We are firmly in the business end of the NFL regular season, a time when teams are in the ascendency and some are sinking without a trace. Indeed, it was around this time last years that pundits and fans started to really take the Eagles seriously, framing them no longer as outsiders but viable candidates to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Betting patterns will, of course, evolve and change dramatically as the year wears on, moving to favour teams who have demonstrated the qualities to contend. But that doesn’t always mean that the markets are right, there is still plenty of time for a surprise or two.
Rams and Saints should be avoided
In light of that, let’s look at where the value betting lies for the rest of the season and into the postseason. For a start, it’s perhaps best to point out that betting value does not always equate to most likely winner. We all know that the Saints and Rams are leading the charge with sportsbooks, both coming in at +300 with Ladbrokes. But does that offer value, especially when you consider both are NFC teams and only one can make the Super Bowl? Incidentally, those markets change fast, so make sure to check NFL daily odds sites for the latest updates.
If the Chiefs or Rams offer little value, then who does? It might sound a bit clichéd to say it, but the Patriots are looking more and more like a value bet. Let’s put it in context first of all. The Patriots were the preseason favorites – by a relatively considerable distance – for Super Bowl LIII, coming in at odds of around +600. They have had some wobbles to be sure, but more or less Brady and Belichick have done what they always do – win. Yet, the Patriots’ odds have increased since the start of the season, now coming in at +650 with Unibet and 888sport. As a comparison, rivals like the Rams, Chiefs and Saints have all seen their odds decline by at least 60% since September.
Ravens defense could unlock betting value
What about a dark horse? The Chargers and Texans, priced at +1400 and +1800 by Bet365 will jump out at most people, and the size of the potential returns might tempt some. The Steelers, who are infuriatingly erratic, also have the potential to be a good pick at +1400. If you want something veering in Hail Mary territory, the Seahawks at a massive +7000 have a nice finish to the season that promises to help the sneak into the postseason.
Best of all though might be the Baltimore Ravens. Now, at +9000 (Betfair) the Ravens might seem like a long, long shot, but there are two things to note about this team, one subjective and the other objective. First, they are definitely among the most underrated teams in NFL and with a little luck could have improved on their 6-5 record (at the time of writing). Secondly, you cannot argue with the fact the Ravens have by far the best defense in football, as the only team to have conceded less than 200 points. Defense doesn’t always win trophies but it helps. If you only believe in partial miracles, the Ravens are +3000 to win the AFC Championship and +400 to squeak past the Steelers to the AFC North Division.