If you look at the stats posted by NFL numbers guru at FiveThirtyEight, you’ll notice ten teams with an 80% chance or better to earn a playoff spot. A total of seventeen teams have been all but eliminated, with a 15% or less chance to compete for the Super Bowl.
Hilariously, nine of those seventeen feature odds of 1% or less to compete in the post-season. “So you’re telling me there’s a chance”, Lloyd Christmas would say if he coached the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans or the Indianapolis Colts.
Let’s not concern ourselves with the teams that will make the playoffs. Instead, we’ll focus on the best NFL future bets for Week 14, spread bets that will earn you some solid returns.
Playoff Loser Game #1
Dallas Cowboys at NY Giants (New York +4.0)
Pick: Giants to cover
Did you know that the Dallas Cowboys have a five percent chance of making the playoffs, along with a less-than-one percent chance of winning the NFC East? Perhaps not, but you certainly heard the latest nonsense surrounding the New York Giants, which includes something about firing McAdoo and the end of Eli Manning’s career
We predict the Cowboys playoff run to end ingloriously, with a loss to the Giants. Without McAdoo, New York will enjoy playing football again, and when you love what you do, you usually do it better.
Playoff Loser Game #2
Green Bay Packers at Cleveland Browns (Green Bay -3.0)
Pick: Green Bay to cover
Somewhere, oddsmakers looked at this matchup and decided to disrespect the Packers by giving Cleveland a small field goal spread to cover. This rare matchup has produced one win for Cleveland over the past 22 years, and that number isn’t going to improve anytime soon.
Green Bay has a seven percent chance to earn a playoff spot, which gives them something to play for, whereas the Browns should be motivated to lose as much as possible to close out the regular season. Yes, Aaron Rodgers isn’t playing, but there’s never an excuse to lose to Cleveland in 2017.
Playoff Loser Game #3
New York Jets at Denver Broncos (Denver +2)
Pick: Denver to cover
The Broncos have a 4-1 record against the New York Jets in their last five meetings, a trend which spans 12 years. When the Jets last visited Mile High, they dropped a four-point decision to Denver. This time around, the spread favors New York on the road, with bookies painting the Jets as two-point favorites.
Both teams feature miniscule odds to make the playoffs, which gives both squads minimal motivation to win at all costs. Thin, cold, Denver air will make it a lot more difficult for New York to play well compared to the Broncos, who should be able to pull out a slim win against the Jets.
Playoff Loser Game #4
Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals (Cincinnati -7)
Pick: Bengals to cover
Cincy’s probably a better team than their record indicates, but the Bengals stumbled out to an 0-3 record to begin the 2017 season, all but eliminating them from playoff contention. These cats have a 2-1 record over their last three, nearly beating Pittsburgh in Steel City during an ugly, injury-filled match last week.
Chicago apparently employs Mark Sanchez, which means that they deserve to lose big. The Bengals have a one percent chance to make the playoffs, infinitely better than the zero percent odds of the Bears. Cincy should romp like kittens on catnip.
Meaningful Game #1
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (New England -11.5)
Pick: New England to cover
New England has all but locked in another AFC East division crown, but they need to keep winning against obnoxiously terrible football teams to earn the conference title and home field advantage until the Super Bowl, which is the only game that really matters to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Miami somehow earned five wins this season, giving themselves a surprisingly large one percent chance of winning a wild card spot. The Dolphins have the sixth worst offense and the eighth worst defense in the NFL. The Pats score a healthy 29.0 PPG and have allowed only 11.9 PPG after week four. New England already beat the Dolphins by 18 this year, making an 11.5 spread an easy target.