NFL Playoff Odds: Bubble Teams, Biggest Games For Week 18

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on January 4, 2023 - Last Updated on January 6, 2023
odds to make nfl playoffs

The stretch run of the NFL season has arrived. Some teams have already moved beyond sweating their playoff chances and are dreaming of Super Bowl runs. Others have shifted their resources to spring’s NFL draft, diving deep on hundreds of prospects and planning for the future. But much of the league is still in the mix when looking at NFL playoff odds. What do odds to make the NFL playoffs have to say about their chances?

Let’s take a look at NFL playoff odds for teams on and around the bubble, as well as highlight a few games that will move the needle this week.

As expected, Week 17 brought some clarity to the various races. Once favored to reach the playoffs, the Jets and Commanders were eliminated. The Buccaneers sewed up the NFC South with a 30-24 win over the Panthers.

No-vig odds below via DraftKings Sportsbook. When looking at seeding, remember seven teams from each conference make the playoffs.

Current Seeding: Odds To Make NFL Playoffs

TeamNo-Vig OddsFootball Outsiders OddsCurrent Best Price
AFC Playoff Picture
4. Jacksonville Jaguars73.4%77.7%
5. LA ChargersN/A100%OTB
6. Baltimore RavensN/A100%OTB
7. New England Patriots37.5%32.1%
8. Miami Dolphins43.4%40.1%
9. Pittsburgh Steelers21.1%22.6%
10. New York JetsN/AN/AOTB
11. Tennessee Titans30.2%*27.6%
NFC Playoff Picture
7. Seattle Seahawks25.4%32%
8. Detroit Lions10.1%13%
9. Green Bay Packers66.1%*55%

*Odds to win Week 18

4 Week 18 Games That Will Swing NFL Playoff Chances

Titans At Jaguars

  • Titans current seed: 11th
  • Jaguars current seed: 4th

This one is simple. Whichever team wins will take the AFC South and make the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. The Titans are counting their blessings to even have a chance at this point after losing six straight. Despite everything, they do have one major advantage: they rested their players in Week 17, while the Jaguars went hard to keep their slim Wild Card chances live.

As for how the Jaguars could still get in with a loss, they need a multitude of results to fall their way. Each of the following teams must lost in Week 18 along with the Jaguars for them to sneak into the No. 7 seed: Steelers, Patriots, Dolphins. In that scenario the Jags would win the four-way tiebreak.

Patriots At Bills

  • Patriots current seed: 7th
  • Bills current seed: 2nd

The simplest path for the Patriots to make the playoffs is to win this game. Of course, playing Buffalo on the road, that’s easier said than done. A Patriots loss would put them in extreme danger of missing the playoffs. They’d then need a three-game parlay of losses by the Titans, Dolphins and Steelers. That would keep the standings as is and the Patriots would hold onto No. 7.

The Bills find themselves in a much more nebulous spot. After the medical emergency caused a postponement on Monday Night Football, their seeding chances depend on how the league decides to handle the unprecedented situation. They can’t catch the Chiefs unless that game is made up, assuming the Chiefs win as large favorites in Week 18. If the Bills were to lose this and the Bengals win in Week 18, the two teams would be tied on multiple tiebreak levels. It’s not 100% clear which team would win the tiebreak at that point, as it may go to “strength of victory,” though some sources seem to believe the Bengals have the edge there.

Jets At Dolphins

  • Jets current seed: 10th (eliminated)
  • Dolphins current seed: 8th

The Dolphins need help, but it comes in the form of a Bills victory, so it’s pretty likely help. As long as the Bills come through, the Dolphins can just beat the Jets and get in. However, that will be a tall task with potentially a third-string QB or even a week-of-game signee starting.

If the Dolphins fall as well, then the Steelers and Jaguars will have chances to sneak into the Wild Card.

Lions At Packers

  • Lions current seed: 8th
  • Packers current seed: 9th

Whether this means anything playoff-wise for the Lions depends on an earlier results in the Seahawks game. If they defeat the Rams, then the Lions are out of the running as they would cede the No. 7 spot to the Hawks on head-to-head tiebreak. If the Seahawks lose, then the Lions have a win-and-in situation. They’d finish 9-8 with the Seahawks and Packers each 8-9.

A Packers victory would assure them of the No. 7 seed as they’d beat the Seahawks on conference record tiebreak. That would complete a remarkable turnaround, after Football Outsiders deemed their playoff chances a hair above 2% a few weeks back.

Best of luck betting the odds to make NFL playoffs.

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Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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