NFL Inception: Dissecting Playoff Odds
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | August 30, 2012
We go window shopping to find the best deals in Bovada’s 2012 playoff props.
It’s prediction time in the NFL. Every talking head is making “expert analysis,” on 2012 playoff contenders. The Bovada Sportsbook has done something similar, unleashing 32 NFL odds that asks the question “Will [team] make the playoffs? Yes or no?”
No, there’s no video footage of Skip Bayless outright making picks, the odds dictate every team’s chances.
Favorites like the Green Bay Packers and huge underdogs like the Cleveland Browns are of course available, but the success and failure of those squads is so likely the returns are wholesale. The value is in the squads the oddsmakers have under or overestimated that could pay off.
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Carolina Panthers – Will they make the playoffs? +300 Yes (-400 No)
In the 2011 draft, analysts were talking about Blaine Gabbert as the best quarterback coming out and how No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton may not adjust to the rigors and rocket science of the NFL. Come Week 1, Newton turned into “Peyton Vick,” throwing with the same proficiency and accuracy of Peyton Manning in his rookie year while burning defenses on the ground like Michael Vick in his prime. The team finished a surprising 6-10 on the season.
Now Newton is ready for year two with a pro bowl wideout, solid tight ends and two 1,000-yard running backs to help his progress. The only question is a defense that gave up 26.8 points per game last year. But star linebacker Jon Beason is back and the team drafted solid LB Luke Kuechly.
We’re not on board with Panthers center Ryan Kalil’s declaration that Newton will lead them to the Super Bowl, but with usual NFC South contender New Orleans hampered on D by “Bountygate” we’ll definitely concede the playoffs are possible, and at a great price.
New York Giants – Will they make the playoffs? EVEN Yes (-130 No)
I’m sorry is this the right New York team? It appears oddsmakers forgot who the reigning Super Bowl champs when they made the Giants EVEN to make the playoffs again in 2012.
The Giants, already two-time Super Bowl champs under head coach Tom Coughlin, enter 2012 with healthy, pro-bowl talent at wideout, the most heralded defensive line in football, a rookie first-round RB to spell Ahmad Bradshaw and their QB, Eli Manning, coming off his best statistical season ever. The only concern is the last six weeks of the regular season has them versus Green Bay, at Washington, versus New Orleans, at Atlanta, at Baltimore and versus Philadelphia. But being in the NFC East has never done the Giants any favors anyway.
New York Jets – Will they make the playoffs? -215 No (+175 Yes)
Considering how bad this offense has looked in preseason -215 looks like a steal for the Jets to miss the playoffs. The Jets have gone three full games without scoring a touchdown. Starting QB Mark Sanchesz still looks like a rookie, RB Shonn Greene may be one of the worst starting runners in the league and backup/wildcat QB Tim Tebow looks like … he looks like Tim Tebow. So far, it appears the defense will regain its stingy form, but can they carry the offense like the 2001 Baltimore Ravens; they’ll have to.
The only excitement you can draw from this team is from head coach Rex Ryan, and even he’s lacking swagger after being humbled in 2011.Ryan might chock the Jets’ recent woes to “just preseason,” but their struggles have been building since 2011.
Detroit Lions – Will they make the playoffs? -125 Yes (-105 No)
Judging by the odds the 2012 Lions were a tough team to peg. Detroit has all the talent to possibly even reach the Super Bowl: A 5,000-plus QB, a hall-of-fame-talent receiver, a dominant defensive line and a steady, tough head coach. Problem is every positive has a 40 percent chance of turning into a negative. QB Matthew Stafford was prone to injuries before playing a full season in 2011. WR Calvin Johnson has had numerous injury issues in his career and this year he has the dreaded “Madden Curse” on his head. And the defense, led by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, dominates in stretches but has been plagued by penalties and suspensions.
Bottom line, the Lions come at a good price on either side of this wager. If you think they’ll avoid the issues of season’s past, they are a good bet at -125 to reach the postseason.