An avid gambler and sports handicapper wages war on Vegas with betting strategy, analysis, and of course free picks.

Friday, August 18, 2006

NFL: Odds to Win Conference Championships

With not much else to do besides watch pre-season games and evaluate 2nd string quarterbacks, I thought I would take some time to review the betting odds on making it to the Super Bowl. A couple of points are worth noting.

It is very difficult (not withstanding last years run by the Steelers) to make it to the Super Bowl without getting a first round bye in the playoffs. And to do that, you pretty much have to have a good returning team and a relatively easy schedule (like the Seahawks in '05). So when looking for good wagers, we'll eliminate any team without a winning record from 05.

Then we'll look at strength of schedule to eliminate good teams with hard upcoming schedules. Cincy and NY Giants have the toughest '06 schedules based on '05 wins. Tampa, Pittsburgh, and KC also have some daunting dates ahead this year. Fortunately, since division foes play each other twice, and some weak divisions do exist, this creates some opportunities for good teams to run the table and get a first round bye. In the AFC you got Jax, Miami, Indy, New England and KC. All are good teams with relatively easy schedules. In the NFC, you got Minny, Chicago, and Seattle. As a side note, I find it unbelievable that Seattle has the 29th easiest schedule on paper walking into the season.

Last, we'll look at value for our return with posted odds courtesy of Bodog. Seattle is 4-1 to repeat as NFC Champs, and Indy at 3-1 seem obvious yet do not provide enough value for the wager. Jax at 15-1 certainly does. Of course, they have to play Indy twice but consider they were 12-4 last year and have Leftwich returning. Also, Miami at 9-1 odds and New England at 8-1 offer good value as well.

I cannot bring myself to lay down a bet on anyone in the NFC North, so I'm left with Seattle at 4-1 weighed largely by their upcoming schedule and returning team.

In the AFC I'll take Jacksonville at 15-1 and New England at 8-1 for value. Three bets at $50 per.

Remember all they have to do is make it to the Super Bowl, not win it!

Complete odds to win NFC and AFC Championships can be found at:


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