- At 4-0 and 2-2, the Chiefs and Patriots each have the shortest odds of making the AFC Playoffs at -700
- After three straight losses, do the Jets deserve to have the longest odds in the conference?
- Which AFC teams could present value to make, or not make the playoffs?
One quarter of the way into the 2018 NFL season and some team’s playoff dreams are beginning to flicker, while others have their sights clearly set on January football.
The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots could not have started this season differently. However, they are tied with the shortest odds to make the NFL playoffs in the AFC at -700.
Odds to Make NFL Playoffs in AFC
|Odds at Bovada to make the playoffs||Yes||No|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-700||+400|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+155||-220|
|New England Patriots||-700||+400|
|New York Jets||+750||-2000|
Are the Chiefs Locks to Make the Playoffs?
As the only undefeated AFC team at 4-0, the Chiefs are well deserving of being one of the most favored teams to make the playoffs.
Their defense still leaves something to be desired, but they are the highest scoring team in the AFC and league with 145 points.
Mahomes got the pass off with the left hand ?
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 2, 2018
It’s still early, but KC has already survived playing three of four on the road, including two road wins against division rivals LA and Denver.
Are the 2-2 Patriots a Sure Bet to Make the Playoffs?
Last year’s Super Bowl finalists have looked mortal to start the year, but may have gotten back on track with a convincing 38-7 win over AFC East division-leading Miami in Week 4. At 2-2, online sports betting sites don’t seem to be overly concerned with the slow start for Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Part of their early season struggles have come from a lack of receiving options for Brady – a problem they hope to have rectified with the acquisition of Josh Gordon two weeks ago and the return from suspension of Julian Edelman on Thursday.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) October 2, 2018
New England may have a two wins less than KC, but they still own the easiest path to the playoffs as members of the AFC East. The Dolphins may be first, but they are the only division leader, as well as the only team with a winning record, in the entire league who have actually been outscored.
Factor in the Pats are still more likely to win their division (-600 at Bovada) as compared to the Chiefs (-350), and their equal odds to reach the playoffs seem justified.
Should the Jets Start Planning for 2019?
The Jets surprised everyone in Week 1 when Sam Darnold burst onto the scene in a 48-17 win over the Lions. Since, he’s looked much more like the first-year QB he is, and the Jets have lost three straight.
The J-E-T-S currently occupy last place in the AFC East and their playoff odds reflect it.
At +750 to make the playoffs, New York have the longest odds of any AFC team. In a division which includes the Patriots, as well as a Dolphins team already 3-1, it’s probably fair to view them as a longshot to still be playing come January.
Sam Darnold today on progress from yesterday: "I was seeing the field a lot clearer. I made some progress there. Just being able to see pressures & coverages. I’m feeling more & more confident. Obviously not the outcome we wanted, but I’m feeling confident as a QB in the NFL"
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) October 1, 2018
However, are they really that much worse than their division rivals in Buffalo?
The Bills have shown a little bit more recently with their win over the Vikings and are +500 to make the playoffs. The Jets though, have both scored more and allowed fewer points than the Bills. New York outranks Buffalo in YPG on offense (29th vs 31st) and on defense (13th vs 15th).
New York outranks Buffalo in YPG on offense (29th vs 31st) and on defense (13th vs 15th).
With their next three games all coming at home, Darnold and the Jets could still turn things around.
Look North for Playoff Betting Value
I want to feature the entire AFC North. This division is shaping up to be one of the most competitive from top to bottom.
The Steelers may only be 1-2-1, but they definitely have the most talent of any current last place team in a division. If you believe they can get over the internal turmoil and that Le’Veon Bell’s potential return in Week 8 will change their fortunes, +210 could be a good price.
Le'Veon Bell will come back to face 4, top-10 run defenses in his first 5 games. The Steelers play the 2nd most difficult schedule of run defenses in weeks 8-17, per https://t.co/KsQgXidIIc pic.twitter.com/vwfdnHlRe1
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) October 1, 2018
And if you believe that, then taking some plus-money on either the Bengals or Ravens to not make the playoffs also offers value.
On the flipside, if you believe Pittsburgh’s season is already too far gone, you could do much worse than laying a little coin and pocketing an approximate 50% return on investment on the Bengals (-160) or Ravens (-220) to make the playoffs.
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) October 1, 2018
Finally, don’t forget about Baker Mayfield’s Browns who are a couple poor kicks and officiating decisions away from being undefeated themselves. Their +550 odds could be worth a flyer.