2021-22 NFL Playoffs Betting
The NFL expanded its playoff field from 12 to 14 teams last year as it added a third wild card team for both the AFC and NFC. Thus, the wild card weekend went from two to three games per day on both Saturday and Sunday. For the 2020 season, the extra teams were the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) in the AFC and the Chicago Bears (8-8) in the NFC. The Bears had no business in the Playoffs, but the Colts were a solid addition. The fact that the Miami Dolphins finished 10-6 in the AFC only to miss the playoffs is indicative of the relative strength of the two conferences. This year the format remains the same, as do most of the betting favorites. Yet new surprise teams emerge every year, and there are plenty of candidates to play that role in 2021.
Wild Card Round
With the wild card round expanded from four to six games starting in the 2020 season, the NFL is meeting a business demand. Wild Card weekend is one of the most popular sporting events on the annual sports calendar. TV ratings and betting handle are massive for the first weekend of NFL playoff games. As a result of such demand, and that NFL member clubs all want to say they made the postseason, the wild card round expanded. Large mobs of purists will say that the additional wild card teams dilute an already crowded field. The 2020 Chicago Bears were exposed as a fraud that had no business in the NFL Playoffs. But the 2020 Indianapolis Colts at 11-5 were quite worthy, as were the 10-6 Miami Dolphins, who were the first team out on the AFC side. Read more
For many football fans and gamblers, the NFL Divisional round is the best weekend of football, pro or college, of the entire year. The eight remaining teams in the NFL Playoffs meet in the divisional round, making for matchups of high-quality teams playing under intense pressure. The 2020 NFL Playoffs were a great example of the drama produced on the divisional weekend. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the New Orleans Saints 30-20, which sent them on to Super Bowl glory. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs held on for dear life needing a quarterback bootleg to escape the Cleveland Browns in a 22-17 win. Read more
Conference Championship Sunday is the NFL's Final Four and draws a massive television audience and betting handle that is second only to the Super Bowl. The winners of the AFC and NFC championship games move on to meet in the Super Bowl. For the past three years, the Kansas City Chiefs have played in the AFC championship game, winning the past two seasons. The Chiefs winning the AFC championship is apropos for many fans and gamblers due to the Lamar Hunt Trophy being awarded to the winner. Of course, it was Hunt that founded the American Football League and Chiefs franchise. The NFC championship trophy is named after George Halas, the National Football League and Chicago Bears franchise founder. Read more
Whatever is said about the Super Bowl, it's almost certain to be inadequate. Since its humble beginnings in January of 1967, the Super Bowl has evolved into the most valuable television property on earth. The Super Bowl draws the highest television viewership each year with the highest possible advertising rates attainable anywhere. Forgotten in all of that is the actual purpose of the event itself, which is to settle the National Football League championship.
As is almost always the case, the two participants from the previous Super Bowl are favored to return this season. The Kansas City Chiefs have made the last two Super Bowls, beating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV 31-20. Last year Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers steamrolled the Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV. Read more
With the new expanded format, only two teams escape the peril of wild card weekend. The top seed in the AFC and NFC must have the best conference record to get that wild card bye. Last year the Kansas City Chiefs (AFC) and the Green Bay Packers (NFC) were the bye teams.
In recent years the playoffs are much more of a crapshoot than in the past. For example, in 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs and took the hard way to the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay had to play all three NFC Playoff games on the road, and they responded with wins at the Washington Football Team (31-23), the New Orleans Saints (30-20), and the Green Bay Packers (31-26). The Bucs went on to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in a stunning Super Bowl upset.
The year before, the Tennessee Titans were the upstart team of the NFL Playoffs as the sixth and final seed in the AFC. Tennessee upset the number one seed Baltimore Ravens 28-12 in a shocker. The Titans rendered 2019 NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson helpless in their victory.
The Green Bay Packers are the all-time NFL Leader with 34 playoff appearances, followed by the Dallas Cowboys (33), New York Giants (32), Pittsburgh Steelers (32), Minnesota Vikings (3)), Cleveland Browns (29), and Indianapolis Colts (29).
The NFL Playoffs are the most valuable television property in all of sports. Networks demanded that the league expand the playoff field to supply extra-high-value programming content. It will surprise nobody if the NFL ends up with 16 playoff teams in the near future. Money drives everything, and the NFL makes more money than any other major professional sports league.
The Buccaneers are hardly the only wild card Super Bowl champion to stun a large favorite. In 2007 the New York Giants had to win playoff games at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys to earn a date on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, where they faced the favored Green Bay Packers. New York beat the Packers in overtime to advance to the Super Bowl against the undefeated New England Patriots. There, the Giants rallied for a late 17-14 comeback win that was the biggest Super Bowl upset since the New York Jets defeated Baltimore Colts 16-7 as 18-point dogs in Super Bowl III.
NFL Playoff games are far more than about wagering on the side-pointspread winner. Gamblers can now bet on halves, quarters, team props, individual props, and more. Live betting is now a regular staple of NFL Playoffs betting. Wagering handle for the NFL Playoffs dwarfs all other sports betting events.
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