It that time of the year where speculation starts to run wild when it comes to which teams will qualify for this season’s NFL Playoffs. Nothing has been clinched heading in Week 10, but it is fairly safe to say the New England Patriots from the AFC and the NFC’s Dallas Cowboys should make it in with identical 7-1 records through the first half of their schedule.
From there things get much more interesting when it comes to a number of prop bet odds for which teams will fill out the remaining five spots in each conference. After going through the numbers, here are my top two picks to make it into the postseason based on the added value in their odds.
AFC Top Prop Bet Playoff Team
Before the new NFL season got underway the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the top favorites to win the AFC let alone the division title in the AFC North. Through the first half of their schedule they are 4-4 with a number of head-scratching losses in that very pedestrian run. In the Steelers’ defense, veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has missed time due to injury, but that does not explain a run game that is 25th in the league in average yards with the likes of Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams running the ball.
The betting odds that Pittsburgh does make it into the playoffs have been set at +110 for YES and at -150 for NO.
The biggest thing in the Steelers’ favor is the watered-down competition in the AFC North this season. Cleveland is still looking for its first win, Cincinnati went into last week’s bye at 3-4-1 and even though Baltimore’s recent victory against the Browns this past Thursday night moves its record to 5-4, the overall inconsistency with the Ravens makes them highly unpredictable.
I am going with favorable +110 odds that the Steelers do rally to win the AFC North with a much better second half run. They are still the most talented team in this division race and it may only take nine wins to claim the title.
NFC Top Prop Bet Playoff Team
When it comes to the New Orleans Saints’ chances to make it into the playoffs, the big question that comes to mind is which version of this team will we see in the second half of the season? The one that stumbled out of the gate to a 0-3 start or the one that has won four of its last five games including victories against Carolina and Seattle. Veteran quarterback Drew Brees continues to play at a high level and the sudden emergence of a running game led by Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower makes this one of the most potent offensive attacks in the league.
The Saints’ betting odds to make the playoffs this season have been set at +200 for YES and -300 for NO.
Those are pretty long odds for a continued run all the way to the postseason, but I still feel there is quite a bit of value in that number. Atlanta is a major roadblock to a NFC South title at 6-3 on the year and the Falcons’ offense is also operating at a very high level. Both Tampa Bay and Carolina have gone 3-5 in their first eight games and there are still a number of issues for both teams. New Orleans will face the Falcons and Panthers one more time and it still has two games against the Buccaneers so it does have a big say in its own destiny. If the Saints can win at least five of their next eight games, they could possibly get into the playoffs as a wild card team in a wide open NFC, which also adds value to the YES play in this prop bet.