Upcoming Match-ups

How to Bet on the NFL Playoffs

Mitchell South

by Mitchell South

Updated Jul 27, 2023 · 11:53 AM PDT

Is there anything more exciting than betting on the NFL playoffs? After 16 grueling weeks on the gridiron, the best teams in the league battle it out for a chance to reach the Super Bowl.

Whether it’s moneyline, point spread, totals, futures, parlays, or props, there are a ton of ways to ramp up the postseason action with NFL playoff betting.

The NFL playoffs attract a huge betting handle (or total amount of money wagered) each year. The American Gaming Association estimated $6.8 billion in betting volume for the 2020 Super Bowl alone, an astronomical number for a single game.

You might be hesitant to take the plunge on betting NFL playoff games, even with all that action. Not to fear, we’re here to break down the details of wagering on the NFL postseason.

How to Bet on the NFL Playoffs Sections: NFL Playoffs Moneyline Betting | Point Spread Betting | Totals Betting | Prop Bets | NFL Playoff Parlays | Futures Betting | Live Bets | NFL Playoffs Odds Tracker

NFL Playoffs Betting Guide

Before we start talking postseason sports betting, let’s make sure we have the basics of the NFL playoffs covered.

The NFL decided to expand the playoff format to include 14 teams for the 2021 playoffs. That means there are a total of 13 NFL playoff games to bet on in 2024. There are three rounds of playoff competition before the Super Bowl. These rounds are known as Wild Card Weekend, the Divisional Round, and the Conference Championship.

Bet $5 & Get $150 in Bonus Bets at Bet365!
Bet $5 & Get $150 in Bonus Bets Instantly!
Get Your First Bet Back - Up To $1,000 On Caesars!
Sign Up & Receive Up to $1,050 in Bonuses

Seven teams from each of the NFL’s two conferences, the AFC and NFC, qualify for the playoffs based on their regular season record.

The AFC and NFC are broken down into four divisions respectively, with four NFL teams in each division. The four teams with the best records in their division automatically advance to the playoffs.

That leaves three playoff spots in both the AFC and NFC. The three Wild Card round spots are awarded to the teams with the best records who didn’t win their division.

Once all 14 playoff teams have been determined, they are seeded (ranked) one through seven in each conference.

These rankings are based on each team’s regular-season record. The better the record, the higher the seed. Here’s an example with fictional win-loss records in brackets to help give you a better understanding:

AFC Conference NFC Conference
1* – AFC North Division Winner (14-2) 1* – NFC South Division Winner (15-1)
2 – AFC East Division Winner (13-3) 2 – NFC North Division Winner (12-4)
3 – AFC West Division Winner (12-3-1) 3 – NFC West Division Winner (11-5)
4 – AFC South Division Winner (12-4) 4 – NFC East Division Winner (10-5-1)
5 – Wild Card 1 (11-5) 5 – Wild Card 1 (9-7)
6 – Wild Card 2 (9-7) 6 – Wild Card 2 (8-8)
7 – Wild Card 3 (8-8) 7 – Wild Card 3 (8-8)

*Indicates seed that earns a bye week

The top seed in each conference earns a bye week, or in other words, they automatically advance through the first elimination week of the NFL playoffs. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles clinched the top spots in 2023.

In the first week of the 2023 NFL playoffs, the 2 seed will face the 7 seed, the 3 seed will face the 6 seed, and the 4 seed will face the 5 seed. NFL playoff games are single elimination, so it’s either win or go home. That’s part of what makes betting on the NFL playoffs so exciting as opposed to the regular season or preseason.

The teams continue to play each other in single-elimination games, with each game’s winner advancing to the next round.

Matchups are determined by seed ranking throughout the playoffs. The last team standing in each conference advances to play in the Super Bowl championship game for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Now that we have a better understanding of the playoff format, let’s dig a little bit deeper into betting on these games.

Types of Bets You Can Make on the NFL Playoffs

The bets you can make on NFL playoff games aren’t a whole lot different from the ones you can make during the regular season. The stakes are admittedly higher, but we’ll get to that in just a minute. Real-time NFL lines and spreads are continuously updated throughout the season. Don’t forget to check out some of our best NFL betting sites to get started.

CAESARS SPORTSBOOK


Get Your First Bet Back - Up To $1,000 On Caesars!

LOCK IN PROMO
CODE: SBD1000
CODE: SBD1000
SIGNUP PROMO
GET UP TO
$1,000 BACK

CLAIM OFFER

First, let’s recap some of the bets you can place on NFL playoff games. These apply for all NFL teams, including the LA Chargers, New York Giants, or any other squads.

NFL Playoffs Moneyline Betting

Betting the moneyline is straightforward. You’re predicting who wins the game, regardless of the total score, player performance, or any other secondary factors.

Here’s a 2023 round one matchup with some moneyline odds:

Team Favorite or Underdog? Moneyline Odds
Dallas Cowboys Underdog +115
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Favorite -135

The NFL odds with a “-“ symbol indicate the betting favorite, and the numerical value lists how much money you would need to bet to win $100.

