With the halfway point of the NFL season past, observers begin to look ahead towards the playoffs and Super Bowl LIII. Both analysts and professional oddsmakers have opinions about how each team will finish the season, and they’re not always the same.
For the most part, there is a consensus about the majority of teams. The playoff picture yielded from a quick look at the standings mostly aligns with the teams judged most likely to make the Super Bowl.
The current picture
If the NFL season ended today, 12 teams would make the playoffs. They are listed below in order of their seeding.
However, the numbers in parentheses beside each team are its odds of making the Super Bowl. The given odds are according to The Action Network and sourced from the Westgate Superbook.
- Kansas City Chiefs (9/2)
- New England Patriots (6/1)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (8/1)
- Houston Texans (25/1)
- Los Angeles Chargers (14/1)
- Cincinnati Bengals (60/1)
- Los Angeles Rams (5/2)
- New Orleans Saints (7/2)
- Chicago Bears (50/1)
- Washington Redskins (80/1)
- Carolina Panthers (25/1)
- Minnesota Vikings (16/1)
Details on the odds
Now, the first thing to note about this list and the associated odds is that these will be wrong by next week. Due to luck, quality of play and injuries (or lack thereof), teams will move up and down the list.
Some of them might even drop off and be replaced. As it stands right now, one winning team–the Miami Dolphins–would not play a playoff game at all.
In the AFC, there is a clear divide between the upper half and lower half of the playoff picture. All three top AFC teams have single-digit odds against a Super Bowl berth.
On the other hand, the lower half has chances as poor as 60/1. By all rights, the Chargers should be ranked higher than the Texans, but the Texans have a two-game lead in the putrescent AFC South.
The situation in the NFC is even wackier. First and foremost, the Saints remain both lower-ranked and less likely to make the Super Bowl despite handing the Rams their first loss on Oct. 4.
The true silliness lies in the lower half of the playoff picture, however. Somehow, the division-leading Washington Redskins have an 80/1 chance to make the Super Bowl, and are significantly less likely to do so than the two teams seeded lower.
Even worse, ESPN’s Football Power Index calculates that the 5 – 3 Redskins have only a 39 percent chance even to make the playoffs. For the time being, the D.C. team remains in the conversation.
This season is going to be huge for sportsbooks
Regardless of which teams make it to the Super Bowl, 2018-2019 will be a banner season for sportsbooks around the country. There has never been a more complete mingling of wagering and sporting events before.
So, no matter who becomes the champion of Super Bowl LIII, the bookkeepers will be the true winners. There will be rivers of sports betting money flowing through the United States in February.