The 12 playoff teams have been decided and, as usual, the top favorites on the NFL odds board are all overvalued. Philadelphia and Atlanta could be worth a spin, though.
That might have been the craziest Week 17 ever. Playoff fortunes changed hands multiple times during Sunday’s regular-season finales, but here we are with 12 survivors advancing to the NFL postseason – which kicks off this weekend with the four Wild Card games. Naturally, the teams who earned first-round byes will have a better chance of winning Super Bowl LII, so they’re the top title favorites on the NFL odds board.
Except for one team. The Philadelphia Eagles (13-3 SU, 10-6 ATS) are the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but at press time they’re the No. 6 favorites at +1200 on Bovada’s Super Bowl futures market. That’s because Nick Foles is playing quarterback in place of Carson Wentz, who was enjoying a Pro Bowl-quality campaign before tearing an ACL in Week 14. Are the Eagles still worth a follow at this reduced price?
To help us answer that, we turn to the stat nerds at FiveThirtyEight. They’ve got their Super Bowl LII projections up and running; here at the ranch, we’ve taken those projections, run them through the SBR Betting Odds Converter, and compared them to the Super Bowl odds at Bovada. If there’s any value out there for your NFL picks, this should help us locate the source.
Indeed, there are only two teams whose payouts are larger than their projections would suggest: the Eagles, and the Atlanta Falcons (10-6 SU, 7-9 ATS) at +2500. FiveThirtyEight has Philadelphia winning the Super Bowl 15 percent of the time, which works out to +567; Atlanta’s chances are pegged at four percent, which translates to +2400. Everyone else is on the wrong side of the football odds, and that’s without taking hold percentage into account.
Red Dead Redemption
But how well do these projections account for Wentz’s injury? Probably not very well. Foles has played at close to replacement level in his three starts for the Eagles, although we shouldn’t read too much into that season-ending 6-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. The projected Divisional Round lines from the Westgate have Philadelphia as a home dog against either New Orleans or Carolina, and a pick’em against Atlanta.
Which makes us lean towards the Falcons as the better choice for your Super Bowl picks. They’re relatively healthy, and their title chances may be even better than advertised, since their path to Super Bowl LII goes through Philly – where they would face Foles instead of Wentz. Let’s see if Atlanta can atone for last year’s mistakes.