In the example above, Brady and the Bucs are favored to win the game. If you bet $135 on Tampa Bay and they end up winning, you would walk away with a total of $235.

The odds with a “+” symbol identify the underdog, and the numbers here depict how much money you’d win if you placed a bet of $100.

The Dallas Cowboys are listed as slight underdogs at +115 odds. If you smell an upset and place $100 on a Cowboys win, you could walk away with a total of $215.

Check out our guide for full details on how betting the moneyline works.

Point Spread Betting

Point spreads are one of the most popular ways to bet on NFL games.

Betting on point spreads is another prediction of who will win the game, but only after additional points have been added or subtracted from each team’s final score.

The favored team will have points subtracted from their final score, and it’s your job to bet on whether or not they would still win after having those points taken away.

On the other hand, the underdog will have points added to their score. If you think these added points will push the underdog’s total score above the favored team’s final score, then you should bet the underdog.

Point spread betting odds might look something like this:

Baltimore was favorited to win the game on the moneyline by a wide margin, so the point spread bet will subtract nine points from their total score. This shifts the odds in the bettor’s favor.

If you think Baltimore would still win the game even after losing those nine points, then you should place a bet on the Baltimore Ravens.

If you think Dallas would win after having 9 points added to their final score, that’s where you should put your money.

If Dallas pulls off the upset and wins outright, you still win your bet, but you would have made more money betting on the Cowboys moneyline odds. Could have, would have, should have.

If you want to know more about this kind of bet, head over to our deep dive on point spreads.

Totals Betting

Betting on totals, AKA the over/under, during the NFL playoffs has nothing to do with predicting who wins the game. Instead, you’re betting on the total number of points scored during the game.

Oddsmakers will create betting lines that offer bettors a chance to wager on the points total going over or under a specific number.

Totals are one of three key odds you’ll see in a betting preview for a game.

You already know about the “M” moneyline column, and the same goes for the “S” point spread betting lines, but let’s get into the details on the “T” totals section.

In our example above, you can bet the total amount of points scored by both teams will be over or under 44.5 points. The odds are even at -110 on either side, so the choice is yours.

If you bet $100 on the game going over 44.5 points, and the final score is 30-15, you would walk away with $190.

If you want to know more about totals betting, check out our article that goes into further detail on the over/under.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are where things get interesting, as they focus on aspects like individual player performance or a wide range of statistics. Certain players always emerge as postseason heroes, so there’s money to be made making prop bets on NFL playoff games.

These bets are prevalent during the Super Bowl, but there are many prop bets to be won throughout the playoff schedule.

Here are a few examples of some prop bets you could make:

  • How many touchdowns scored by a specific player in the postseason
  • Who scores the first touchdown in a particular playoff game
  • Total number of sacks in a playoff game
  • Number of missed extra-point conversions in the playoffs
  • How many times the announcers say a particular word

Prop bets can go all over the place, which means there’s a lot of volatility in the odds. These bets are worth considering come playoff time when high-stakes games have some of the most unpredictable moments in all of sports.

If you’re interested in learning more about prop bets, check out our full guide on proposition wagering.

NFL Playoffs Parlays

With a total of 13 games in the 2024 NFL playoffs, there’s plenty of opportunity to make a few parlay bets.

Parlay bets string together two or more games and tie each game’s outcome to the overall odds. You must correctly pick the winner in each of these 2+ games to cash out on your parlay bet.

If there are three teams you just can’t see losing in any given week of the playoffs, you should put a parlay bet together. Let’s create some fictional matchups for a better understanding:

If you place a parlay bet on each of the bolded teams winning, and they all end up victorious, you win your parlay and get a nice little payout. You’d need the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and Kansas City Chiefs to all win their games in this case. You could also make a parlay on the NY Giants, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts, or any other combination of these six teams.

Parlay odds can differ at every online sportsbook. Check out our parlay calculator to find the best return on your wager.

You can place parlay bets on either the moneyline or point spreads, but you can’t bet on both of these odds within the same parlay.

For full details, see our comprehensive guide on parlays and teasers.

Futures Betting

The most popular futures bet during the NFL playoffs is related to who wins the Super Bowl.

Futures bets are simply wagers placed on outcomes before specific teams are even determined. In the NFL playoffs, you could place a futures bet on one of the postseason teams winning the Super Bowl before they even qualify for the final game.

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK
Get Up To $1,500 Paid Back in Bonus Bets if You Don't Win

21+ only. Please Gamble Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (US); 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY); 1-800-327-5050 (MA); 1-800-NEXT-STEP (AZ); 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA); 1-800-981-0023 (PR). First Bet Offer for new customers only (if applicable). Subject to eligibility requirements. Rewards are non-withdrawable bonus bets that expire in 7 days. See BetMGM.com for Terms. US promotional offers not available in DC, MS, NY, NV, PN, or PR.
LOCK IN PROMO
CODE: SBD1500
CODE: SBD1500
SIGNUP BONUS
GET $1,500
BACK

BET NOW

These bets are highly lucrative, but the chances of hitting on them are slim to none. As the old adage goes, no risk means no reward. For example, you could wager on the Buffalo Bills or Miami Dolphins to make it through the AFC, and alternatively, the Minnesota Vikings or San Francisco 49ers to get through the NFC.

