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With the NFL season slowly but surely creeping up on sports bettors, now is a good time to hit the futures market. PointsBet gives sports bettors the option of placing a wager on whether or not a team will make or miss the playoffs. In the AFC for the most part we have a pretty good idea which teams will make the playoffs. The Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and Buffalo Bills would be widely considered as playoff locks.
When it comes to the other four teams that should qualify for the playoffs in the AFC, the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts would be the teams most would point to. All six of the teams listed have minus odds on PointsBet to make the playoffs. That would leave one playoff spot open in the AFC.
I think the Browns not making the playoffs at +200 is not a bad bet. Cleveland got fat on the NFC East last season. This year their schedule is much tougher. I'm also not so sure the Titans will be a playoff team in 2021. The AFC South is a much improved division. Tennessee to miss the postseason is only +125 on PointsBet. Below is a list of teams with plus odds worth betting on to make the playoffs in the AFC.
Miami Dolphins, To Make Playoffs (+115)
If we are judging AFC playoff teams by odds, the Miami Dolphins have the shortest odds to be the 7th and final seed in the AFC playoffs. I can definitely see why. It was just a couple of years ago that the Miami Dolphins were a 5-11 team. The Adam Gase era ruined the franchise. Last season the Dolphins were a 10-6 team. Head coach Brian Flores did a great job quickly changing the culture in Miami. Flores started the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, before replacing Fitzpatrick with rookie Tua Tagovailoa in Week 8 and the Dolphins continued to play well. Both quarterbacks went 5-3 as starters.
This season the job belongs to Tua. He will get a chance to show if he is the future in Miami. According to oddsmakers, Tua should lead the Dolphins to the playoffs. Miami has a regular season implied Win Total of 9.5. The Dolphins do not have an easy schedule this season, with their last three games of the year vs. the Saints, Titans and Patriots. I would pass on them.
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Los Angeles Chargers, To Make Playoffs (+125 )
There is a lot of optimism in Los Angeles for the Chargers this season. Reigning NFL rookie of the year Justin Herbert looks like a future star in this league. The Chargers only won 7 games last season, but they did finish the year 5-2 in their last 7 games including a 4-game winning streak to close the season. The Chargers have a loaded roster on both sides of the ball, and they will need to stay healthy which always seems to be an issue for them. If the health gods are on their side, they have the talent and the quarterback to make them a playoff team. They have a new head coach in Brandon Staley and Joe Lombardi is now in charge of Herbert and the offense.
The Chargers have an implied Win Total on PointsBet of 9.5, although juiced to the Under at -155. Los Angeles has a very manageable schedule this season. I would say that as the way the AFC West stands at the moment, they are the second-best team in the division with the second-best quarterback in the division. The Chargers will play the NFC East and AFC South this season. Out of the Chargers' 17 games this season they only have 6 games vs. teams that made the playoffs last season, one of those teams being the Chiefs. The Chargers are in a great spot to make the playoffs this season. At +125, it is a bet that I will be making.
New England Patriots, To Make Playoffs (+130)
For the first time in what seems like forever, the New England Patriots were not a playoff team last season. Life without Tom Brady was not pleasant for the Patriots. Cam Newton was a late offseason signing and he also missed time with Covid-19. The Patriots had both a 3-game losing streak and a 4-game losing streak on their way to a 7-9 season last year.
This season, the Patriots have an implied Win Total of 9.5 on PointsBet with the Under juiced to -135. If the Patriots were to name rookie Mac Jones as their starting quarterback from Week 1, I would place a wager on the Pats to make the playoffs. The Patriots' schedule is tougher than the Chargers but New England will control their playoff destiny this season. New England has games vs. the Chargers, Dolphins, Browns and Titans. If they can get wins in those games they will have head-to-head advantages over the teams they would likely be fighting for a playoff berth.