NFL Playoff Bets: Seahawks, Colts and Chargers Headline Favorite Playoff Bets for 2021 NFL Season
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Herbert (left) and Keenan Allen.
Which NFL teams will make the playoffs in 2021? You may be surprised by who our experts believe will have a postseason run this season.
There’s Russell Wilson and the Seahawks who offer stability above all else, and then there’s the Colts looking to make some noise with new quarterback Carson Wentz. The Chargers are ready for a big year after the coronation of NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert last season — but maybe not big enough to overcome the mighty Chiefs.
Before we get into the bets, here’s a breakdown of some of your top questions as we look toward the playoffs and Super Bowl LVI. (Click here to skip to our favorite bets.)
When do NFL Playoffs Begin?
Date: January 15, 2022
The NFL’s new 17-game schedule pushed the playoffs back so the Wild-Card Round will begin after the regular season wraps up on Jan. 9.
How to Watch Super Bowl LVI?
TV channel: NBC
Where is Super Bowl LVI?
Stadium: SoFi Stadium
Location: Los Angeles, California
SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers’ new home as of September 2020, will play host to the 2022 Super Bowl. It is located near Los Angeles in Inglewood.
When is Super Bowl LVI?
Date: February 13, 2022
How to Bet NFL Playoffs?
Chris Raybon: The Seahawks are in a tough division, but they’ve made the playoffs in eight of Russell Wilson’s nine seasons, or 88.9% of the time. History says they’ll find a way, and the implied odds greatly underestimate their chances. I’d bet this one to -150.
Raheem Palmer: I’m not very excited about this year’s version of the Colts.
Although many people hold the sentiment that Carson Wentz will revitalize his career after returning to the tutelage of head coach Frank Reich, I’m not seeing it. Wentz was sidelined for most of the preseason with a foot injury and then landed on the COVID-19 list as a close contact with someone who tested positive. In addition to his unvaccinated status, expecting the 2017 version of him to return appears to be a pipe dream.
Since joining the NFL in 2016, Wentz leads the league in fumbles with 58 and he’s coming off a season in which he threw 15 interceptions to just 16 touchdowns. Making matters worse, the offensive line has taken hit after hit this offseason: Anthony Castonzo retired, they’re without starting left tackle Eric Fisher who is fresh off an Achilles injury and may not play until October, and they’re dealing with an injury to left guard Quenton Nelson.
A turnover machine in Wentz behind a banged up O-line doesn’t bode well for this unit. In many ways the defense also over performed last season, creating the second-most EPA. Overall, I don’t see this squad as a playoff team and with them starting 2021 against the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens, their playoff hopes could be over in the first month of the season.
Look for the Colts to be one of last year’s playoff teams to miss the postseason this year.
Brandon Anderson: The Chargers scream positive regression in 2021. The amount of low-hanging fruit on this team is unreal. Let’s count the easy ways this team can improve massively from last season.
First, there’s the offensive line. Corey Linsley is maybe the most important line addition in the league — centers have a multiplying effect on the rest of the line and on a young quarterback. Rashawn Slater steps in as a ready-made rookie starter, and Brian Bulaga is back healthy. Last year, the Browns were the league’s most-improved line, and that propelled them to the playoffs. The Chargers could see a similar level of line improvement.
And then there is the coaching. Anthony Lynn was a disastrous game manager and constantly cost the Chargers opportunities and close games. We don’t know yet if Brandon Staley will be a great coach, but even competence would be a huge step forward. Staley was brilliant with the Rams defense last year, and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi did wonders with the Saints for years. He could help open up the offense even further.
And of course, there’s special teams. According to Football Outsiders, the Chargers ranked dead last in special teams each of the past two seasons — and they were historically bad last year. New special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II should help drastically. And again, even regression to average would make a massive difference.
Improved special teams could be worth a win or two. The same is true of coaching, and again with the O-line. We haven’t even mentioned brilliant sophomore QB and reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert, who could be the next superstar.
I like the Chargers to make the playoffs, but it’ll be tough to win the division. The Chiefs are so tough, and Denver might have the league’s best defense.
The AFC is soft this year, so 9-8 or 10-7 could do the trick. I’ll play the Chargers +230 to grab a wild-card spot.