After 13 weeks of exciting regular season action on the playing field, there have been some drastic changes in NFL Championship odds at SI Sportsbook since its initial preseason release.
In the AFC, Kansas City, the preseason favorite of the oddsmakers, continues to hold the top spot thanks to their current five-game winning streak. However, New England, listed at healthy odds of +3000 in August, is now the second overall bet choice at +333.
In the NFC, two of the strong pre-season contenders Tampa Bay and Green Bay maintain their spot as the top betting picks thanks to the stellar play from star quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. The surprise so far of the oddsmakers’ power rankings for the season involves Kyler Murray and Arizona, who were +1500 in the summer but have since been reduced to +333 for taking the top spot in the NFC West with the best record in the NFL at 10 -2.
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As we know, last season’s NFL post season changed its format for the first time in 30 years, with an expanded lineup. The league increased the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams, allocating seven spots per conference. The two No. 1 seeds in each conference earn a first-round byes and home advantage.
Let’s dive in and see where the value lies with just five weeks left in the regular season!
Kansas City (+260)
(8-4 SE, 5-7 ATS)-1st AFC West
Just as everyone was ready to write off the Chiefs in their quest for a third straight Super Bowl appearance, Kansas City goes on a five-game winning streak. Patrick Mahomes and the offense have struggled, luckily for them their defense has ramped up to a championship level and kept opponents to 20 points or less during this hot streak. Despite Kansas City being on the go for three of the last five games of the regular season, the remainder of the game is favored. I’m not convinced the Chiefs can earn the number 1 seed, but a first round bye can never be turned down if Patrick Mahomes is in the middle.
New England (+333)
(9-4 SE, 9-4 ATS) – 1st AFC East
After Monday night’s 14-10 win, the Patriots took a solid two-game lead over the Bills for the AFC East crown. Mac Jones is the front-runner for the Rookie of the Year honors, but it’s New England’s ground game and strong defense that has named Bill Belichick’s squad as one of the favorites for best overall rankings in the conference. The Patriots will come out of their farewells in Week 15 with matchups against the Colts and a rematch with the Bills before finishing the regular season with Jacksonville and Miami.
(7-5 SE, 6-5-1 ATS) – 2nd AFC East
The Bills, despite having one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Josh Allen and one of the best pass defenses, have lost four of their last seven games. It doesn’t get any easier on week 14, when Buffalo heads to Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Following this week’s potential Super Bowl LVI preview, the Bills will be preferred in three of their final four games of the regular season. The only game that will find them as underdogs will be heading for New England. After Monday night’s loss, Bill Belichick improved to 36-7 (.837) against Buffalo since becoming head coach of the Patriots in 2000.
(8-4 SE, 7-5 ATS)-1st AFC South
The Titans fall into the “Wild Card” grouping simply because this team needs star Derrick Henry (foot) to return in time for the playoffs if they are to stand a chance of representing the AFC in the Super Bowl LVI. There are reports that Henry could return to the field this month, but my Vegas sources indicate a return in January is more likely. Henry’s Jones fracture isn’t the only injury Tennessee has faced as both AJ Brown (chest) and Julio Jones (hamstring) have missed both games from the start. If the Titans can get their big three back before the postseason, then their healthy +900 odds offer solid value.
(7-6 SE, 8-5 ATS) – 2nd AFC South
The other team filling out the “Wild Card” group is Indianapolis, simply because of the idea that a strong running game and solid defense can lead to a deep championship run. Well, the Colts have arguably the strongest rushing offense in the NFL thanks to Johnathan Taylor, the league’s leading rusher. Not only does the phenomenal sophomore return likely bring fantasy managers to league titles, but his production makes Indianapolis the best double-digit (+1600) value on the board in AFC Championship Futures. Taylor needs to average 163 rushing yards over the last four games to achieve each running back’s desired 2,000-yard goal. That exclusive list consists of just eight players in NFL history: OJ Simpson (2.003; 1973), Eric Dickerson (2.105, 1984), Barry Sanders (2.053; 1997), Terrell Davis (2.08; 1998), Jamal Lewis ( 2.066; 2003). ), Chris Johnson (2006; 2009), Adrian Peterson (2,097; 2012), Derrick Henry (2,027, 2020). The Colts will bid farewell in Week 15 with back-to-back heavy matchups against the Patriots and Cardinals before closing the regular season with games against the Raiders and Jaguars.
Tampa Bay (+250)
(9-3 SE, 6-6 ATS)-1st NFC South
Are you willing to bet against the GOAT? Tom Brady was simply sensational in his 20th season in the NFL. The Buccaneers boast the highest-ranking passing offense (311.1 yards per game) and the No. 1 scoring offense (31.4 points per game). By running back Leonard Fournette, who has had five touchdowns in his last two games, Brady gets a chance to take advantage of the opposing defenses in the field with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski in the passing game. The defending Super Bowl champions earn the top spot in NFC Futures betting.
Green Bay (+330)
(9-3 SE, 10-2 ATS) – 1st NFC North
The Packers were the best team for bettors to invest in this season with a league-best 10-2 ATS mark of the season. Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are one of the best quarterback and wide receiver combinations in the NFL and when the healthy Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon form a solid duo on the ground. Green Bay will be highly favored in each of their last three regular season games against Cleveland, Minnesota and Detroit and thanks to the schedule makers it will have one of the best chances of earning the number 1 overall seed in the NFC.
(10-2 SE, 9-3 ATS) – 1st NFC West
The Cardinals impressively won two out of three games without starting quarterback Kyler Murray (ankle) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring). With both star players back from injury, Arizona now has one of the strongest offensive units with James Conner in the backfield and AJ Green and Christian Kirk joining Hopkins on the outside. Despite having the best record in the league, Arizona is not the frontrunner for the No. 1 seed due to their difficult schedule along the stretch. The Cardinals have had tough matchups with the Rams, Colts and Cowboys in three of their last five matchups.
(8-4 SE, 9-3 ATS) – 1st NFC East
The Cowboys end up in the NFC’s ‘Wild Card’ group due to injuries and inconsistent play over the past month. Ezekiel Elliott (knee) is clearly not at full strength and Dallas has been hit hard by COVID-19 issues, leading to losses in Kansas City and Las Vegas in two of the past three weeks. It has become abundantly clear that the Cowboys will need Tony Pollard more touches in the future to keep the attack more balanced. That would allow Dak Prescott to push the ball across the field to Cee Dee Lamb, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Dalton Schultz. Dallas will be favored in all four of their remaining NFC East games, with a matchup against Arizona in Week 17 likely to have strong implications for the playoffs’ placement.
LA Rams (+500)
(8-4 SE, 5-7 ATS) – 2nd NFC West
Los Angeles is the longest shot of the best picks in the NFC, but could easily become the biggest threat if Odell Beckham Jr. can continue to find the end zone. Any club with the deadly combination of Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp will offer value in January. In addition, the Rams have a formidable defensive unit thanks to the presence of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Los Angeles has the toughest remaining schedule of all the top contenders with road games against Arizona, Minnesota and Baltimore.
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Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy soccer player who created the first-ever DFS show in a Las Vegas sports book. Frankie is Senior Analyst of SI Betting and brings his considerable experience and resources in sports betting. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest gambling and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.