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Packers, Patriots and Seahawks Preseason Chalk on NFL Playoff Odds

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Having a good feeling about a potential Super Bowl team before NFL training camps begin can bring a rush of anticipation, but there’s also the percentage play of betting on whether particular teams will make the playoffs.

Not surprisingly for teams quarterbacked by Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks are each listed at -500 to qualify for the postseason at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Patriots have a favorable early-season schedule that should allow them to do no worse than 2-2 while Jimmy Garoppolo is starting during Brady’s Deflategate suspension. The Patriots have -350 odds for not making the playoffs; they haven’t missed since 2008, when Brady suffered a serious knee injury in Week 1.

Eight of the 12 playoff teams last season also qualified in 2014. Seven teams that qualified in 2014 also did so in 2013.

The defending champion Denver Broncos, with upheaval at both quarterback and on defense, are -150 to qualify again, but slightly better than even money to miss the playoffs at +110 on those NFL betting lines. While Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers surely won’t repeat their 15-1 record from 2015, they would need a serious nosedive to be done in December. The Panthers’ playoff odds are -140.

The Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings, who are both defending division champions, are each listed at -200. Each team is respectively well-quarterbacked with Carson Palmer and Teddy Bridgewater and well-stocked defensively, making a wild-card spot a fallback if the division slips away.

One way to simplify the process might be to narrow the focus down to divisions with a shaky defending champion. Based on off-season departures and arrivals, that would likely be the AFC South, the AFC West due to Denver’s turmoil, and the NFC East since it’s the NFC East.

In the AFC South, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts have -165 playoff odds, which seems derived mostly from the expectation Luck will stay healthy. The J.J. Luck-led Houston Texans are at -135 after upgrading offensively with QB Brock Osweiler and RB Lamar Miller. A bettor who is unsold on either could look at the +300 darkhorse Jacksonville Jaguars, who have improved on each side of the ball by adding LT Kelvin Beachum and CB Jalen Ramsey.

The Kansas City Chiefs, who reached the divisional round last season despite losing main cogs such as RB Jamaal Charles, are listed at -150. The Oakland Raiders have a 13-season playoff drought, but are at +110 due to expectations that QB Derek Carr and WR Amari Cooper will be difference-makers for a young team.

The Washington Redskins, at +160, have the highest potential payout of any playoff incumbent. Washington retained QB Kirk Cousins without blowing its salary-cup structure. However, the NFC East changes hands on an almost annual basis. The Dallas Cowboys have the best playoff odds in the East at -140, with the New York Giants at even and the Philadelphia Eagles at +215.

Marcus Mariota can’t even explain his historic touchdown catch

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A touchdown pass to … yourself?!

That’s exactly what happened to Titans QB Marcus Mariota in Tennessee’s incredible 22-21 Wild Card victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs were up 21-3 entering halftime and appeared to be well on their way to advancing to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, but then Mariota made history with one of the craziest plays you’ll ever see:

With the six-yard touchdown, Mariota became the first player in NFL history to record a passing and receiving TD in a playoff game.

NFL Wild Card Weekend betting lines reflect recent favorites trend

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Wild Card Weekend has been ruled by favored teams recently – on the field, if not on the board. Favored teams are 10-2 straight-up in wild card games over the last three seasons. At the sportsbooks – and this seems germane with the home teams each laying at least six points this weekend – favorites are a more modest 7-4-1 against the spread.

The 2017 playoffs saw home teams go 4-0 SU and ATS in wild card games. Eighteen of the last 28 wild card games have gone under the posted total, with one push.

The Kansas City Chiefs are listed as 9-point favorites against the Tennessee Titans with a 44-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in a Saturday matchup. The Chiefs are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven playoff games as a favorite, but QB Alex Smith has had a stronger second half of the season than Marcus Mariota, his Titans counterpart.

Tennessee, which is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against the Chiefs, could be compromised offensively if DeMarco Murray (knee) is unable to play and spell off team rushing leader Derrick Henry. The total has gone over in five of the Titans’ last seven games against the Chiefs.

The Los Angeles Rams are 6.5-point betting favorites against the Atlanta Falcons with a 48.5-point total in the late Saturday matchup. The Rams and first-time playoff QB Jared Goff are just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games. However, Los Angeles, which lost its regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers, is 5-0 SU in its last five games after a loss.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan, whose team is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 night games, will not have his optimal offensive line in front of him as LG Andy Levitre (triceps) is out for the season. The Rams defense, led by DT Aaron Donald, has the third-highest tally of interceptions. The total has gone under in the Falcons’ last five games.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are nine-point betting favorites against the Buffalo Bills with a 39.5-point total in a Sunday matchup between teams that had a combined 26-year playoff drought (since 1999 for the Bills; 2007 for the Jags). The visiting team is 5-1 ATS in the last six games of this matchup, but Buffalo will likely only stand a chance if RB LeSean McCoy (ankle sprain) is healthy enough to play; there is no way he will be 100 percent.

The Jaguars, who are only 4-13 SU in their last 17 home games against teams with winning records, must hope QB Blake Bortles has some recent regression out of his system. The total has gone over in the Bills’ last five games against the Jaguars.

And the New Orleans Saints are listed as seven-point favorites against the Carolina Panthers with a 48-point total in a late Sunday betting matchup. The Panthers and QB Cam Newton are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six tries against the NFC South rival Saints and also boast the NFL’s 28th-ranked passing attack while the Saints are fifth through the air (each team’s pass defense is right in the middle of the rankings).

New Orleans and veteran QB Drew Brees are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against divisional opponents, as well as 5-0 SU in their last five home playoff games. The total has gone over in six of the Panthers’ last seven games against the Saints. The total has also gone over in five of the Saints’ last six games in the wild card round.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.