There is a comprehensive market of bets that can be placed all the way through the end of the postseason. These season-long bets are often referred to as futures and in this article we break down the strategy and specifics for NFL Playoffs odds.
This page will serve as your guide for betting on which teams may or may not make the NFL postseason this year, providing a window into past results while analyzing the odds board for the upcoming season to help you place savvy bets.
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Which teams will make the 2020 NFL Playoffs?
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NFL Playoffs odds: Market movement heading into Week 3
The Cardinals were -139 to make the postseason at BetMGM as of Tuesday afternoon, and the Rams were -188 to make it at FanDuel Sportsbook. The extra playoff slots (one in the AFC, one in the NFC) for the 2020-21 NFL campaign has already helped these teams improve their odds.
Conversely, there are several teams that began the season with high expectations but have fallen flat so far in 2020. The Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) were favored to make the postseason before the regular season began, but they were +138 to make it at FanDuel and +150 at BetMGM as of Tuesday afternoon.
The Minnesota Vikings are the other big disappointment so far as they also hold an 0-2 record. Minnesota was +245 to make the cut at FanDuel as of Tuesday.
NFL Playoffs odds: How to bet futures
Playoff futures can usually be found at online sportsbooks in the Team Futures section under a tab labeled “To Make Playoffs.” This indicates the bettor is offered a Yes/No proposition on which teams will make the postseason.
Perennial powers such as the Saints or Patriots are listed with negative odds, because they’re expected to make the playoffs every year. For example the Saints were listed with -480 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook to start the season so it would take a bet of $480 on New Orleans to make the playoffs to profit $100. Betting against the Saints to make the playoffs would yield much more favorable odds at +350, paying out $450 on a $100 bet in the unlikely event they miss the postseason.
Teams in stronger divisions tend to get longer odds, whereas teams that dominate their divisions get better odds because of their clear path to a playoff berth.
Most teams have odds somewhere between -200 and +200 when it comes to making the playoffs. There are some true longshots, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had +590 odds to make the playoffs, so a bettor could earn $59 on a $10 bet if Jacksonville somehow makes the postseason.
NFL Playoffs betting strategy
The important thing to consider when betting NFL Playoffs futures is public perception. These lines are set almost entirely based on the esteem each team has earned in the public eye. The Cowboys had -250 odds to make the playoffs entering the season because of their reputation as a star-studded team. But going against the grain by taking a +200 bet on Dallas to miss the playoffs again could pay off. Dallas was upset in Week 1 by the Rams, 20-17, and nearly lost to the Falcons in Week 2.
Also consider the division landscape when betting on NFL Playoffs futures. Not only does a weak division provide a path to the postseason, it provides six relatively easy, or six very difficult games depending on the division. It makes sense to analyze the entire season schedule before placing a significant wager on a team.
Note that if you’re interested in trying to predict the exact pecking order in a division, DraftKings Sportsbook is offering odds on the finishing position for each team within their division.
Odds are also different at different sportsbooks, so shop around and see where you can find the best price on each team to make or miss the playoffs.
What happened last year?
Here is a list of the teams that made the playoffs in 2019 along with their preseason odds to qualify:
- Baltimore Ravens (+180)
- Buffalo Bills (+500)
- Green Bay Packers (+110)
- Houston Texans (+150)
- Kansas City Chiefs (-550)
- Minnesota Vikings (+130)
- New England Patriots (-900)
- New Orleans Saints (-310)
- Philadelphia Eagles (-190)
- San Francisco 49ers (+240)
- Seattle Seahawks (+160)
- Tennessee Titans (+375)
Based on preseason NFL playoffs odds, the Bills were the most surprising team to make the playoffs in 2019. The Titans also had long odds to make the playoffs and needed some help down the stretch to eventually earn the second Wild Card spot in the AFC.
The 49ers did not have very high expectations during the preseason, but were a trendy pick to snap their five-year postseason drought and obviously came through by winning the NFC West. The defending NFC champion Rams had -310 odds to make the playoffs and were the biggest favorite to come up short of the postseason.