3 Teams To Back Before NFL Expands Playoffs With New CBA
The NFL Playoffs could have quite a different look starting next season.
The NFLPA will soon vote on a proposal by team owners on a number of changes to the league that could increase NFL betting opportunities. The addition of a 17th regular-season game was a highlight, expected to be implemented for the 2021 season if approved.
Bookies.com senior handicapper Adam Thompson has found three teams worth backing right now that likely weren’t worth considering under the old playoff format. They offer enticing value with an extra postseason spot up for grabs.
NFC Is Loaded
The San Francisco 49ers are the team to beat the NFC, or at least oddsmakers see it that way. The Niners are as low as +650 at William Hill but can be had for as +1000 at DraftKings and 888sport (it’s important to shop around in futures markets). Just the Kansas City Chiefs, at +650, and Baltimore Ravens, at +800, are lower.
But the depth behind the Niners makes them a volatile low-payout option. You can go to PointsBet, for example, and find 12 teams at +2000 or lower to win the championship next year — eight of them in the NFC.
That means even with an additional playoff spot up for grabs, at least one team at +2000 won’t even get to the postseason.
But there is value to be found in a stacked NFC.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6500
While the other divisions of the NFC each have two to three teams in viable playoff contention based on the odds, the South offers opportunity for a darkhorse. The Saints are the division favorites for a reason, but after that it’s a mishmash trio of teams.
The Falcons have the look of a team that is about to need a rebuild and the Panthers have too many big questions regarding a porous defense and the effectiveness/health of Cam Newton.
The Buccaneers have their own issues, but they have considerable strengths as well. They may have the NFL’s top WR duo in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and they had the No. 1-ranked run defense in the NFL.
Jameis Winston had 30 INTs, including a record seven returned for TDs. He’s also the NFL leader in fumbles since 2015. If Tampa can find a QB that doesn’t turn it over with such stunning regularity, the offense improves. Keep in mind, the Bucs went 7-9 last year but five of those losses were by four points or less or in OT and many were due to huge negative QB plays.
Tampa needs help in the defensive backfield, but they enter the off-season with the third-most cap space. If Tampa’s front office can have a strong off-season, the Bucs could be in place to have a big season. You can go bet them at BetMGM.
AFC Allows for Sneak-ins
While the NFC is a jumbled mess full of contenders, the AFC is top-heavy with the Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens (+800) leading the way. Only one other team comes in lower than +2000, and that’s the New England Patriots (+1400), who may or may not have Tom Brady.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are next up at +2000, but we can’t be sure Ben Roethlisberger regains his former form after nearly a year off, nearing 40 years of age and a supporting cast that doesn’t resemble the teams he led to Super Bowls in the past.
The AFC’s logjam occurs in the middle, as six teams are posted at +2500 or +3000. If you can nail down which of those 2-3 will make the playoffs, you’re ahead of the game.
Buffalo Bills +3500
If you believe in the progression of QB Josh Allen, then most everything else is in place for a continued resurgence in the AFC. Devin Singletary looks ready to take on a feature back role and the defense ranked No. 2 in points allowed and No. 3 in yards allowed. There aren’t many holes to fill and Buffalo has the fourth-most cap space this offseason.
Couple all that with the Patriots’ dynasty showing signs of weakness, and Buffalo is most-poised to be a challenger in the AFC East. Home playoff games in Buffalo is a good start to getting back to the Big Game. You can back them at SugarHouse
Tennessee Titans +3500
Oddsmakers apparently don’t believe the Titans are true challengers to the Chiefs and Ravens. They went 9-7, turning it around when Ryan Tannehill took over at QB and the offense handed the ball to Derrick Henry time and again. They rolled the Patriots and Ravens in the playoffs and led the Chiefs by 10 in the second quarter before Patrick Mahomes took over.
They’re expected to re-sign Tannehill and Henry, giving them a full season together.
The Texans and Titans look to be the class of the AFC South in 2020. Each needs defensive help, but Houston’s squad needs a lot more of it, ranking 25th vs. the run and 29th vs. the pass. Tennessee appears on the upward trajectory, and has the pieces in place to beat out the other five teams in this odds bracket. Grab them at William Hill
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About the Author
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He has consistently produced profitable seasons in NFL and college football and established himself as an elite MLB expert in 2018, hitting 61 percent of his money line picks for a profit of $4,062 to $100 players, ending the season on a 22-4 run including 100 percent on World Series games. Previously the award-winning sports editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Adam spent nearly 20 years covering the NFL, MLB and college football. Now he shares the insight he gained at Bookies.com through well-reasoned picks and thought-provoking articles and on Twitter at @_Adam_Thompson_.