Upcoming Match-ups

Bet Which Teams Will Get Wild Card Spots in 2020 NFL Playoffs: Browns, Chargers, Ravens, Bears & Saints Given Best Odds

Philip Rivers about to pass the football.
Bovada has made Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers and the Cleveland Browns +240 co-favorites to earn NFL wildcard playoff positions in 2019. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)
  • Bovada has the LA Chargers and Cleveland Browns as +240 co-favorites to earn NFL Wild Card berths in 2019
  • The Chargers were a Wild Card team in 2018
  • The Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002

Bovada is just wild about the 2019 NFL Wild Card chances of the Los Angeles Chargers and Cleveland Browns. The sportsbook has established the two teams as +240 co-favorites to earn Wild Card positions in the 2019-20 NFL playoffs.

2019-20 NFL Wildcard Odds

Team Odds at Bovada
Cleveland Browns +240
Los Angeles Chargers +240
Baltimore Ravens +250
Chicago Bears +275
New Orleans Saints +275
Green Bay Packers +300
Kansas City Chiefs +300
Minnesota Vikings +300
Philadelphia Eagles +300
Seattle Seahawks +300
Pittsburgh Steelers +333
Atlanta Falcons +350
Dallas Cowboys +350
Houston Texans +350
Indianapolis Colts +350
Los Angeles Rams +350
San Francisco 49ers +350

*Odds taken on 08/02/19.

The NFL Wild Card playoff round is slated for January 4-5, 2019.

Looking At Wild Card Trends

For starters, you can probably throw all of last season’s four Wild Card teams – the Eagles, Seahawks, Chargers and Colts – out of the equation.

You have to go all the way back to 2011-12 to find an NFL team that earned a Wild Card playoff spot in successive seasons (Bengals). Do the math and that’s 28 Wild Card spots filled since without a repeat performance.

Another curious note about the Wild Cards: in the past two seasons, the defending Super Bowl champions returned to the playoffs as a Wild Card team. That would be the Philadelphia Eagles last season and the Atlanta Falcons in 2017.

On the other hand, the last defending Super Bowl champion that returned to the playoffs as a division winner was this season’s reigning title holders ,the New England Patriots, so it’s probably a wise choice to eliminate the Pats from any Wild Card consideration.

If not for that reason, then because they have won ten straight AFC East titles, which brings us to an important consideration in this prop …

Which Teams Will Win NFL Division Titles?

Before you start settling on which teams will grab the four Wild Card sports, it’s best to first determine the squads that you believe will win the eight division titles.

A couple of handy ways to make those calculations are to study the NFL Divisional odds, as well as the NFL win totals.

I’m of the opinion that the NFL division winners will be: the Eagles (NFC East), Packers (NFC North), Saints (NFC South), Rams (NFC West), Patriots (AFC East), Browns (AFC North), Colts (AFC South), and Chargers (AFC West). I’d fade these clubs from Wild Card consideration.

On The Rebound

Another noticeable trent regarding Wild Card teams in recent seasons is that the vast majority of them weren’t playoff teams the previous season. In fact, 10 of the last 12 NFL Wild Card teams earned a playoff berth coming off a season in which they’d failed to launch into the postseason.

On top of that, at least one Wild Card team in each of past three seasons has reached the playoffs coming off a losing campaign. In 2016, all four Wild Card teams – the Oakland Raiders (7-9), Miami Dolphins (6-10), New York Giants (6-10) and Detroit Lions (7-9) – bounced back from sub-.500 campaigns.

Teams that came close to making the playoffs the previous season, or finished strongly, are also good Wild Card candidates. The Chargers (9-7) just missed out in 2017.

Close-call candidates from last season include the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6-1), Tennessee Titans (9-7) and Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1).

I’m Wild About These Wildcards

The Chiefs won the AFC West last season, and came within a score of going to the Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl 4.

But Kansas City was 31st in the NFL in passing defense and total defense last season. The Chiefs’ rush defense allowed 5.0 yards per carry, which was second-worst in the league. If their record-setting offense is just a step less cohesive this season, that’ll be enough to see them usurped atop the division by the Chargers.

A team that’s been slagged all offseason is the Steelers. But it’s always a dangerous path to travel when doubting this team. Minus Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh could be a club that comes out with a chip on their shoulder. Ben Roethlisberger led the NFL in passing yardage last season.

The Steelers are projected to win nine games this season and face only the 26th-toughest schedule. They’ll grab the other AFC wildcard.

The NFC is a much tougher call. Are the Chicago Bears legit or one-hit wonders? Will the Dallas Cowboys regress again, as they did following their 2016 NFC East title?

I think Dallas will take advantage of the weak NFC East to cobble together enough wins to earn a wildcard berth. I’ll also take the Falcons to rebound from 7-9 and grab a wildcard for the second time in three seasons.

As a longshot candidate, I’d also consider the Carolina Panthers at +500.

NFL Wildcard Picks: Atlanta Falcons (+350), Dallas Cowboys (+350), Kansas City Chiefs (+300), Pittsburgh Steelers (+333).

Author Image
Discussion

Let's have fun and keep it civil.