Updated NFL Futures Sports Betting Analysis After The Wildcard Round
Last week, we ran through Arturo Galletti’s NFL Futures sports betting sims and identified a few key bets. Unfortunately, the key that we latched on to was the New Orleans Saints effectively being the best team in the NFC but having to play a game on Wild Card Weekend. Had the Saints beaten the Vikings, we expect that they would probably be the favorite in the conference. With the added variance of playing that extra game, however, it was a situation where the numbers were correct but Murphy’s law intervened. Our look at the NFL Futures sports betting market is much different this week as we have fewer bets to recommend given the lack of strength on the NFC side of the bracket and the concentrated strength at the top of the AFC bracket.
Updated NFL Futures Simulations
Ravens Hold Steady
While the Titans being the Patriots was an “upset”, it had essentially no impact on the NFL Futures sports betting markets at all. The Ravens are +200 to win the Super Bowl and an absurd -140 to win the AFC conference championship. Last time, we talked about how the Ravens were dominant bets in both of these markets but at these prices, well, we hope that you bet it last week. I prefer (and the simulations) the Kansas City Chiefs at +180 for wagers on AFC teams. The Ravens are clearly better than the Chiefs by most advanced analytics processes (and even some very simple ones like “who scored the most points over the regular season”) as DVOA and expected points have Baltimore as the best team in the NFL.
However, the shorter and shorter the prices get for Baltimore, you are just asking for trouble. Before a down of the playoffs was played, the Ravens were a great SB bet. They are still probably an elite bet right now but we have the question of “wouldn’t it just be better to make shorter-term wagers at similar odds” and for me, that answer is yes. Now, if KC somehow loses to Houston this weekend, you are going to be kicking yourself for not having a Baltimore ticket but also, we told you to bet the Ravens last week!
Given that we just saw 1) the Vikings beat what was the strongest DVOA/Yards per play NFC team in the playoffs and 2) the flattening of the NFC market after that defeat, I am finding myself interested in betting on the Vikings this upcoming week and for the division at +800. The Seahawks are also playing on the road at Green Bay and while we think the Packers are a mostly fraudulent NFL team, the overall market does not. They are being treated like a real 13-3 team with really good players and an elite quarterback when that just isn’t what they are. DVOA and yards per play have Minnesota as a better team than Green Bay which is really something considering their respective seedings. Really, the idea that a team that has already won a playoff game and has +EV players at almost all important positions should be +1800 for the SuperBowl and +800 to win their next two games is probably a little light even if it isn’t a short term winner.
Consolidation Of Power
Here is some math for the folks: 22.2%+33.3%+22.2%=77.7%. That is the combined Super Bowl odds of the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City and San Francisco 49ers as set by the markets available on DraftKings and Fanduel right. So think about that: that implies that the “field”, as it were, wins the Super Bowl less than 25% of the time. There are a few things you can do with that information. The first would be to look at some specialized markets that offer perhaps these three teams vs the field, the AFC vs the NFC (over 55% of the SB equity is in the AFC as determined by the markets and our simulations) for SB winner and also for player-specific props (i.e Kittle receiving yards, Lamar rushing yards, Damien Williams receiving yards). There is always an inefficient market to be found and these odds should help inform some of your decisions in other playoff-specific markets.