The NFL playoffs kick off later today, and that means that your time to get your future’s action in is running out! As soon as we start seeing teams eliminated from contention, these odds are going to drop for all of the teams still playing.
— #SuperWildCard Weekend on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 15, 2022
Today, we are going to take a little bit of a different look at future’s bets, as instead of betting on which team is going to win Super Bowl 56, we are going to take a look at the betting odds on which conference might win the Big Game. The games are set to start soon, so let’s jump right in and take a look!
First, we are going to take a look at the conference betting odds. When you take a look at the odds below, you can see that the books have the NFC as slight favorites over the AFC to win Super Bowl 56.
- NFC (-115)
- AFC (-105)
I am not going to lie, I am shocked that the NFC is favored to win the Super Bowl right now. If you look at the betting odds for the individual teams, the Green Bay Packers are the overall favorites, but 3 of the next 4 teams all play in the AFC, with the Chiefs, Bills, and Titans joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the biggest favorites.
That would make sense if the Packers (+380) were the prohibitive favorites, but they aren’t, as they are paying just slightly worse than the Chiefs (+450). Clearly, Green Bay is driving this line, but after watching the Packers lose in the NFC Championship in 4 of the last 7 seasons and acknowledging the fact that Aron Rodgers and the Packers haven’t won it all in over a decade, despite always being one of the favorites, I just don’t agree with this line.
It's #NFL Super Wild Card Weekend on @ESPN!#RaiderNation vs. #RuleTheJungle#ForeverNE vs. #BillsMafia #FlyEaglesFly vs. #GoBucs #FTTB vs. #DallasCowboys #HereWeGo vs. #ChiefsKingdom #RedSea vs. #RamsHouse@MattBowen41 | @GregCosell | @ESPNPlus pic.twitter.com/eAXGot1LgP
— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) January 14, 2022
The favorites are being considered heavily in these lines, but you do have to look at the conferences as a whole in order to fully handicap the bets, and even when I look at teams 1-7 in each side of the playoff bracket, the AFC stands out as the better conference. In my opinion, there are 4 teams that just aren’t capable of winning the Super Bowl this year. Those teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, and Philadelphia Eagles.
With the expanded playoffs this year, we have teams playing in the postseason that wouldn’t have made it in any other year in NFL history, so it wouldn’t be much of an overstatement to say that these are some of the worst teams to ever make the playoffs. These teams shake out evenly as we have 2 from each conference, but when you narrow down the field to just 5 teams each, you can really start to see how much better the AFC is than the NFC right now.
Comparing The Conferences
Let’s take a look at the top-5 seeds in each conference and compare them to each other. I am going to rank these teams by their odds to win the Super Bowl, not specifically on their conference seeds.
#5 San Francisco 49ers – NFC (+2000) and New England Patriots – AFC (+2200)
The San Francisco 49ers needed a miracle to even make the postseason, as they had to win on the road against the Rams to continue their season, and they found themselves down late in the game, needing overtime to win and advance. No disrespect to Jimmy G and company in SF, but to see them favored to win over the Patriots, with the top scoring defense in the league and the greatest coach of all time on their sidelines is absurd. This matchup clearly goes to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, as nobody is going to be shocked if Belichick adds another ring to his already record-breaking collection.
#4 Dallas Cowboys – NFC (+1200) and Cincinnati Bengals – AFC (+1800)
Again, we see that the Cowboys from the NFC have better odds to win the Super Bowl than the Bengals from the AFC, but I think that these lower lines for the NFC are more because the overall field is softer in the NFC, making the road to the Big Game that much easier. You could make a case that the 49ers or Patriots could win the Super Bowl, but I don’t see many scenarios where the Bengals or Cowboys are winning it all.
The only reasons they are seeded higher is because they won their divisions, not because they are better teams, and they are priced more aggressively because they get a home game in the 1st round, which is a nice advantage over the Pats and Niners, who have to play their games on the road. But that 1 home game won’t matter as we get deeper into the playoffs, and if you want to cash your future’s bet on a team, they must win them all. I will call this matchup a wash as I don’t see either of these team winning Super Bowl 56, so they shouldn’t calculate too much into the line.
