- When it comes to the odds to make the 2019-20 NFL playoffs, almost every team in the league has seen its chances improve over the last month
- This is not uncommon as bettors generally bet on their favorite team(s) to make the postseason
- But there are only 12 spots up for grabs, and people willing to bet the “No” will have an easier time finding value
The latest iteration of SBD’s 2019 NFL playoff odds tracker shows a quizzical trend: almost every line on the graph is heading in the same direction, specifically, down.
In the context of these graphs, down = better. In other words, almost every team in the league now has shorter odds to make the playoffs than it did in May.
This is not an uncommon trend. The general rule when it comes to futures like this is that the public likes betting on their favorite teams to make the playoffs. That drives prices on the “Yes” shorter, while sending the “No” odds longer.
The table below shows how the odds to make the playoffs have shifted from May until June. The teams whose odds improved are in bold.
Updated 2019-20 NFL Playoff Odds
|Team||Odds to Make NFL Playoffs in May||Odds to Make Playoffs in June|
|Green Bay Packers||-105||-120|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-450||-450|
|Los Angeles Chargers||-230||-230|
|Los Angeles Rams||-350||-350|
|New England Patriots||-900||-900|
|New Orleans Saints||-350||-350|
|New York Giants||+525||+400|
|New York Jets||+300||+300|
|San Francisco 49ers||+230||+195|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+500||+400|
*Bold denotes teams whose playoff odds improved from May to June.
In total, 22 of 32 teams saw their odds to make the playoffs get shorter.
Another nine stayed the same, meaning a grand total of one team now has longer playoff odds than it did last month. That team is the Chicago Bears, whose playoff probability decreased a whopping 0.9% (from -145 to -140).
The end result is that it’s now extremely hard to find value on the “Yes” side of this prop. Some basic math illustrates why.
The Implied Probability Suggests 13.5 Teams Will Make the Playoffs
Adding up the implied probability of the current odds, the total is 1,364%. Since only 12 teams make the playoffs, the implied probability would be 1,200% in a completely fair set of odds.
Basically, the current odds suggest that 13.6 teams will make the playoffs.
While the idea of another 1.6 teams getting into the postseason is highly intriguing — maybe we could add the handful of NFL-caliber players on the Dolphins to the team with the 13th-best record — the main takeaway for bettors is that the “Yes” odds are impossibly optimistic.
The Implied Probability Suggests 20.5 Teams Will Miss the Playoffs
But the optimists’ loss is the pessimists’ gain.
The implied probability of “No” odds add up to 2,008%, meaning they predict that 20.08 teams will miss the playoffs. Since 20 teams will inevitably miss the 12-team playoff field, the “No” odds effectively have zero overround (or no juice, if you want to think about it that way).
The implied probability of “No” odds … predict that 20.08 teams will miss the playoffs.
Zero juice makes it much easier to find value.
The following table lists the “No” odds for all 32 teams, along with the implied probability of those odds.
Updated Odds to Miss 2019-20 NFL Playoffs
|Team||Odds to Miss NFL Playoffs in June||Implied Probability|
|Green Bay Packers||-110||52.4%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+300||23.5%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+190||34.5%|
|Los Angeles Rams||+275||26.7%|
|New England Patriots||+550||15.4%|
|New Orleans Saints||+275||26.7%|
|New York Giants||-600||85.7%|
|New York Jets||-400||80%|
|San Francisco 49ers||-250||74.4%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-600||85.7%|
Which Teams Stand Out as Value Plays?
My colleagues have looked in depth at the playoff odds for the Jaguars, Bengals, and Raiders.
My favorite bets are the “No” on the Raiders (-500) and Broncos (-450). The Raiders are, at best, the third-strongest team in the AFC West, and likely the fourth. Their -177 point-differential was the worst in the entire AFC last year, 63 points behind the second-worst team (Miami).
Their offseason was fine, but not nearly good enough to go from literally the worst team in the AFC to a playoff berth, as good as Antonio Brown is. The roster still has massive holes and they have the third-hardest schedule in the NFL.
If the Raiders aren’t the worst team in the AFC West, then the Broncos are. While they definitely have a better defense than Oakland in terms of personnel, they also have a new head coach (Vic Fangio), a first-time play-caller (Rich Scangarello), and a 34-year-old Joe Flacco under center.
Joe Flacco brings to #Broncos:
* recent history of back & hip injuries at age 34
* forthcoming salaries of 18.5M (2019) & 20.3M (2020)
* pocket-sloth mobility
* 6.3 yards per attempt over the last 4 years
* last reached 7.0 YPA a half-decade ago
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) February 13, 2019
hasn’t posted a passer rating over 83.5 since 2014. He’s not the man to lead this team to its first playoff berth since 2015.
Maybe Kevin Hogan can!
The Denver #Broncos re-signed QB Kevin Hogan.
— NFL Fan Blitz (@NFLFanBlitz) March 22, 2019
That was a joke. Fade the Broncos.