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NFL 2018 Playoff picture taking shape

Steve Shoup

As we enter into the final month and a half of the NFL season we can start to see the NFL playoff picture clear up as we now see a pretty clear divide between contenders and pretenders. One of the easiest ways to figure out who is a contender or a pretender is of course to use betting odds for the NFL Playoffs. Using the sharp minds of sports books allows us to have a bit of an unbiased look at who figures to make a run this season. Here are the 6 teams from each conference with the best Super Bowl odds, and the current favorites for the NFL playoffs:

AFC:

New England: +300

-With a strong 7-2 record and there long track record, it’s easy to see why the Patriots are the early favorites at this time. Tom Brady is having another great year and the defense has played better over the past few weeks, just in time for another post season run.

Pittsburgh Steelers: +700

-The Steelers are 7-2 as well and have the best running back/wide receiver combo in the league. While their offense hasn’t reached peak efficiency yet, this is the best defense they have had in years, giving them a more balanced feel.

Kansas City Chiefs: +1000

-The Chiefs have cooled off slightly, but they still have a very good offense, with Alex Smith posting a career year. The Chiefs defense has been a slight concern, but they do have the talent to play better down the stretch.

Jacksonville Jaguars & Tennessee Titans: +2500

-These two AFC South rivals are tied in both the standings and with their SB odds. With Jacksonville they hope to win with their elite defense and quality running game. The Titans are winning with a balanced offensive attack that covers up for their defensive issues.

Oakland Raiders: +3000

-Raiders dug themselves and early hole, but have played better the last month and look to be solid contenders. They still rely on their offense to carry them, but they have the weapons to make them a threat.

NFC:

Philadelphia Eagles: +400

With an 8-1 record and one of the leagues’ best offenses it’s easy to see why bookmakers are high on the Eagles. Carson Wentz is having a breakout season and the running game finally looks stabilized. The Eagles defense has been playing better of late and they are getting healthy finally, making them a tough opponent for a stretch run.

New Orleans Saints: +800

-The Saints have won 7 games in a row to improve to a 7-2 record and have flat out looked dominant doing so. They have been blowing teams out and winning without even having to rely upon their best player, QB Drew Brees. With an improved running game, defense and still one of the best QBs in the league they are going to be a tough team to beat this year.

LA Rams & Seattle Seahawks: +1200

-These two NFC West opponents are battling a top their division with the Rams currently having one more win, while the Seahawks have a head-to-head victory. For the Rams, their offense is playing at an extremely efficient level and their defense is really starting to catch-up. The Seahawks are still relying on a combination of Russell Wilson making plays at QB and a strong defense, though the latter is a bit of a concern this year with some of their injuries. Both teams though look like serious threats going forward.

Minnesota Vikings: +1500

-The Vikings are in prime position to take the NFC North given the injury to Aaron Rodgers and their current 7-2 record. The concern for Minnesota is can their defense carry them enough where they can get by with a running back by committee approach and just average QB play.

Carolina Panthers: +2000

-The Panthers have been an up and down team this year, but still have earned an impressive 7-3 record so far this season. Their offense seems to be improving the last few weeks and their defense has been steady throughout the year.



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