reach the postseason. We utilize our NFL Playoff Predictions to find the likelihood of a given team making the playoffs.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to make the playoffs and compare that to our projected odds to reach the postseason. For example, Dallas is listed at -275 (4/11) to make the playoffs, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Cowboys they would need to reach the postseason 73.3% (which is 11/(4+11)) of the time. We project the Boys to reach the playoffs 74.3% of the time, meaning there is slight value in placing a bet at -275 odds.

Cincinnati Bengals

Odds: -200, Implied Chance: 66.7%, Projected Chance: 78.0%

The Bengals lead the AFC North by half a game over the Ravens and Steelers. Cincinnati has two difficult games remaining (vs. Denver, at Pittsburgh), but the Bengals only need one more win to clinch a playoff spot.

Cincinnati provides the best value because even though the team will be underdogs in its remaining games, the Bengals will have a good chance of being the six seed in the AFC with nine wins because of their tie.

Detroit Lions

Odds: -1000, Implied Chance: 90.9%, Projected Chance: 96.6%

The Lions are near locks to make the playoffs. Detroit can clinch a playoff spot with a win, a tie plus an Eagles loss or tie, or an Eagles loss. Detroit can even lock up a first round bye with a win, a Packers loss and a Cowboys loss.

Even though Detroit is a heavy favorite to make the playoffs, there is still value in betting the Lions to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Odds: -400, Implied Chance: 80.0%, Projected Chance: 85.7%

Pittsburgh has two interesting matchups remaining against fellow contenders (Kansas City and Cincinnati) for the final AFC playoff spots. If all goes well, the Steelers could earn the third seed in the AFC or stumble and fall out of the playoffs altogether.

Needing one win with two home games to go, Pittsburgh is a likely playoff participant.

Additional teams with value: Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.

Odds to reach the 2014-15 NFL Playoffs

Team Will Team Make Playoffs? Odds Needed Projected Odds
Atlanta Falcons +400 20.0% 18.1%
Baltimore Ravens -400 80.0% 83.2%
Buffalo Bills +600 14.3% 9.7%
Carolina Panthers +400 20.0% 20.4%
Cincinnati Bengals -200 66.7% 78.0%
Dallas Cowboys -275 73.3% 74.3%
Detroit Lions -1000 90.9% 96.6%
Kansas City Chiefs +275 26.7% 26.6%
Miami Dolphins +1000 9.1% 0.0%
New Orleans Saints -225 60.2% 61.5%
Philadelphia Eagles +140 41.7% 37.0%
Pittsburgh Steelers -400 80.0% 85.7%
San Diego Chargers +250 28.6% 13.7%