The NFL Playoffs will enter the Divisional Round this weekend, and the Chiefs remain the favorite to win the 2023 Super Bowl, according to most sportsbooks, without having had to play last weekend.
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Kansas City holds the number one seed in the AFC thanks to Buffalo’s game against Cincinnati being canceled after Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated mid-game. The Chiefs will now get a bye in the first round and home-field advantage, unless they play the Bills in the AFC Championship game, which will be hosted at a neutral site thanks to a rule change voted on by the NFL after the Hamlin incident.
However, even though the Chiefs enter the playoffs as the betting favorite, there are four teams that Vegas appears to think are viable contenders and a few intriguing dark horses in the field.
Let’s dive into the full odds and some of our favorite bets with odds courtesy of DraftKings.
|Team||Odds to win|
Kansas City Chiefs
|San Francisco 49ers||+450|
|New York Giants||+2500|
From the odds above, it’s clear that the betting favorites are unchanged from Wild Card weekend, which is a bit of a surprise considering the Bills needed to scratch and claw just to beat a Dolphins team that was starting their third-string quarterback.
Still, the NFL playoffs are a series of one-week seasons, and the Bills will be playing at home with a record of 14-3. Even without truly playing their best football, they keep winning games, and they won’t play a true road game for the rest of the postseason, so it makes sense why they would remain betting favorites along with the Chiefs, who will always have Super Bowl aspirations when Patrick Mahomes is under center.
However, the San Francisco 49ers at +450 are my favorite pick of this group. I know Brock Purdy is playing a bit above his head right now, but the talent around him is so good that he doesn’t really have to do much. Plus, San Francisco boasts a tremendous defense, which can help keep the pressure off of Purdy.
I know Dallas impressed people on Monday night, but I truly think Tampa Bay is just a really bad team, and I’m not sure Dallas is up for the task against this 49ers offense. The 49ers also moved from +180 to win the NFC to just +175, which feels like an underreaction given that the field was basically cut in half. I like that bet if you don’t think Purdy can keep up with Mahomes, Josh Allen, or Joe Burrow.
Similar to the bet above, a bet on Cincinnati to win the AFC at +400 does have some appeal. They are one of the hottest teams in football and have already beaten the Chiefs once this season, not to mention topping them to reach the Super Bowl last year. The moment won’t be too big, and they have the offense to keep up with anybody. I like them more at +800 to win the Super Bowl than I do the Cowboys with the exact same odds
Despite an upset of the Minnesota Vikings, the Giants still remain huge betting underdogs. However, they did leapfrog the Jacksonville Jaguars, which is saying something, and I’m not ready to count the Giants out. They played the Eagles tough in Week 18 while sitting basically all of their starters and as we saw from the Buffalo and Cincinnati games, playing a team in your division three times in one season can be a tough ask.
This is a well-coached Giants team that could pull off this upset, so putting a small wager on them at +1200 to win the NFC is a fun bet to make. I don’t have confidence that Daniel Jones and company can keep up with those three elite quarterbacks in the AFC, but if the Giants can get past Philadelphia then beating Purdy or a flawed Cowboys team is certainly feasible. However, I’d still make that bet pretty small as it is a real long shot.
Super Bowl Exacta
The NFL has also created a new way to bet on the Super Bowl, where you can choose the exact matchup. You can choose to bet with the result or just by naming the two finalists. While the odds are long because the chances of nailing it this early in the postseason is tough, it can be a fun way to play the odds without having to be as specific about knowing who will raise the trophy.
Some of my favorite New York-based possibilities to play are:
|Super Bowl Teams (Result)||Odds|
|Giants play Chiefs||+3000|
|Giants play Bills||+3500|
|Eagles play Bills||+600|
|49ers play Bills||+650|
|Chiefs defeat the Giants||+4500|
|Bills defeat the Giants||+5000|
|Bills defeat the 49ers||+1200|
|49ers beat the Bills||+1600|