There is no such thing as a lock in sports betting, and don’t let anyone tell you different. If there was, sportsbooks wouldn’t be so profitable. That said, it’s just short of a lock that the NFL will see four teams make the playoffs in 2018 that didn’t in 2017.
How can we be so sure? Since the NFL went to a 12-team postseason format in 1990, there have been at least four new playoff teams every year. Last season, there were a whopping eight that didn’t make it in 2016. That includes the Philadelphia Eagles, who went from last in the NFC East in 2016 to first-time Super Bowl champions last season. The Eagles are -270 to return to the postseason this year and +210 not to make the playoffs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The last Super Bowl winner to miss the playoffs the next season was the Denver Broncos. They upset the Carolina Panthers in SB 50 but then saw QB Peyton Manning retire and went 9-7 in 2016 to miss out.
The New England Patriots have the shortest NFL playoff odds, an almost ridiculous price of -1500. Since Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl in the 2001 season, the Patriots have missed the playoffs only twice: 2002 and 2008 (the latter when Brady suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1). A $100 wager on New England to miss this year’s playoffs would return a cool $800. That’s almost worth the risk in case Brady gets injured.
The longest playoff streak in the NFC had belonged to the Green Bay Packers, who had made it each season since 2009. That ended last year, however, largely because their Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, missed a huge chunk of the year with a broken collarbone. The Packers are -170 to be a playoff team in 2018 and +140 not to be.
The longest postseason drought belongs to none other than the sad-sack Cleveland Browns. That franchise returned to the NFL in 1999 and only made the playoffs in 2002. It hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2007, and of course the Brownies were 0-16 last year. They are +550 to shock the world this season and -900 to miss out again.
After losing native son LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers, perhaps the City of Cleveland deserves postseason football to put off the new NBA reality as long as possible.
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Source: Heavy Sports