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Post-Week 8 Odds to Make the NFL Playoffs

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NFL Football

Updated Mar 25, 2020 · 10:47 AM PDT

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton has led the Panthers to two straight victories and a 5-2 record in 2018. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License]
  • The NFL regular season is halfway home – who’s making the playoffs?
  • A solid second half could help the Colts to a Wild Card
  • Cam Newton’s star season is pacing the Panthers 

Hard to believe, but this NFL season is already halfway home.

It appears teams like the Steelers have righted the ship, but we’re not sure yet if the defending champs will be getting a chance to defend.

While envisioning a potential Rams-Chiefs title game is great, right now the real fun is figuring out what teams will lay claim to one of those coveted playoff spots.

Thankfully, books are just as interested. Like Kenny Powers, we’re your agent to help you make the right bet. It’s time to do our job.

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Odds to Make the NFL Playoffs in the AFC

Team Odds to Make the Playoffs Odds to Miss the Playoffs
Baltimore Ravens +115 -155
Cincinnati Bengals -180 +140
Denver Broncos +650 -1400
Houston Texans -220 +155
Indianapolis Colts +400 -700
Jacksonville Jaguars +550 -1000
Los Angeles Chargers -300 +200
Miami Dolphins +250 -400
New England Patriots -5000 +1000
New York Jets +1000 -5000
Pittsburgh Steelers -220 +155
Tennessee Titans +220 -340

Colts Could Surprise in the Second Half

There is usually nothing that should spark confidence in a 3-5 team, especially one with a no-name defense and highly managed quarterback – one who started the year probably topping out at 40 yards for his max throw. And this was supposed to be a transitional year to set up big things.

Yet somehow, here are the Colts, who at +400 are the best value bet to make the playoffs in the AFC.

They are through the meaty part of their schedule, which included the Eagles, Patriots, and Bengals, and it’s pretty downhill from here. They have one team over .500 the rest of the way in the Texans, with winnable games against the Jags twice (3-5), Titans twice (3-4), Dolphins (4-4), Cowboys (3-4), and Giants (1-7).

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Led by a rejuvenated Andrew Luck, they are scoring 28.9 points a game (6th) and their defense, led by standout rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, is third in the NFL in takeaways and a respectable 10th in sacks. An ability to score and play some timely D? That’s a pretty good formula to a wild card.

Jaguars the Odd Team Out in the AFC?

There is value in both them making or missing the playoffs. First, let’s run the division winner game to lock up four playoff spots: the Patriots, Steelers, Texans, and Chiefs. That leaves two spots among 5-3 Cincinnati, 5-2 Los Angeles and the mashup that is the South, which includes the Jags, Titans, and the aforementioned Colts.

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The AFC Conference finalist a year ago has been playing without Leonard Fournette most of the year, and that’s turned quarterback Blake Bortles back to a turnover machine that can’t be trusted.

If Fournette is back for the second half, Bortles goes back to game managing, and that once-vaunted defense can play with a lead. Those are all big ifs. There isn’t exactly a great plan B in place for pivot, either.

They have two games against winning teams down the stretch in the Steelers and Washington, and getting the Bills always helps. Much will be determined by the results with their four division games remaining. Can you envision Jacksonville going 7-1 the rest of the way? Behind Blake Freaking Bortles? Me neither. That +1000 will be a great payout.

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Odds to Make the NFL Playoffs in the NFC

Team Odds to Make the Playoffs Odds to Miss the Playoffs
Atlanta Falcons +375 -650
Carolina Panthers -250 +170
Chicago Bears +105 -145
Dallas Cowboys +300 -500
Detroit Lions +400 -700
Green Bay Packers +185 -280
Minnesota Vikings -120 -120
New Orleans Saints -900 +500
Philadelphia Eagles -110 -130
Seattle Seahawks -120 -120
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +425 -800
Washington Redskins -170 +130

Panthers Poised to Climb Out of NFC South

Don’t look now, but the Panthers are finally looking like the dominant bunch that rolled to a 15-1 season en route to a Super Bowl appearance. It’s only taken a few years. They’ve re-established that power run identity, ranking second in the NFL at nearly 140 yards per game.

Cam Newton is again the NFL’s lethal red zone threat, boasting a league-best passer rating there and going a ridonkulous 17-for-24 for 115 yards and nine passing scores with no interceptions, while also running in four scores. I can live with the -250 to make the playoffs.

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Will Rodgers and the Pack Make the Playoffs?

Looking at the numbers, it seems ludicrous that they’re underdogs at +185 to get in. Green Bay still has the Cardinals, Falcons and Jets on their schedule.

Green Bay still has the Cardinals, Falcons and Jets on their schedule.

But if you also believe that 10 wins ensures a playoff berth, that would mean the Pack has to go 4-2 against the remaining slate that includes road games in New England, Seattle, and Minnesota.

This is a team that also lost some talent in Ty Montgomery and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at the trade deadline.

But it’s hard to bet against Aaron Rodgers – he’s the ultimate trump card in the NFL. Until proven otherwise, I’m in on him carrying the Pack places they might not deserve to go.

Is that a bridge too far? The North offers some other more tenable wagers. Take the Vikings to make the playoffs at -120, or the Bears to miss at -145.

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