The New England Patriots are the favorites to win the 2017 NFL Playoffs. The Patriots have the NFL’s best record at 14-2, along with a 7-game winning streak.
Most Las Vegas sportsbooks have the New England Patriots as a +190 moneyline favorite. Gamblers would need to wager $100 in order to win an additional $190. While that sounds like a good bet, the Patriots essentially would have to win a parlay of three games against top competition. Since Bill Belickick and Tom Brady have the most experience of any playoff team, their excellence this season combines with prior results to make them a prohibitive favorite.
Dallas Cowboys: NFC Favorites
The Dallas Cowboys have the second-lowest moneyline bet with +325 line. In many ways, this version of America’s Team is the opposite of the Patriots. Their team’s turnaround from 4-12 to 13-3 has been driven by two rookies, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Like any number one seed in the playoffs, the Cowboys have a lot of good players, including their elite offensive line and veterans Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, and Jason Witten. All of those elements were on the team which went 4-12 last year, so the presence of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are key.
The Cowboys led early in Week 17 when their starters were on the field against the Eagles, so the team likely would have been 14-2, had Coach Jason Garrett not pulled starters. Instead, the team allowed backup QB Tony Romo lead one touchdown drive, then turned the game over to third string quarterback, Mark Sanchez, who gave his usual turnover-plagued performance. With two rookies leading the effort in the playoffs, many expect the Dallas Cowboys are going to make critical errors sometime in the postseason, as their rookies finally feel the pressure of playoff-level football.
Seattle Seahawks: +1100
The 10-5-1 Seattle Seahawks, the 10-6 Green Bay Packers, and the 11-5 Atlanta Falcons are the Cowboys’ top rivals in the NFC, according to the Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Seahawks are the #3 seed, but have a +1100 moneyline figure. Seattle won the NFC two and three seasons ago, then fell to the eventual NFC-champion Carolina Panthers in the division round last year. The Seahawkws are at home against the Detroit Lions in the wild card week.
Green Bay Packers: +1100
The 10-6 Green Bay Packers host the 11-5 New York Giants next weekend. The Giants were a +2000 moneyline bet on Bovada this past week, but their line should come down after securing a playoff spot with a victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The winner of the Giants/Packers likely will play the Dallas Cowboys, assuming the Seahawks advance. Either team would present a tough challenge for the young Cowboys team.
Atlanta Falcons: +1100
The 11-5 Atlanta Falcons are the number two seed in the NFC, though they are not getting much respect from the bookmakers. The Falcons receive a bye and a Round 2 home game, so they are well-positioned at +1100 to make a Super Bowl run. Because the Falcons have disappointed in the playoffs during the Matt Ryan era, they are not considered a better bet than the Seahawks or Packers, who each have a much tougher road in the playoffs.
2017 AFC Playoff Picture
In the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers are considered the main competition for the New England Patriots. The Steelers are another of those veteran teams which one would expect to perform well in the playoffs. The Steelers went further in the playoffs last year than expected, despite being without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown in the late stages of the playoffs. Both are healthy in 2017, as they face the Miami Dolphins next week.
Two weeks ago, the Oakland Raiders would have been a top contender. The loss of Derek Carr to a broken leg ended their contention in many eyes. The Raiders lost in Week 17 to the Broncos, which meant the team fell to 12-4 and gave the AFC West Division title to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are a bit of a dark horse, despite having a first round bye and a second round home game. Alex Smith is a capable QB, but not considered to be on the same level as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Ben Roethlisberger.