The NFL playoffs start in a month. With both conferences bunched up like never before, it’s still anyone’s year.
Okay, the Lions, Jets, Jaguars and Giants never had a shot from the day training camp broke. Plenty of other teams have shown they aren’t a real Super Bowl contender. So who is?
Draftkings has a clear answer: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, followed closely by the Kansas City Chiefs. The betting public, aka “Vegas”, is showing some respect to two legendary quarterbacks, but also showing some recency bias toward last year’s Super Bowl matchup.
Most statistical models estimate the Chiefs have a 10% chance to win it all, up slightly after dismantling Denver on Sunday Night Football. In sports betting terms, their odds should be around +1000.
But “Vegas” has the Chiefs at +650 to win Super Bowl LVI. If you trust the numbers, that is a terrible bet.
And after 13 weeks, you can trust the numbers! That’s a significant sample size in the NFL. Models like 538's quarterback-adjusted Elo (a rating system borrowed from chess that weighs margin of victory and strength of schedule) are designed to turn 13 games of data into an accurate projection, calculating every team’s probability to make the postseason and win the Super Bowl. No projection is perfect, but year after year, these models outsmart the average sports bettor.
The betting public has driven Kansas City’s and Tampa Bay’s odds up higher than they should be. It has also dropped others lower than they should be. Here are the bets you need to make—and the ones you need to avoid.