NFL Playoff Scenarios: Do Current Betting Odds Favor Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

With so many NFL playoff scenarios at stake, we use the NFL Week 18 betting lines to determine the most likely 2024 NFL playoff picture.

We enter the final week of the 2023 NFL season with four division titles up for grabs and 11 teams fighting for playoff spots. Of the 16 games this weekend, 12 of them have playoff implications, including the winner of the Bills vs. Dolphins game on Sunday Night Football clinching an AFC East title. With so many different NFL playoff scenarios in play, let’s use the current betting odds and our NFL playoff predictor to sort through them.

NFL Playoff Scenarios Using Current Betting Odds

Even though we’re entering the final week of the 2023 NFL season, the NFL playoff picture is far from established.

Aside from the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers securing the top seeds in their respective conferences, the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns are the only other teams locked into their playoff positioning.

Although nine teams have locked up playoff berths, there are still five teams in the AFC fighting to get into the postseason and another six in the NFC.

Considering the many different NFL playoff scenarios at stake, let’s see who the oddsmakers believe will be getting into the postseason and winning the four division titles up for grabs based on the NFL Week 18 lines.

AFC Week 18 Playoff Picture

The NFL Week 18 slate kicks off with a Saturday doubleheader in which both games have playoff implications in the AFC. With the Ravens already locked in as the top-seed in the conference, the oddsmakers expect them to rest their starters, considering they have the Pittsburgh Steelers as 3.5-point road favorites.

A victory for the Steelers wouldn’t guarantee them a playoff spot however, as they would still need one of the following game outcomes as well — the Bills to lose, Jacksonville Jaguars to lose or tie, or the Colts to tie. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the Bills and Jaguars are both favored in their Week 18 matchups.

MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

The second Saturday game — between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts — has a major impact on the AFC playoff picture.

While they each have a shot to win the division, the more likely outcome is that the winner of this game secures one of the two remaining Wild Card spots, as the Jaguars, who are heavy favorites against the Tennessee Titans, just need to win to repeat as AFC South champions.

While it’s a very short point spread, the oddsmakers have the Texans as slight favorites over the Colts in their divisional matchup on Saturday night.

The finale of the Week 18 slate and the 2023 NFL regular season will determine the winner of the AFC East between the Bills and Dolphins. Given Miami’s injuries on defense and a Bills team that is on a four-game winning streak, Buffalo is currently a three-point favorite, and if they win this matchup, Buffalo will be the No. 2 seed in the AFC, while the Dolphins will fall to sixth.

If every favorite in the AFC wins this weekend, this is how the playoffs would be seeded:

  1. Baltimore Ravens
  2. Buffalo Bills
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars
  5. Cleveland Browns
  6. Miami Dolphins
  7. Houston Texans

NFC Week 18 Playoff Picture

Entering Week 18, there are two playoff spots remaining and two division titles up for grabs, although, according to the betting odds, we can almost write in who should win each of these divisions with permanent ink.

After the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Arizona Cardinals last week, the Dallas Cowboys now control their own destiny to winning the NFC East. As long as they beat the Washington Commanders, against whom the Cowboys are 13.5-point favorites, Dallas will lock up the division and the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Another division that has yet to crown a champion this season is the NFC South, and the only team out of the race is 2-14 Carolina. While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, and Atlanta Falcons are each still alive, it would be a big upset if Tampa Bay doesn’t win the division, considering they just need to beat the Panthers as 5.5-point favorites to secure an NFC South title and No. 4 seed in the NFC.

The Falcons, according to the betting odds, are huge long shots to win the division, as they would need to beat the Saints and have the Buccaneers lose to the Panthers — a parlay of this scenario pays out at +614 odds. Meanwhile, the Saints can take home their first NFC South title in a similar scenario, but this is also a long shot due to the low probability of Carolina pulling off an upset.

Unlike Atlanta however, the Saints are still alive in the Wild Card race, but New Orleans’ odds there are very low. Not only would they have to beat the Falcons, but both the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks would have to lose or tie as three-point favorites.

While the Eagles (in all likelihood) and the Los Angeles Rams will be the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds in the NFC playoffs, the Packers and Seahawks are fighting for the final Wild Card spot this weekend. According to the betting odds, the most likely scenario is that the Packers get in, as long as they don’t lose at home to the Chicago Bears.

According to the current betting odds, this is the most likely NFC playoff field:

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Dallas Cowboys
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  5. Philadelphia Eagles
  6. Green Bay Packers
  7. Los Angeles Rams

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