It's that time of year...the NFL playoffs. While the sheer number of games and betting opportunities have become more limited, a whole new door opens up to the NFL better and that is futures bets on who will win it all!
While you can usually find these kinds of bets posted throughout the entire season, it's often hard to tie up your cash for four or five months. Plus, while you can get huge odds for the Miami Dolphins to win the Super Bowl on Sept. 1, let's be honest...Did anyone really think they would even make the playoffs this year?
So now that the 12 tickets to the dance have been sold, you can now sit back and have a clearer picture of the teams in play. In playoff scenarios like this, there is value to be had on almost every team unless there is a runaway favourite.
Let's take a look at the current odds available for teams to WIN AFC, WIN NFC, and WIN SUPER BOWL. These odds may slightly vary from book to book, but overall they'll be pretty similar.
To WIN AFC
To WIN NFC
To Win Super Bowl
As you can see there is + money to be had for every selection in these bets. Whether you have a strong opinion on one or a couple teams or just want to bet your favourite team to win it all, NOW IS THE TIME. For relatively low risk, any on of these teams could offer a large payout. (With the exception of a couple of top choices, though they still have value.)
Sure you could wait until the final four or actual Super Bowl game, but in my opinion, now is the time. You won't be seeing much + money around when there are only two teams remaining.
Plus what's great about getting down on one of these teams now, is that since the odds are still relatively high, if your team makes it to the final, you could possibly "hedge" your bet and bet the opposing team to balance out your risk.
Example: You take Atlanta at 25-1 to win the Super Bowl. Let's say they make it to the big game and are playing vs Pittsburgh. Now at this point the Steelers won't be +600 anymore, most likely they may be favoured.
Even $10 on your Atlanta bet would pay off $250. So almost any bet you make on Pittsburgh would cover your losses should Pittsburgh indeed win the Super Bowl. Now, obviously you will lose the Pittsburgh bet you just made if your first choice Falcons come through, but isn't winning $200 better than losing $10?
And the reduced stress you'll feel knowing you are either winning big, winning small or breaking even, but in no way losing is a great feeling.
Now, obviously this strategy won't always work, and in this example I used a big underdog at 25-1 in the example. A more reasonable choice clearly wouldn't pay as well, but you get the idea.
So where is the value in this slate of teams for this year's playoffs?
Well, currently I'm having a little love-fest with the Baltimore Ravens. I think they should steam roll past the Fins this week on their way to Tennessee. They only lost 13-10 to the Titans earlier this year, so I think they stand a good chance there.
After that, I'm confident they can hold their own against anyone else in the AFC final. At +750 to win AFC or +1400 to win the Super Bowl, I see tremendous value with the Ravens, who, I think have flown slightly under the radar this year. Here is a chart showing where the Ravens rank in many key statistical categories.
Rush yrds allw
Pass yrds allw
For more of my Ravens thoughts check out my other article "Shreding the Spread One NFL Game at a Time: Wildcard Edition"
On the NFC side, while there are several attractive options I really can't see many of them going deep into the playoffs. Teams like Atlanta, Minnesota, Arizona don't have the experience and talent to match up with some of the stronger teams in the conference. I would have to lean towards possibly New York, Carolina, or maybe even Philly.
To win the whole show, I'd obviously include all those teams as options, plus the Titans, Steelers and Indy. My Super Bowl prediction would be Baltimore vs either New York or Carolina, so those would be my top choices.
Where do you think the value lies and do you agree this kind of future betting can be profitable? Let me know your thoughts.