Super Bowl Odds: Playing the Percentage Game for NFL Picks

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 7:05 PM GMT

It's rare in this current format that the NFL bettors see a chalk conference championship weekend where the top two seeds square off in the AFC and NFC. That won't be the case Sunday, either.

Compare last week's report on Statistical Probabilities of Reaching the Super Bowl

Seattle Seahawks
Football Outsiders chance of winning NFC title game: 63.9%

Football Outsiders chance of winning Super Bowl: 36.6%

Prediction Machine chance of winning Super Bowl: 40.2%

Last week the Seahawks' NFL odds to win the Super Bowl were 24.4% (FO) and 29.3% (PM). Football Outsiders gave Seattle a 44.3 percent shot of reaching the game.

 

New England Patriots
Football Outsiders chance of winning AFC title game: 70.2%

Football Outsiders chance of winning Super Bowl: 34.9%

Prediction Machine chance of winning Super Bowl: 25.6%

Entering the AFC title game, the Pats' odds to win the Super Bowl were 19.9% (FO) and 13.8% (PM). To reach the Super Bowl, Football Outsiders had New England at 38.7 percent. It should be noted that Prediction Machine had the Denver Broncos with better percentages to reach the AFC title game, Super Bowl and to win the Super Bowl than the Pats. But that was based on Denver being a bigger favorite against Indianapolis than New England was vs. Baltimore.

 

Green Bay Packers
Football Outsiders chance of winning NFC title game: 36.1%

Football Outsiders chance of winning Super Bowl: 17.9%

Prediction Machine chance of winning Super Bowl: 21.5%

Last week, the Packers' odds of winning the Super Bowl were 16.6% (FO) and 20.0% (PM). Football Outsiders gave Green Bay a 32.6 percent shot of reaching the game. These sites obviously can't take into account how healthy Aaron Rodgers' calf is.

 

Indianapolis Colts
Football Outsiders chance of winning AFC title game: 29.8%

Football Outsiders chance of winning Super Bowl: 10.7%

Prediction Machine chance of winning Super Bowl: 12.8%

The Colts were the Super Bowl long shots from a percentage standpoint last week and that remains the case, although obviously those numbers  have improved with the upset in Denver. Indy was given percentages of 25.8% (FO) and 30.4% (PM) of reaching the AFC title game and 3.3% (FO) and 5.4% (PM) of winning the Super Bowl previously.

 

Other Trends
At 5Dimes, the Colts are 7-point NFL betting underdogs for Sunday's late game at New England, while the Packers are +8.5 in Seattle. Both of those games are regular-season rematches with the current favorite winning easily. The Seahawks rolled the Packers 36-16 in Seattle in Week 1. New England went to Indy in Week 11 -- off a bye -- and won 42-20. All-time in conference title games, underdogs of at least 7 points are 13-17 ATS.  Each of the last four times that both conference title games featured touchdown or more favorites, dating to 1998, one of the favorites lost outright.

Despite not being in the same division, the Colts and Patriots have played at least one game against each other in either the regular season or playoffs for 12 consecutive seasons. The Patriots have won five straight against the Colts (including playoffs), averaging 41.2 points per game. However, all of the Patriots’ eight postseason losses under Coach Bill Belichick have been a rematch from that regular season, including the past two conference championship games. The Packers won the previous two postseason matchups against the Seahawks, with both games taking place at Lambeau Field. The Packers are 3-2 in NFC Championships and have won the last two on the road.

Since 1990, when the NFL playoffs expanded to 12 teams, there have been 30 conference championship rematches from the regular season. The winner of the final regular-season meetings (final meeting is used for those games involving same division clubs who played twice), went 18-12 straight-up in the conference title game and 17-13 against the spread. Meanwhile, only 11 times has the regular-season winner been favored by at least a touchdown or more in the conference title rematch. In those games, the favorite went 8-3 ATS, as those placing NFL picks will recall. A total of 31 of 50 conference title games since 1990 have been decided by more than seven points. Last year one was: Denver 26, New England 16.

NFL Free Pick: A Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl, which is a -120 favored exact matchup at sportsbooks.