We have a full guide for NFL futures betting if you’re looking for more details on this betting type.

Live Bets

Momentum can turn on a dime in the playoffs, which is why live betting is an exhilarating experience during the postseason.

Live betting is simply a system of wagering on games as they’re taking place. Odds can change at any moment when you’re live betting, so it adds a little bit of excitement when you’re watching an NFL playoff game.

You’re still betting on moneyline, point spreads, or the over/under, but the odds will change as the game progresses.

If you want full details on how live betting works throughout the game, see our article dedicated exclusively to live betting.

NFL Playoff Betting vs. Regular Season

NFL playoff games have a completely different energy about them. Every game is do or die, so the stakes are higher, and you can cut the tension with a butter knife.

What’s different: First of all, you’ll probably notice more sportsbook promos during the NFL playoffs from sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. With increased attention during the postseason, sportsbooks are more likely to offer bonuses like odds boosts to try to draw in new customers after the regular NFL season.

The bye week is something you should factor in when looking to bet on NFL playoff games. Only one team per conference will have a bye week during the 2023 playoffs, so they might have a serious rest advantage over the other teams who have to play an extra game to reach the Super Bowl.

What’s the same: Variables like weather, home-field advantage, team strength, rest, injuries, and momentum are all pretty much the same in the NFL playoffs. These elements can impact the outcome of the game, and you should consider them when handicapping a team’s chances of winning.

Standard betting advice remains the same in the NFL playoffs. Make sure you’re budgeting an appropriate amount of money each week, and you’re wagering with reasonable unit sizes.

Is Betting on the NFL Playoffs a Good Idea?

Yes, betting on the NFL playoffs is a good idea. You’re missing out on some significant opportunities if you don’t.

Betting on sports is inevitably going to steal your attention. When you have money on the line, it’s almost impossible to look away from the game. Lucky for you, the NFL playoffs are so exciting you won’t want to stop watching anyway.

Games are thrilling and less predictable come the postseason, so there’s a lot of volatility you can capitalize on. Whether you’re a new bettor or a seasoned sharp, there’s no time to wager quite like the NFL playoffs.

NFL Playoffs Odds Tracker

As the NFL regular season rolls along, we’re keeping track of the odds on each team making the playoffs. You’ll want to keep an eye on this as you prepare your bets for the postseason.

Check out our NFL playoffs odds tracker to stay up on the action all year long.

Best Promos for NFL Playoff Betting

Looking for the best way to pad your bankroll on NFL playoff betting? Make sure you take advantage of betting promo codes from the five sportsbooks listed in the table below.

Sportsbook Promo Code Details
DraftKings Sportsbook DraftKings Promo Code
FanDuel Sportsbook FanDuel Promo Code
BetMGM BetMGM Promo Code
Caesars Sportsbook Caesars Sportsbook Promo Code
Bet365 Bet365 Bonus Code

Hit the links in the right side of the above table for more details on the best promotions at each sportsbook, along with links to exclusive promo codes that are perfect for NFL playoff betting.

Your Source for NFL Betting Advice

Billions of dollars are wagered on football every year, and there’s a ton of betting action from week 1 of the regular season right up until the Super Bowl.

For more information on NFL betting, check out our comprehensive section on how to bet on football.

NFL Playoff Betting FAQ

What are the key factors to consider when betting on NFL playoffs?

The key factors to consider when betting on NFL playoffs include team matchups, weather conditions, coaching strategies, and the type of wager you’re going to make. Always make sure you’re betting responsibly when wagering on the NFL playoffs.

Is betting on NFL playoff games legal?

Yes, betting on NFL playoff games is legal in states where legal sports betting is active. If your state has legal sports betting, then betting on NFL games is legal.

What are the different types of bets available for NFL playoff games?

The different types of bets available for NFL playoff games include moneyline, point spread, totals, futures, parlays, and props.

Is the Pro Bowl considered a part of the NFL playoffs?

No, the Pro Bowl is not a part of the NFL playoffs even though it takes place one week before the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl is considered to be the NFL All-Star Game as opposed to a playoff game.

Which NFL team holds the record for the most playoff appearances?

The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers hold the record for the most playoff appearances with 35 each.

Which NFL team boasts the highest number of playoff victories?

The New England Patriots hold the record for highest number of NFL playoff victories with 37. Their overall postseason record is 37-22.

Which NFL team has made the fewest playoff appearances?

The Houston Texans have the fewest NFL playoff appearances having only reached the postseason six times in franchise history.

Author Image
Discussion

Let's have fun and keep it civil.