Last Updated: 2017-12-01
I have breaking news to announce.
Some of you will find it hard to believe.
I am finally going to stop telling you to bet Falcons futures.
We have reached the portion of their schedule where the difficulty of the remaining games goes back up, and their odds have come down, so now we’re just good. Congratulations, you have some great prices there, though.
If I’m not going to use this space to promote Atlanta, you might ask, what am I going to use it for? Good question. Here are some other good questions:
Is anything meaningful left to be determined in the AFC?
Not really. If I was writing for the league’s website, I’d say something like “What about the CRAZY, WILD FIGHT TO THE FINISH IN THE AFC WEST!” and “WILD CARD DRAMA COULD GO ALL THE WAY TO WEEK 17!” but really, it’s just a matter of figuring out who hosts the AFC Championship Game between Pittsburgh and New England. Any other scenarios are incredible longshots, no matter what order of results we get to close the season. There will be a lot of mediocrity along the way, but where we’re going appears determined. Last week in this space, I talked about buying up Pittsburgh in case they won the home game vs New England that’s rapidly approaching. Even that price has gone from +295 to +260.
So I’m going to embrace the mediocrity, if only for a weekend. The battle for the final playoff spot is as gross as any we’ve seen in recent years in the NFL. Let me take the grossest team available, then. Give me the Bengals +800 to make the playoffs (BOL) and to win the AFC +9500 (5D). I am going to be DYING to hedge out of these later in the season, but their path isn’t that much worse than Baltimore or Buffalo’s, and why are we trusting those teams all of a sudden? Cincinnati is 1 game behind them, and has home games against Detroit and Chicago remaining. They need to win 1 of vs Pittsburgh/at Minnesota to get to Week 17 with a chance. That is unlikely, but you’re also getting +800.
The most realistic path to make money on this, is to get to Bengals @ Ravens, Week 17, with the game determining the 6 seed. You’ll be holding +800 on Cincinnati, you hedge on Ravens at, let’s say, -200, and away we go.
The prices on some of the other AFC teams to make the playoffs appear huge. Any value there?
I don’t totally understand what’s going on with the market and Jacksonville. Before last week’s game, they were something like -900 to make the playoffs at 5Dimes, and now BetOnline is now showing me -270 on them, as opposed to -400 on the Titans. I’m not in love with Jacksonville as a team either, but they still enter this week with an advantage in the standings and on the schedule. Of their 5 remaining games, 3 are home vs. Indianapolis, home vs. Houston, and at San Francisco. -270 is too short, in my opinion.
What about on the NFC side? Has anything really changed there?
Aside from Atlanta’s resurgence (which still leaves them a lot of work left to do), we are in a very similar position to a week ago, and 2 weeks ago. Basically, 7 teams for 6 spots. The most likely scenario is one in which either Atlanta or Seattle miss the playoffs. I wrote about taking Seattle to miss the playoffs a little while back on this site, and I still think they’re the odd team out. But the good news is, if you didn’t get in on that before, I’ve got a much better idea for you now.
The Dallas Cowboys are now -300 to miss the playoffs.
This isn’t a Baker Mayfield-level pricing error on behalf of the market, but still one of the more hilarious prices I’ve seen in the NFL in a little while. Here’s where Dallas sits currently: 6-6, remaining games at Giants, at Raiders, vs Seahawks, at Eagles. They HAVE to win all 4 to have any chance. HAVE to. The best part is, even if they win all 4, they’re 10-6, and they’d have to hope to win a series of tiebreakers with a large number of teams, IF those teams stumbled down the stretch. Dallas loses every conceivable tiebreaker with Atlanta, and even a team like the Rams, because of their head-to-head losses. If they defeat Seattle, they’d have the head-to-head over them, but you’d then also need one additional NFC team to drop down. This is all my way of saying, it is possible, but incredibly unlikely, and the -300 price is way, way too short.
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