Breaking down NFL playoff odds and best bets to make the postseason

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray playing against the Seattle Seahawks
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Andrew Ortenberg

NFL · 1 year ago

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

It’s unfortunate, but the 2020 NFL season is starting to wind down. There’s still a lot of action left, but we’re long past the days where every team has something to play for. There are a limited number of teams in the hunt, and at this point all eyes have turned toward the playoff picture. Fortunately that provides additional wagering opportunities, as most sportsbooks are offering odds on which teams will make the playoffs.

Let’s take a look at a few of those odds with some value, courtesy of DraftKings.

Arizona Cardinals to miss playoffs (+103)

The Cardinals have clearly been overrated all along, and I think getting them at even odds to miss the playoffs is a steal. They’ve lost three of their past four games, with the only win in that stretch coming on a last-second fluke Hail Mary that likely wouldn’t happen again in 20 tries. Of their six wins, three are against the Jets, Cowboys, and Washington. Kyler Murray’s shoulder is clearly bothering him, and there’s virtually no chance they win the division at this point.

There are a few teams snapping at their heels and only a game behind them for the final wild card spot, including surging Vikings and 49ers teams. They still have to play the Rams twice and the 49ers, which could be a huge game in deciding who reaches the postseason.

San Francisco 49ers to make playoffs (+200)

Conversely, I think sprinkling some money on the 49ers makes some sense because you can get +200. They’re 3-3 in their last six games, but those three losses came to the Seahawks, Packers, and Saints, three of the best teams in the league. They’ve also beaten the Rams twice in that brutal scheduling span. The losses also came at the peak of their rash of injuries, and the team is now finally starting to get healthier.

Raheem Mostert and Richard Sherman returned this past week, providing huge boosts on both sides of the ball. This team is playing with a real chip on their shoulder, adopting an ‘us against the world’ mentality which I love to see. Superstar tight end George Kittle also came out this week and said he’ll be back soon, which should give his teammates an energy boost. They’ve got a game this week against the Bills where they’re only narrow underdogs (a game I think they’ll win), and in their next two after that against Washington and Dallas they’ll be big favorites.

Indianapolis Colts to make playoffs (-177)

Everybody likes to massively overreact to every Colts loss, and that’s exactly what happened this past week when they lost to the Titans while missing a bunch of key starters due to COVID. Everyone conveniently forgot that just a couple of weeks ago, Indy demolished that same Tennessee team. Then the next week they beat the Packers. This week they get to play a Houston team that just saw two crucial starters get suspended in Will Fuller and Bradley Roby.

The Colts are 7-3 in their last ten games with the three losses coming to the Browns, Ravens, and Titans, all very good teams. People need to start giving them a lot more credit. Their final five are against the Texans twice, Raiders, Steelers, and Jaguars. I don’t see them going anything worse than 3-2 in those games and finishing 10-6, which will easily get them in.

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