Comparing NFL Teams Odds to Make Playoffs with Stat Projections

Comparing NFL Teams Odds to Make Playoffs with Stat Projections
© USA Today

Just over half of the playoff spots in the NFL have already been secured. Five bids have been guaranteed in the AFC, and four teams are locked in the NFC.  

Numerous teams still remain in the hunt. Those considered to be eliminated until a recent run now have life, such as the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars.  

There are plenty of scenarios those on the bubble will need to get in. Still, since they technically remain alive, websites have utilized predictive models to label a team’s chances of making the postseason to give fans a look at the playoff picture. Sportsbooks also post odds in the futures market for bubble teams to qualify for the playoffs. 

Here’s a breakdown of each team’s playoff chances according to FiveThirtyEight.com and betting odds from FanDuel and DraftKings to see if there is any sizable betting value between the statistical projections from FiveThirtyEight and the two popular sportsbooks. 

Detroit Lions 7-8 

Schedule: Chicago, at Green Bay 

FanDuel Odds to Make Playoffs: +340 (40.8% implied probability)  

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 24% 

Value: -16.8% 

Before a stinker to the Carolina Panthers where the Lions allowed Carolina to reach a franchise record 320 yards rushing in a 37-23 loss, Detroit was one of the hottest teams in the league. The Lions had won six of seven and nearly beat the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving to make it a perfect 7-0 during their hot stretch.  

The loss to Carolina gave one of Detroit’s rivals a better chance of making the postseason: Green Bay. If both teams earn a win in Week 17 and other factors go their way, the matchup at Lambeau Field to close the regular season could be for a playoff berth.  

Still, the odds given by FanDuel, compared with FiveThirtyEight’s projection make a bet on the Lions as one of the least valuable of the bubble teams at -16.8% value.   

Green Bay Packers 7-8 

Schedule: Minnesota, Detroit 

FanDuel Odds to Make Playoffs: +198 (33.6% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 27% 

Value: -6.4% 

The Packers are attempting to duplicate their run from 2016 when they won six straight to grab the NFC North and back their way into the postseason. Green Bay is currently in the midst of a three-game winning streak, but even if it wins out, its destiny is out of its control.  

In addition to wins over the Vikings and Lions, the Packers would need Washington to lose one of its next two games, or the Giants to lose both its final two contests to make the postseason.  

Jacksonville Jaguars 7-8 

Schedule: at Houston, Tennessee 

DraftKings Odds to Make Playoffs: -225 (69.23% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 76% 

Value: 6.77% 

Tennessee Titans 7-8 

Schedule: Dallas, at Jacksonville 

DraftKings Odds to Make Playoffs: +175 (36.6% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 26% 

Value: -10.6% 

Grouping the Jaguars and Titans since each team's playoff fate is likely tied to winning the AFC South in Week 18 when they face off for the second time this season. 

Jacksonville won the first matchup 36-22 on Dec. 11. Tennessee will also have to deal with not having quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the rematch, who was ruled out for the rest of the regular season.  

Jacksonville is one of the better value bets of the teams on this list, with DraftKings giving the team an implied probability of 69% to make the postseason and FiveThirtyEight listing its chances at 76%.  

Miami Dolphins 8-7 

Schedule: At New England, New York Jets 

FanDuel Odds to Make Playoffs: -220 (68.8% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 62% 

Value: 6.8% 

The Dolphins have lost four straight and their offense failed to reach the 30-point mark in its last four games after doing so in the three prior games. There’s the added complication of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in concussion protocol, putting his status for the rest of the season in doubt. 

Miami closes the season with two other AFC East teams contending for the final playoff spots: New England and the New York Jets.  

The Dolphins top the teams on this list for the best betting value, but those projections are with Tagovailoa being available the rest of the season. With Tagovailoa’s status in question, even with the value here, it’s better to wait and see before laying a bet. 

New England Patriots 7-8 

Schedule: Miami, Buffalo 

FanDuel Odds to Make Playoffs: +410 (19.6% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 19% 

Value: 0.6% 

New York Jets 7-8 

Schedule: at Seattle, at Miami 

FanDuel Odds to Make Playoffs: +390 (20.4% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 15% 

Value: -5.4% 

The Patriots' and Jets’ playoff hopes were given added life with the Packers beating the Dolphins. Now, the two must win the remaining games on their schedule to remain eligible as both of their playoff fates are tied to each other.  

New England would be eliminated with a loss against Miami, but a win Sunday and a loss to Buffalo could technically keep the Patriots alive if some other things happen. Still, the easiest way for them to make it is to win out.  

The Jets would need to win their last two games and have the Patriots lose at least one of their final two.  

New York Giants 8-6-1

Schedule: Indianapolis, at Philadelphia 

DraftKings Odds to Make Playoffs: -1000 (90.9% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 92% 

Value: 1.1% 

It’s laid out for the Giants: win one of their next two games and they’re in. There’s slight value on the projection, but it’s hard to ever suggest laying down a bet with -1000 odds on anything.  

Seattle Seahawks 7-8 

Schedule: New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams 

FanDuel Odds to Make Playoffs: +290 (25.6% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 27% 

Value: 1.4% 

Seattle’s struggles have brought more teams into the NFC wild-card picture, such as the Lions and Packers. The Seahawks are in the midst of a three-game losing streak but still have a decent chance of making the postseason despite the skid.  

Seattle is in with two wins, a Washington Commanders loss in Week 17 and a Packers defeat in Week 16 or 17.  

Washington Commanders 7-7-1 

Schedule: Cleveland, Dallas 

FanDuel Odds to Make Playoffs: +154 (39.4% implied probability) 

FiveThirtyEight Projection: 29% 

Value: -10.4% 

Washington has a more straightforward playoff scenario than many other teams here. If the Commanders win their last two games, they’re in. Washington also gets in if it wins at least one game and the Seahawks, Lions or Packers lose at least one of their final two games.

The Commanders’ playoff chances could also come down to what Dallas decides to do in Week 18. If the Cowboys rest their starters, it could allow an easier path to the postseason for Washington.

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