Jan 5, 2017
Jan 5, 2017

NFL Wild Card Weekend betting preview

The importance of defense

Calculating the strength of the 12 teams

NFL Wild Card Weekend betting preview
Seventeen weeks of bruising NFL regular season action has whittled the 32 teams down to just 12, six seeded sides from each of the two conferences and the wild card round that takes place over this coming weekend. Read on to find out what are the real chances of each team to win the Super Bowl 2017.

The seeding offers a huge material advantage to the top seed compared the lowest sixth seed. The former needs to win just two home games to reach the Super Bowl, compared to three road games in the case of the lowest seeded side.

So venue and seeding will account for seemingly attractive prices that may be available about some of the lower seeded post season sides.

The AFC conference has suffered the most towards the end of the regular season - high profile injuries and quarterback uncertainty.

Oakland not only fell into a wild card seeding, they also lost their starting quarterback to a season ending injury. Miami also ended the season with a backup under centre and Houston seem uncertain about their best option at this most influential of positions.

The importance of defense

Defense is traditionally thought of as the route to winning championships and seven of the 12 post season sides have allowed fewer points per game than their opponents have averaged on offense over the regular season.

The AFC conference has suffered the most towards the end of the regular season - high profile injuries and quarterback uncertainty.

New England has been the most difficult side to score against, allowing opponents who typically average 20.8 points per game to score just 15.6 ppg.

They are closely followed by the NY Giants and Seattle. While Atlanta, Green Bay and Miami have below average defences and have been the most generous to opposing teams.

For those who prefer to side with the offenses in today’s pass friendly league, Atlanta has accumulated over 31 points per game against defences that have allowed an average of 23.7 ppg. And there are honourable mentions for Green Bay, New England and Dallas.

Houston, the Giants, Seattle and Detroit have all fallen below par in the scoring stakes in reaching the post season.

Calculating the strength of the 12 teams

By combining the offensive and defensive strengths of all 12 post season teams, we can arrive at a figure that represents their superiority against an average opponent on a neutral field, expressed in points.

AFC Conference 


Points Superiority over an average
team at neutral venue

Odds to win the Super Bowl 2017*

New England (1)



Kansas City (2)



Pittsburgh (3)



Houston (4)



Oakland (5)



Miami (6)



NFC Conference 


Points Superiority over an average
team at neutral venue

Odds to win the Super Bowl 2017*

 Dallas (1)



 Atlanta (2)



Seattle (3)



 Green Bay (4)



 NY Giants (5)



 Detroit (6)



New England possess the best combined metrics from the regular season and will be favoured in every post season game they contest.

Atlanta’s prodigious scoring edges them just above Dallas, the NFC side with the best win/loss record. Although should the two meet in the post season, it is Dallas that would host the contest and become narrow game day favourites.

Three playoff teams could be considered below par compared to the league as a whole and Houston appear to be the weakest of the post season teams, despite winning their division.

After four months of competition, there is ample data with which to rate the remaining sides and prior to assessing the impact of injuries, particularly in the case of Oakland, the four wild card games can be priced up using the preceding table.

Wild Card Weekend: Calculating spread based on superiority points

Superiority points based spread

Pinnacle’s spread

Spread odds*

Oakland (-2) at Houston



Detroit at Seattle (-7)



Miami at Pittsburgh (-9.5)



NY Giants at Green Bay (-3.5)



Get into the action by betting at the best NFL odds online at Pinnacle.
*Odds subject to change

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Having graduated with a degree in Chemistry, Mark embarked on a career with a major UK brewery. However, his love for sports and numbers was always at the back of his mind. He has been writing about the statistical side of sports, mainly soccer and NFL, for over 20 years and has a particular interest in the randomness and uncertainty inherent in the numbers.
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