There's just something special about the NFL playoffs. Unlike the other North American pro sports leagues that opt for best-of-seven series to determine the winners of each postseason round, the NFL playoffs are a win or you're done venture.
This is a wonderful circumstance from a betting standpoint, since one-game, single-elimination showdowns can and frequently do end up with upsetting outcomes. Cinderella stories emerge almost every year in the NFL postseason. Being able to catch on to an underdog success story of a team defying the NFL playoff odds is a thrill ride that will enrich your bank account.
A dozen teams earn their way into the NFL playoffs. The four division winners from the AFC and NFC all qualify, as do two Wild Card teams in each conference. The two teams with the best record in each conference earn first-round byes, while the two lower division winners each square off with a Wild Card team in what's known as the Wild Card Round.
That's followed by the Divisional Round, in which the top two seeds in each conference face the survivors from the Wild Card Round. The winners of these games then meet in the Conference Championship games. And the final team standing in the AFC and NFC clash in the Super Bowl.
If you're looking for a way to maximize your investment opportunity at the sportsbooks for the 2019 postseason, you've come to the right place. You'll find everything from the latest odds to the best analysis, and there's even a betting breakdown provided of the types of wagers you can make on the NFL playoffs for those who may be new to sports betting.
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Best NFL Playoffs Betting Lines
In the NFL playoffs, teams are matched up based upon their regular-season records. In each week of postsason play, the teams are reseeded, with the top seed playing host to the lowest seed. This makes the road to the Super Bowl especially challenging for a Wild Card team.
A team that reaches the postseason via a Wild Card berth is more than likely going to be required to win on the road three weeks in a row. That's extremely challenging in NFL but it can be done. In 2011, the Green Bay Packers defied the NFL postseason odds and won Super Bowl 45 over the Pittsburgh Steelers as the No. 6 seed in the NFC.
Generally, the NFL is the league where home field proves more advantageous than in any other sport. Since the games are played in January and February, weather conditions can go to extremes and play a significant role in the outcome.
Warm-weather teams traveling to cold climates are going to be in tough taking their show on the road to the frozen tundra of Green Bay's Lambeau Field. Likewise, teams that normally play their games inside a climate-controlled domed stadium might not cotton to playing a postseason game in the frigid cold and mile-high altitude of Denver.
NFL Playoff Standings
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when playing the NFL playoffs Vegas odds. Look for the teams that are strong at home. If a team is a top seed and likely to be contesting their postseason games on their own field, this is a vital factor toward success. Keep track of the NFL standings.
On the other hand, if you're thinking of making a play on an underdog, be certain that they've proven to be a club that can win on the road, because odds are that's where they'll be spending most of the postseason. In 1980, the Oakland Raiders won three straight road playoff games en route to becoming the first NFL Wild Card team to win the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is always played at a neutral site, so home field doesn't enter the equation at that point. No NFL team has ever contested a Super Bowl in their own stadium.
Turnovers are a key component to playing successful football. As a rule of thumb, teams that win the turnover battle almost always win the game, so look to see which teams have the most positive turnover ratios. Likewise, heavily-penalized teams tend to shoot themselves in the foot at critical times, so backing a disciplined team that doesn't cause the field to be littered with yellow flags is always a wise course of action.
You can check all of the latest odds on this season's top NFL contenders in our NFL odds page.
NFL Playoff Betting Types
For those who are just starting out, here's a breakdown of all the different kinds of investments you can consider.
You just want to bet on your favorite team to win. If you don't want to worry about if they win by a field goal or touchdown, or if you don't want to concern yourself with what all those other betting numbers mean, then this wager is for you. What you must remember, however, is that favorites pay out less than underdogs on the moneyline.
Playoff Point Spread
This bet is often called the line or spread, and it remains one of the most popular investments with gamblers.
Oddsmakers try and set the point spread as a perfect balance where the same amount of money will be wagered on both teams. Most gamblers are not going to bet on a Wild Card team to win playing on the road against a divisional winner.
But they might if the divisional winner has to win by a touchdown or more. So, if the line is set at home team -7.5, that means the underdog wins the bet if they win the game outright or they lose by seven points or less. You get to decide which side of the bet you want to be on.
This bet relates to the total score of the game. A number is set by oddsmakers that predicts the total number of points to be scored by the two teams. If, for example, the line in the over/under is set at 47.5 and the game ends 30-20, the over bet (30 + 20 = 50) would win. For this wager, it does not matter which team wins the game.
A prop bet has almost nothing to do with the final score of the game. Will a quarterback throw for 300 yards? Will there be a safety in the game? How many rushing yards will your favorite running back have in the playoff game? These are all prop bets.
Sportsbooks usually bust these out in full force for the postseason, so feel free to check them out!
See below for the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you: