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Niners, Packers Favored For NFC Playoffs

The 49ers and Packers are expected to advance to the NFC playoffs this season.

The 49ers and Packers are expected to advance to the NFC playoffs this season.

The San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers are the favorites to make the postseason in the National Football Conference, according to leading online bookmaker Bovada.

The two teams, both division champions in 2012, have been assigned -350 odds of making the playoffs, the shortest odds in the NFC. Odds of each team missing out on the postseason stand at +275.

Playoff_chances_NFCHaving been top of the NFL Futures list since losing Super Bowl XXXLII in February, it’s no surprise that San Francisco is a favorite to advance to extra-curricular play this season. The fact that the Niners are only joint favorites will come as a surprise to some.

Having finished last season with an 11-5 record and a Divisional Round loss to San Francisco, the Green Bay Packers have been relatively quiet this offseason. Bar the ongoing conversation about retiring Brett Favre’s No. 4 jersey, there’s been little to report from Lambeau this offseason. Granted, the Packers feature in the top five on the NFL Futures, but the team is gliding under the radar somewhat.

Looking at the latest playoff odds, it appears the team may not be gliding all that far beneath the radar.

The Packers hold an advantage over the 49ers going forward, which is perhaps why the Bay Area team is not alone at the top of the list. The Packers are expected to make it through the NFC North relatively unscathed, while San Francisco could be in for a spot of competition from a division rival.

The Seattle Seahawks (-275) are also expected to make the postseason, although bookmakers suspect it will be via a Wild Card berth. The race for the NFC West title this season is one that many people practically salivating. Here’s hoping the two clubs don’t fall off the pace this season.

The Atlanta Falcons (-200) are favorites to win the NFC South and advance to the playoffs. For a team that went 13-3 and advanced to the NFC Championship Game, those odds may seem a little stingy. But things will not be as straightforward for the Dirty Birds this season for one simple reason: the Saints are coming.

After the fallout of Bountygate resulted in a tumultuous season lacking in leadership, the New Orleans Saints (-175) look set to bounce back this season. Drew Brees and Co. will once again have Sean Payton at the helm, and we’ve seen the sort of damage Payton and Brees can do together. The Saints are only narrowly behind the Falcons in terms of odds to make the playoffs, but that will swing if New Orleans gets the better of a pair of head-to-head matchups beginning in Week 1.

According to Bovada’s odds, the New York Giants (-115) are the favorites to take the NFC’s remaining playoff berth. However, nobody is sure which way the Giants’ season will go, which is illustrated by the fact that the team is -115 to both make the playoffs and miss the playoffs. The Giants be looking to advance as NFC East champions. To do so they’ll need to fend off the Washington Redskins (+140) and Dallas Cowboys (+150) who are not all that far behind in the rankings.

If we translate these odds into a postseason scenario, we can expect San Francisco and Green Bay to receive first-round byes while the Wild Card round would feature the Giants against Seahawks and Falcons against Giants. It’ll be interesting to see how accurate this is come the end of the season.

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Playoff_chances_AFCIn the AFC, the Denver Broncos (-1000) are runaway favorites to make the playoffs in January. The Broncos – who are currently joint favorites with the 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVIII – find themselves ahead of the New England Patriots (-600) in Bovada’s list of playoff odds. The Houston Texans (-450) are in third place.

Outside of the top three, things are a little murkier. The Pittsburgh Steelers (-150) are the only other team expected to make the playoffs, while the AFC North tandem of the Baltimore Ravens (EVEN) and Cincinnati Bengals (EVEN) beat out the remaining AFC sides, although the bookmaker has yet to commit to the two sides.

For more NFC and AFC team prop bets, click here.

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