- The Bills are a strong bet to miss the postseason (+200) with scattershot Josh Allen behind center
- Joe Burrow and a flurry of free-agent signings could lead the Bengals to a surprising playoff berth (+800)
- The Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders all improved in the offseason, but each franchise has questionable QB situations
As mentioned in our NFC Playoff Odds article, football’s new postseason format means that seven of the AFC teams below will make the playoffs this year.
While oddsmakers see the Super Bowl champion Chiefs (-1500) and Ravens (-1000) as locks to be playing in January, the rest of the spots are up for grabs.
Before the NFL Draft, let’s review the AFC playoff odds to see if we can find any values on who will and won’t get in.
2020 AFC PLAYOFF ODDS
|Team||Make Playoffs||Miss Playoffs|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-1500||+1000|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+175||-210|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+175||-210|
|New England Patriots||-230||+190|
|New York Jets||+380||-475|
NO TO BUFFALO (+200 TO MISS)
Smelling blood in the water after the departure of Tom Brady, the Bills decided their time to win the division is now, trading a bunch of premium draft picks to bring in Stefon Diggs.
But as mentioned in our AFC Divisional Odds breakdown, giving one of the league’s preeminent route runners to Josh Allen is like handing a garbage truck driver the keys to a Ferrari.
Four things that @stefondiggs is looking forward to in Buffalo (in no particular order): working with @JoshAllenQB, taking the @BuffaloBills offense to the next level, #BillsMafia and the wings.https://t.co/KkoLXrWIM2
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) April 10, 2020
While the Bills have transformed into one of the NFL’s best run organizations under GM Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott, it’s important to remember that, despite their 10-6 record, they only beat one playoff team last year.
With Buffalo set to face the league’s fifth-toughest slate with out-of-division games against both the AFC and NFC West, a +200 miss-the-playoffs bet is tastier than a plate of chicken wings.
BET THE BENGALS (+800 TO MAKE)
Given the franchise’s sad history and the fact that coach Zac Taylor went 1-15 in his first year (while making Marvin Lewis look like Vince Lombardi in comparison), it is highly improbable that Cincinnati makes the postseason.
They also share a division with the powerhouse Ravens, and Steelers and Browns clubs that should be much-improved in 2020.
— Jordan Bobitz (@JBobitz) April 15, 2020
Still, there are some silver-linings to justify a +800 wager. Obviously, Joe Burrow will help. The presumptive No. 1 overall pick will have some nice weapons in Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd and a finally healthy A.J. Green.
There’s also the fact that the Bengals went 0-8 in one-score games last year and — perhaps for the first time ever — actually spent money this offseason, adding mammoth nose tackle DJ Reader and four new defensive backs in free agency.
AFC WEST: WAIT AND SEE
Chances are one of the Broncos (+165), Chargers (+175) and Raiders (+175) will secure a playoff berth while the other two flame out hard.
Each AFC West squad has had a productive offseason. Denver improved their offensive line (Graham Glasgow), defensive line (Jurrell Casey) and secondary (A.J. Bouye) with a series of savvy signings and trades, but the premature anointment of Drew Lock as QB savior could doom John Elway’s club this fall.
“The Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphin, they should be champing at the bit to get a guy who is proven, and can nurture a young guy. Cam Newton’s been a league MVP, he knows how to win. He just needs the right coach and system around him.” — @GregJennings pic.twitter.com/ise5UJR7FP
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) March 25, 2020
The Chargers also added talent at corner (Chris Harris Jr.) and in the trenches (DT Linval Joseph and OT Bryan Bulaga). But like the Broncos, have a gaping Cam Newton-sized hole at quarterback that neither Justin Herbert or an injured Tua Tagovailoa would fill nearly as successfully as the 2015 NFL MVP.
Finally, the Raiders added much-needed speed at linebacker in free agency, grabbing Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkowski. The free-agent signing of Marcus Mariota, however, was far less inspired.
Our best advice is to wait to see how the NFL Draft shakes out before riding with one of these QB-needy clubs.