Value plays to make or miss NFL playoffs
It’s never too early to look ahead to the NFL playoffs. Underdog bettors should consider these five teams in the postseason prop market.
Will the Arizona Cardinals make the playoffs?
A Wild Card spot in the newly expanded NFL postseason seems ripe for the picking for Kyler Murray and company in 2020.
Arizona fleeced the Texans when it landed elite wideout DeAndre Hopkins for over-the-hill tailback David Johnson. That move upgraded a wide receiver corps that’s been carried for far too long by grizzled veteran Larry Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals also upgraded their defense by signing defensive Jordan Phillips (9 1/2 sacks for the Bills in 2019), linebacker Devon Kennard (seven sacks for the Lions last season), and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (129 tackles for the Falcons in 2019).
NFL free pick: Yes
Will the Denver Broncos make the playoffs?
There are plenty of reasons to be bullish on the Broncos in 2020.
General manager John Elway made several smart moves in the offseason, including his signing of former AFC West rival running back Melvin Gordon, to complement Phillip Lindsay in the backfield.
Elway also traded for former Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye to replace the departed Chris Harris and pulled off a coup to land five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey from the Titans for just a seventh-round draft choice.
Denver went 4-1 over its final five games last season, thanks to quarterback Drew Lock, who appears to have a bright future. The Broncos also have 10 picks to use in this year's NFL Draft, which begins Thursday.
NFL free pick: Yes (+150)
Will the Green Bay Packers make the playoffs?
It would not be shocking to see the Packers plummet in 2020, after they posted a 13-3 record a season ago.
Aaron Rodgers and company were lucky to be 13-3, based on Pythagorean Expectation in 2019, and defied their 9.7-6.3 projected record.
Green Bay’s 2020 offseason has received mixed reviews, and the crushing defeat the Packers suffered in the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers is still fresh in the mind.
NFL free pick: No (+130)
Will the Chicago Bears make the playoffs?
Chicago had an 8-8 record in 2019, despite mediocre production from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who regressed from his sophomore season in terms of completion percentage (66.6% to 63.2%), yards per game (230.2 to 209.2), and passer rating (95.4 to 83.0).
The Bears wisely brought in Nick Foles from Jacksonville to compete for the starting quarterback job in 2020.
Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith lead a solid group of stoppers who can keep Chicago in just about any game.
NFL free pick: Yes (+150)
Will the New England Patriots make the playoffs?
The Patriots let future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady walk away, and their apparent plant to replace him is the winner of a preseason battle between Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham.
Not only does their quarterback position look like a black hole, but New England lost two major contributors to 2019’s No. 1 overall defense — linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins.
The rest of the AFC East is catching up quickly.