NFL Super Bowl Odds

Last Updated: 8/19/2014 10:03 PM ET

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The Predictalator uses current rosters and strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player stats to play, one play at a time, the NFL Playoffs bracket 50,000 times before it's actually played. For this analysis, we are tracking how likely a team is to make it to any level of the NFL Playoffs. The playoffs are played all the way through individually, with the team that wins each game in that instance advancing. The percentages in the table below represent the team's likelihood of advancing to that round.

After spending much of the last six weeks as our most likely Super Bowl winner, the Denver Broncos supplanted the Houston Texans in Week 17 to claim the top seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. The Broncos are our favorites to win the Super Bowl, making the Super Bowl 50.4% of the time and bringing home the title 28.6% of the time (making Denver 57% and three point favorite on average over its NFC opponent in the Super Bowl). In the AFC Playoff race, the Week 17 shake-up at the top leads to a bracket that is ultimately true to form in seeding. Denver is followed by the AFC's second seed in the New England Patriots, which has the third best chance to with the Super Bowl overall (15.4%) and would be underdogs (by just 1.8 points) to San Francisco from the NFC. Denver and New England meet in the AFC Championship game over half (50.7%) of the time. Houston, the AFC's third seed and its third best team at this point, is a distant third in AFC Championship winning (9.3%) and Super Bowl winning (4.2%) odds. After the top three AFC Seeds, the Baltimore Ravens (2.3%), Indianapolis Colts (0.3%) and Cincinnati Bengals (1.3%), combine for just 3.9% of all Super Bowl wins. The Colts, who have never been ranked higher than #20 in our NFL Power Rankings, have just a 1.1% chance of riding "Chuckstrong" magic through the AFC playoffs to make the Super Bowl (likely having to face Baltimore, Denver and New England on the road just to get to New Orleans). The Broncos win the Super Bowl more than New England, Houston, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Indianapolis (and Minnesota and Washington) combined. As it stands now, Denver and New England represent the AFC in the Super Bowl exactly 80% of the time. In general, the AFC is 52.1% likely to win the Super Bowl, but only the Broncos and Patriots would be favored to win over the average expected NFC Super Bowl participant.

The best NFC team with respect to its likelihood to win the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers, wins it all 20.6% of the time. Despite having home field advantage in the NFC Championship game if it gets there, the Atlanta Falcons are half as likely to make the Super Bowl as the 49ers. Atlanta is the fifth most likely overall Super Bowl champion at 6.5%. A 49ers @ Falcons NFC Championship game is just 29.1% likely to happen at this point. The 49ers are actually followed in Super Bowl likelihood by a fellow NFC West team. Though they would not likely get any playoff games at home (the best home field advantage in the NFL), the Seattle Seahawks, at 11.1% likely to win the Super Bowl, have the best chance of any team playing this weekend to win the Super Bowl. According to our numbers, the Seahawks, Texans and Packers are the three of the five best teams in the playoffs, so the projections could look different if those teams can avoid upsets this week. It should be noted as well that San Francisco and Seattle are the only NFC teams currently favored over the average AFC playoff team. Green Bay, which is the healthiest it has been in more than two months, still has a tough path to the Super Bowl that includes its third matchup with the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, potentially followed by back-to-back road games. Green Bay is only 1-3 on the season against NFC Playoff teams. The NFC North may have two teams in the postseason, but the division is only 16.3% likely to be represented in the Super Bowl. The Washington Redskins, the lone home underdog in Wild Card week, have an offense that can make the game competitive against anyone, yet would almost assuredly be underdogs in all four games en route to a Super Bowl championship. The Redskins vs. Seahawks game is certainly one to watch, though, as the winner of that game heads to the Super Bowl 27% of the time (the highest figure of any matchup this week). 

Interesting Super Bowl matchups and their relative likelihood include: Most Likely - Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers occurs 19.4% (last year's most likely Super Bowl was just 13% likely at this time); Top Seeds - Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons occurs 9.2%; All-Harbaugh - Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers occurs 2.4%; Biggest Projected Margin (13.4 points) - San Francisco 49ers  vs. Indianapolis Colts occurs 212 times out of 50,000; All Rookie Quarterbacks - Washington Redskins or Seattle Seahawks vs. Indianapolis Colts occurs 151 times out of 50,000 simulations; Least Likely - Indianapolis Colts vs. Minnesota Vikings occurs 25 of 50,000 times. Also, while Indianapolis is listed as winning the Super Bowl 0.3%, the Colts - the Colts, who are the only double-digit underdogs in any possible Super Bowl, actually take home the title exactly 149 times out of 50,000, but would not be greater than 30% likely to win over any NFC team.

NFL Playoff Odds (based on 2012-13 NFL Playoffs played 50,000 times)

Team Conference Championship Super Bowl Super Bowl Win
Denver Broncos 77.5% 50.4% 28.6%
San Francisco 49ers 61.9% 38.5% 20.6%
New England Patriots 65.4% 29.6% 15.4%
Seattle Seahawks 35.4% 19.8% 11.1%
Atlanta Falcons 47.0% 18.3% 6.5%
Green Bay Packers 23.4% 11.7% 5.2%
Houston Texans 24.2% 9.3% 4.2%
Washington Redskins 17.4% 7.1% 2.8%
Baltimore Ravens 18.3% 6.2% 2.3%
Minnesota Vikings 15.0% 4.5% 1.7%
Cincinnati Bengals 9.3% 3.4% 1.3%
Indianapolis Colts 5.3% 1.1% 0.3%

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