As the NFL regular season winds down, fans are looking to make their final wagers. But what team will come out on top in the end? Will it be the New England Patriots? The Tennessee Titans? Philadelphia Eagles? Or perhaps a dark horse like the Arizona Cardinals or New Orleans Saints?
To find out, we examined the betting odds compiled by BetOnline.com regarding each team in the NFL. We then used those odds to create our own Vegas odds for the top six teams in the league. The results? Well, let’s take a look.
The Patriots have been a popular pick to win the Super Bowl this year. Their odds to win the big game are 12/1, while the Steelers have the next best odds at 6/1. It’s no wonder why. The Patriots will face off against the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, and New England is favored to win.
While the Pats have been the biggest winners on the over/under/point-spread, betting markets, they are far from being the only team that has been a popular pick. The Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, and Jacksonville Jaguars are all in the top-six of most popular teams this year. With the playoffs right around the corner, it’s time to examine the state of football betting.
NFL Playoffs Vs. Odds Trends
One of the most fascinating things about sports betting is the difference in the way betting markets change during the season and in the playoffs. Let’s examine how the playoff picture shaped up in terms of favorites going into the postseason and which teams are currently fading after a mediocre season. (All win probabilities are from Yahoo! Sports and were obtained legally.)
A Glorious Comeback
This year, the Green Bay Packers are the best example of a team that completely turned around their fortunes in the betting market. Going into the 2016 season, the Packers had the 24th best odds (6/1) of winning the Super Bowl. But after an 11-5 season that included a thrilling victory in the playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks, the Packers’ SB winning odds fell to 30/1. With those odds, bettors would have to wager $600 just to win $100. But it was money well spent, because the Pack are now the favorite to win the big game.
Favorite In The Mix
This year, as we’ve discussed, the Patriots are the clear favorites to win the Super Bowl. But while they may be the choice of most casual fans and sharp bettors, the favorite doesn’t appear to be a one-team market. With the Bengals coming off a 12-4 season and the Steelers battling injuries, it’s no wonder why the favorites in this year’s AFC North matchup are the Cincinnati Bengals (6/1) and Pittsburgh Steelers (12/1) heading into the playoffs. The Baltimore Ravens are also a popular choice this year, mostly due to their quarterback controversy. But even without that, Joe Flacco’s playoff stats are solid (25-9), and he has a good chance of bringing his team back from the brink of elimination.
On the other side of the coin, the Cleveland Browns are the opposite of a popular pick. The Browns had the 26th best odds (8/1) of winning the Super Bowl this year. That’s mostly due to their 3-13 record this season, which included a 1-7 mark in their last eight games. So, it’s fair to say that most people are avoiding betting on the Browns this year, or, at the very least, are taking them out of their league betting pools. But that may not be the case for much longer. We’ll see.
Determining which teams are underdogs versus favorites is interesting because the lines often change during the course of the season. But one thing is for sure. No matter which side of the fence a team falls on, they will be in the underdog role heading into the playoffs. It’s just a fact of life in the NFL. And it’s interesting to note that the teams that are most in need of help are generally the ones that are the favorites in the betting market. The Kansas City Chiefs (7/1), for example, are one of the most talented teams in the league, but they are also very overrated. They may still have a good chance of upsetting a top-seed, but it won’t be easy. As for who the underdogs are for the Super Bowl, it’s hard to pick against the New England Patriots. Despite having one of the most talented rosters in the league, the Patriots have faced a very challenging schedule and still managed to win their games mostly by putting up great defense and playing excellent football. That being said, the Atlanta Falcons are my dark horse pick. I’ve been a big fan of their QB, Matt Ryan, for years now and feel like he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves. As for the rest of the NFC, it’s hard to choose between the Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants. Those are some very talented teams, and it’s likely the matchups between some of these teams in the playoffs will be classics.
What Percent of the State Is Betting On The Playoffs?
With the NFL season winding down, it’s time to examine which games people are most interested in betting on. The answer? The playoffs. In fact, the Super Bowl is the most popular event of the year in the U.S., but the playoffs prove to be a close second. About 37.5% of all bets placed in the U.S. this year have been on the postseason games. That’s nearly five times the amount of money wagered on the Super Bowl!
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean the Super Bowl is any less important. The games leading up to it are important too, and those games will determine the course of the NFL season. But since the postseason is when it’s actually happening, people want to take a flier on the games that will make or break a particular team. And with a little bit of research and due diligence, it’s possible to get a good idea of which teams will thrive in the postseason and which ones will struggle. This is especially important for those that want to bet on the Super Bowl, but don’t have the money to do so. By picking the right underdogs and laying the right lines, it’s possible to make some money off the postseason games.
Now that we’ve examined the odds in the entire U.S., let’s take a look at the states and see which one reigns supreme in terms of football betting.
The Overall Favorite
Looking at the odds across the country as a whole, it’s evident that the New England Patriots are the overall favorite across the nation. The Patriots have the best odds (12/1) of winning the Super Bowl this year, and they also have the highest betting total (2.5 points) among the 32 NFL teams. If you look at the odds of all the teams in the U.S., you’ll see that the Pats are slightly underdogs against the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs. But that’s a good thing for Pittsburgh fans, because it means their team has a chance to make some money off the Patriots. (1-point underdog, according to CBS Sportsbook.)
As for the rest of the AFC, the favorite seems to be the Baltimore Ravens, whose odds (6/1) to win the Super Bowl are the best in the conference. The Ravens have a good chance of upsetting the top-seeded Denver Broncos in the first round. But even if the Broncos advance to the AFC title game, the Ravens have a decent chance of pulling off the upset. (1-point underdog, according to Sportsbook.com.)
The State That Predominantly Supports The Patriots
You’ll notice that New England doesn’t just have the best odds and the highest betting total in the country. The Patriots also have the best odds in most of the states. Looking at the odds across the country as a whole, you’ll see that New England has the best odds in 22 of the 32 states. That’s almost half the country! The following map will tell you which states lean most heavily toward the New England Patriots and which ones are more likely to back the Pittsburgh Steelers in the upcoming AFC Championship game on January 14th.