#3 Los Angeles Rams – NFC (+1000) and Tennessee Titans – AFC (+850)
I am really high on both of these teams, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if both of them found their way to the Super Bowl. The Rams are loaded with talent, and prior to their week 18 slip-up against the 49ers, they were on fire, having won 5 straight games. LA loaded up in the offseason when they brought in Matthew Stafford, and the mid-season additions of Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr make them a legit threat to take home a ring.
Bye Weekend Vibes pic.twitter.com/p9M9fZp2uW
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 15, 2022
For Tennessee, I am not sure I have ever seen a number 1 seed get ignored like this Titans team is being right now. Not only did they finish the regular season with the top record in the AFC, they did it without their best player, as Derrick Henry hasn’t played in months. Oh, and did I mention that Henry is going to be back for the playoffs? That bye week is coming up big for Tennessee, as they get an extra week to get Henry ready to play, and assuming that he is indeed healthy, the Titans are the team to beat as they have home field advantage throughout.
This matchup is very close to a wash. Both of these teams have Super Bowl potential, but my gut says that Henry’s health is still a concern and that has me giving a very slight edge to the Rams. If I were completely sure that Henry was going to be his normal self, I would lean towards Tennessee, as they get a bye week and home field advantage, and that makes their path to LA for Super Bowl 56 that much easier.
#2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – NFC (+800) and Buffalo Bills – AFC (+800)
I learned a long time ago not to bet against Tom Brady in the playoffs, as the guy is the greatest winner in NFL history. But I don’t even think Tom Terrific is going to have enough to make it happen for this Bucs team that is melting down. Tampa Bay won’t have Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette hasn’t played in weeks, and although he is expected to be back, we won’t know if he is actually healthy or not until he takes the field. This team is the most banged-up team still playing, and with all of the locker room drama that was caused when Antonio Brown decided to strip down on the field and leave the team, there are way too many distractions to expect this team to play their best.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) January 15, 2022
In the preseason, the Buffalo Bills were my pick to win it all. The Bills have had more than their fair share of ups and downs on the year, and while it looked a little sketchy there for a minute, Buffalo finished the regular season winning 4 straight games, including a road win in Foxboro against the New England Patriots that locked up the AFC East Division title. This team has the talent and coaching to win it all, and now that they have seemingly gotten over their early-season issues, they must be considered one of the favorites. Sorry TB12, but I see the Bills being the far better side of this matchup.
#1 Green Bay Packers – NFC (+380) and Kansas City Chiefs – AFC (+450)
Our final matchup comes down to the favorites, and while the books have the Packers priced as the favorites, I see the Chiefs as the better team. Green Bay has a mental block where they can’t get past the NFC Championship game. For you old guys out there like me that remember the early 90’s Buffalo Bills, a team that went to 4 straight Super Bowls, only to lose every time, you know that some teams, for whatever reason, just can’t break through that glass ceiling.
If it weren’t for that one special season early in his career, we would all be talking about Aaron Rodgers as the greatest player to never win a ring, as he has only disappointed Packers fans since 2011. That is too much consistent losing as favorites to want to fall for that trap again this year. Sorry Packer’s fans but this ain’t your year, again.
It's time for some playoff football ‼️
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 15, 2022
The Kansas City Chiefs were one Tom Brady miracle away from having this game be for their 3rd consecutive Super Bowl title. They won it all 2 years ago and made it back to the Big Game last year as heavy favorites, only to have the ageless Brady and his merry band of castoffs and has-beens shock them and win the game.
Similar to 1 game changing the narrative on Aaron Rodgers’s career, that 1 loss for KC is the only thing standings between the Chiefs and talk about whether or not this is the greatest dynasty in NFL history. In this comparison, we have one team that seems to go to the Super Bowl every year and another team that always seems to come up short, and my action is going to be on the side of the team that knows how to get it done when it matters.
No matter how I hash it out, I like the AFC side of this bet. Even if this line were priced correctly, I would still think that the AFC is the side to be on, and when you throw in the fact that I can get dog money on the AFC, it shows outrageous value. We all know that in the NFL anything can happen, and that is why they play the games, but if you want to make money, you should fire hard on the AFC to win the Super Bowl right now, before the price drops.
Thank you for reading, and make sure that you stay tuned to TheSportsGeek all playoff’s long, as our team of expert handicappers are going to give you the high-value betting advice that you need to make money betting on the NFL. And make sure that you swing by TheSportsGeek’s NFL picks page, where we bring you free picks for each and every NFL playoff game!