Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley
- The Los Angeles Rams are +250 to win the NFC after starting the season 3-0.
- The Action Network ran 10,000 simulations of the 2018 NFL season.
- By comparing our projections to available betting lines, three teams, including the Rams, are worthy of conference championship bets.
Super Bowl 53 will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia in February. To get there, teams will need to first win conference championships.
The Los Angeles Rams (+250) are the clear favorites in the NFC, while the New England Patriots (+325) are still top dogs in the AFC despite starting the season 1-2.
Will it be Rams-Patriots in the Super Bowl? Should bettors wager on LA and New England to win their conference championships? To find out, we compared our projections to current betting lines.
For example: As mentioned, the Patriots’ odds of winning the AFC are +325. For us to feel comfortable wagering on Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, they would need to win the AFC 23.5% (which is 100/(100 +325)) of the time.
According to our simulations, New England has a 16.5% chance of winning the AFC, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at +325 odds.
Based on the difference in implied probability and projected chance, five teams have value to win their respective conferences. The analysis below looks at the three best wagers bettors can place ahead of Week 4’s action.
Los Angeles Rams
- Current odds: +250, Implied Probability: 28.6%
- Rams win the NFC 44.7% of the time
The Rams are the best team in football. Sean McVay’s squad leads the NFL in point differential, is No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and is the most likely team to make the playoffs (98.5%), win its division (96.5%), conference (44.7%) and Super Bowl (28.5%), according to our model.
A bettor might prefer a team with longer odds, but considering the Rams should be closer to +125 and not +250, there is still considerable value.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Current odds: +350, Implied Probability: 22.2%
- Chiefs win the AFC 28.9% of the time
Andy Reid has created an offensive juggernaut. Patrick Mahomes & Co. have scored 15 touchdowns through three games, which ties them with the 1998 San Francisco 49ers and the 2013 Denver Broncos for the most touchdowns through the first three games of a season.
The Chiefs also join the 2007 Patriots as the only team since 1970 to score five or more touchdowns in each of their first three games. If you believe in the Chiefs, as our model does, this could be the last chance to buy the high-octane offense at a good price.
- Current odds: +2200, Implied Probability: 4.3%
- Titans win the AFC 9.3% of the time
Betting the Rams and Chiefs, that makes sense. You probably didn’t need to be sold on the best team in football and the most exciting offense since the Greatest Show on Turf. But the Titans are a different story.
While Tennessee isn’t a sexy pick, Mike Vrabel’s team has been impressive considering the obstacles it’s had to overcome. The Titans have won two games that Blaine Gabbert started, have played without their starting offensive tackles and lost their most consistent offensive weapon in Delanie Walker.
The Titans are 2-0 in the AFC South, have an impressive road win against the Jacksonville Jaguars and are worth a flier to win the AFC.
Here are the other teams with value based on differences in implied probability and projected chance:
- Philadelphia Eagles (+600)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (+650)