NFL Futures: Cowboys, Eagles Among Best Playoff Bets Following Week 14
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott
- We ran 10,000 simulations of the 2019 NFL season to determine the most likely playoff and Super Bowl contenders.
- Using our projections, we have highlighted three playoff bets to place before Week 15 kicks off.
The Ravens, Chiefs and Saints have punched their tickets to the postseason. The Patriots, Bills and 49ers can join them with wins in Week 15.
The remaining playoff spots up for grabs will be claimed in the final three weeks of the season. So which teams will make or miss the postseason?
We ran 10,000 simulations of the 2019 NFL season using player and team statistics adjusted for strength of schedule to determine the most likely playoff teams. By comparing our model to the betting odds at FanDuel, we have found three make or miss playoff bets worth placing before Week 15 kicks off.
Odds as of Wednesday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Dallas Cowboys to make playoffs
- Current odds: -132, Implied probability: 56.9%
- Cowboys make playoffs 69.2% of the time
The Cowboys and Eagles are both 6-7 and engaged in a battle to win the weakest division in football. While each team has a chance to take the NFC East, Dak Prescott & Co. are the better side.
Dallas has outscored its opponents by 67 points this season. Philadelphia has a -4 point differential. The Cowboys rank 8th in Football Outsiders DVOA and second in offensive efficiency. The Eagles are 13th overall and all their units rank 14th or worse in DVOA.
Jason Garrett’s squad is in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. Dallas already owns a tiebreaker against Philly via its Week 7 win and can clinch the division in Week 16 with another win over the Eagles.
The Cowboys have lost three straight but our model gives them nearly a 70% chance of making the playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles to miss playoffs
- Current odds: -124, Implied probability: 55.4%
- Eagles miss playoffs 66.8% of the time
This is simple. If Dallas wins the division that means Philadelphia does not. The Eagles’ only hope of reaching the playoffs is finish on top of the NFC East but as we just discussed, our simulations aren’t high on their chances.
According to our projections, the Eagles odds to miss the playoffs should be closer to -200 instead of -124. There is good value betting that Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz don’t play past Week 17.
Houston Texans to miss playoffs
- Current odds: +360, Implied Probability: 21.7%
- Texans miss playoffs 26.8% of the time
Houston is a longshot to miss the playoffs. At 8-5, the Texans are in first place in the AFC South. Even if Deshaun Watson can’t carry them to the division crown there is a good chance they make the playoffs as a wild-card team (73.2% chance of reaching postseason).
Yet, last week’s loss to the Broncos highlights the team’s greatest weakness. Anytime your defense gives up 235 passing yards and three touchdowns to a quarterback in a half that is a problem. It is even worse when that quarterback is a rookie, like Drew Lock.
The Texans defense ranks 27th in DVOA and has allowed an average of 29.5 points per game in its past four outings. Houston finishes the season with two games against the surging Titans and a matchup with the Buccaneers who have won four of five.
The defense is an issue and there is little reason to believe Bill O’Brien can right the ship. With long odds, there is value taking a flyer on the Texans to miss the playoffs.