Week 16 Bovada Playoff Odds For Seven Hopefuls
Heading into the penultimate weekend of the NFL regular season - no more Thursday or Monday games - we know two-thirds of the AFC playoff field and half in the NFC.
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In the former, the Houston Texans (12-2) have won the AFC South. They will wrap up home-field advantage throughout with a win either this Sunday at home versus Minnesota and rampaging Vikings running back Adrian Peterson - Houston is a seven-point favorite - or next week at Indianapolis.
Currently, the Denver Broncos (11-3) have won an NFL-high nine-straight games and the AFC West. A Broncos win or tie this week against Cleveland would give Denver a first-round bye, but a loss would open the door for the Patriots (10-4).
New England's loss to San Francisco last Sunday was costly as now the Patriots, the AFC East champs, don't control their destiny for a bye in the playoffs. The Pats could still be anywhere from a No. 1 to a No. 4 seed but do own head-to-head tiebreakers over Houston and Denver but not Baltimore. New England should win out as it travels to 2-12 Jacksonville - which is a Week 16-high 14.5-point dog - and hosts 6-8 Miami. Thus that would put pressure on Denver to also win out.
The Ravens (9-5) are in the playoffs but still hoping to win the AFC North for the second year in a row. They are easily playing the worst of any AFC playoff hopeful, having dropped three straight and not looking like they belonged on the same field as the Broncos in Week 15. Baltimore will clinch the AFC North with a victory this week against the equally desperate New York Giants, who opened as one-point favorites.
The Indianapolis Colts (9-5) would be the No. 5 seed as things stand but must win or tie this week at 2-12 Kansas City to clinch an official spot. A loss by Pittsburgh to Cincinnati also would give Indy a playoff spot no matter its result Sunday.
The Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) currently hold down the No. 6 and final AFC spot thanks to their victory over Philadelphia in Week 15 and Pittsburgh's overtime loss to Dallas. The simplest way for the Bengals to clinch a playoff spot is beating the Steelers this week in Pittsburgh. However, the Bengals have lost five straight to the Steelers. The Bengals could still win the AFC North if they beat Pittsburgh and then win at home versus Baltimore in Week 17; the Ravens also have to lose in Week 16. Second-year QB Andy Dalton still hasn't beaten the Steelers or Ravens. That Cincinnati will miss the playoffs is the -160 favorite at the book, with making it at +120.
Pittsburgh (7-7) will be in with wins over Cincinnati and in Week 17 against Cleveland. The Steelers have owned both their Ohio rivals over the past several years, although the Browns did upset them earlier this season. The Steelers also can win the AFC North if they win out and Baltimore loses twice. The Steelers do have a 10-3 record in the second meeting of a season against divisional opponents since 2008, so that bodes well. Pittsburgh's playoff odds are -130 to make it and -110 to miss out.
In the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons have won the South Division, the Green Bay Packers have won the North and the San Francisco 49ers have clinched a playoff spot. Atlanta (12-2) clinches the No. 1 seed by winning at skidding Detroit on Saturday night or with losses by both San Francisco and Green Bay.
The 49ers (10-3-1) would take the NFC West by winning at surging Seattle this week (or tying) - although the Seahawks are unbeaten at home. The Niners clinch a first-round bye with a victory and Packers loss to Tennessee.
The Packers (10-4) really can't clinch anything this week. They can get a first-round bye by winning out and a loss by San Francisco or two by Atlanta. Green Bay would assure itself no worse than the No. 3 seed by beating the Titans on Sunday, which would lock the NFC East champion into the No. 4 seed.
Red-hot Washington (8-6), winner of five straight, currently holds the NFC East tiebreaker. The Redskins need some help to clinch a playoff spot this week. They must win at Philadelphia and have the Giants, Bears and Vikings all lose. Essentially, Washington's postseason fate really comes down to Week 17 against Dallas, a team the Redskins handled in Big D on Thanksgiving. Should the Skins win out, they take the NFC East. That Robert Griffin III and Co. will make the playoffs is -190 and will miss is +145.
Seattle (9-5) clinches a playoff spot by beating the 49ers this week. Should the Seahawks lose, they could still clinch a wild card spot but would need losses by several other teams. There are currently no playoff odds for the Seahawks.
The Minnesota Vikings (8-6) can neither clinch nor be eliminated with a win or loss this week at Houston. Their fate will rest in Week 17 when the Vikings host Green Bay, which may or may not have anything to play for. That the Vikings will miss the playoffs is a big -500 favorite, with making it at +300.
The Chicago Bears (8-6) are the Ravens of the NFC, having lost three straight and five of six since starting the season 7-1. Coach Lovie Smith's job status would be very tenuous if Chicago misses the playoffs for a second-straight year. Really, Chicago needs to win at Arizona this week and have the Vikings and either Giants or Redskins lose. That would allow the Bears to clinch a spot with a win in Week 17 at Detroit. A loss this week could potentially eliminate the Bears. That they miss the playoffs is -160 and make it +120.
The defending Super Bowl champion Giants (8-6) could clinch this week with a win at Baltimore and losses by just about every other 8-6 NFC team. New York, which comes off the worst shutout loss ever for a reigning Super Bowl champ (34-0 to Atlanta), also could be eliminated with a loss and wins by those same teams. New York will get in by beating the Ravens and then the Eagles in Week 17, but it could be either as a wild card or NFC East champion. That the G-Men miss the playoffs is -160 and make it +120.
The Cowboys (8-6) will take the NFC East with victories this week against New Orleans and in Week 17 at Washington. A loss this week to the Saints won't eliminate Dallas, but it would need lots of help. That the Cowboys miss the playoffs is -250 and make it is +170.
The book will offer Live Betting in Week 16 on either Saints-Cowboys or Redskins-Eagles as well as Giants-Ravens and 49ers-Seahawks.
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