NFL betting: Defending champs are underdogs to make the playoffs

Week 9 of the NFL season is upon us. At the conclusion of the upcoming weekend, we'll be halfway through the season. While there's still a lot of football left, these upcoming games are far from meaningless. Teams need to make sure to stay afloat so they have a fighting chance down the stretch. As we approach the midway point of the season, what do oddsmakers think of each team's chances to make the playoffs this season?

NFC

Here are the current odds for each team to make the playoffs in the NFC:

The locks

The good bets

On the bubble

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-165 to make playoffs, 62.3% chance): The Buccaneers are off to a 3-5 start, but oddsmakers still have them as -135 favorites to win the putrid NFC South. Tom Brady can't possibly lose one of the worst divisions we've seen in recent memory, right?

  • Seattle Seahawks (+120 to make playoffs, 45.5% chance): At 5-3, the Seahawks lead their division. While oddsmakers don't expect them to stay there, their record doesn't seem particularly fluky so even if they don't win their division, they'll be in the mix for a wild-card spot.

  • Los Angeles Rams (+135 to make playoffs, 42.6% chance): The Rams are just 3-4 to open the season, and if you've been watching them, that record is pretty representative of how they've looked. Outside of Cooper Kupp, there's not much going on offensively. Can they get right and avoid the embarrassment of going from champions to out of the playoffs?

  • Atlanta Falcons (+140 to make playoffs, 41.7% chance): Imagine a world where Tom Brady and the Buccaneers continue to falter. In that scenario, the Falcons appear most likely to win the NFC South.

  • Green Bay Packers (+180 to make playoffs, 35.7% chance): The Packers are 3-5 and the division no longer seems like a legitimate option for them. They'll need to get right in a hurry if they want to compete for a wild-card spot.

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams talks with Matthew Stafford #9 during warm-ups against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford and the Rams are underdogs to make the NFL playoffs. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Long shots

  • New Orleans Saints (+310 to make playoffs, 24.4% chance): If they were in any other division, these odds would probably be a lot longer. However, at 3-5, the Saints are just one game back of the Falcons for the division lead in the NFC South.

  • Washington Commanders (+400 to make playoffs, 20.0% chance): Back-to-back wins from Taylor Heinicke have put the Commanders back in the picture. Chase Young is expected back soon. Can they continue to push up the standings?

  • Arizona Cardinals (+550 to make playoffs, 15.4% chance): The offense has looked a bit better since DeAndre Hopkins returned, but there are so many mistakes at key times with this team. Case in point: Greg Dortch muffing a punt when Arizona was getting the ball back with a chance to take the lead last weekend.

Miracle needed

  • Chicago Bears (+1500 to make playoffs, 6.3% chance): Justin Fields looks better in recent weeks and now he has Chase Claypool as a weapon. However, they're just 3-5 and have a tough remaining schedule.

  • Detroit Lions (+1600 to make playoffs, 5.9% chance): At 1-6, it appears all of the preseason offseason hype for the Lions was a tad premature. If the season ended today, they'd have the first overall pick.

  • Carolina Panthers (+3000 to make playoffs, 3.2% chance): If Eddy Pineiro hit one of his two late kicks, the Carolina Panthers would be atop the NFC South right now. Instead, they're 2-6.

AFC

Let's take a look at the league's other conference:

The locks

Good bets

  • Baltimore Ravens (-700 to make playoffs, 87.5% chance): The Ravens are -350 favorites to win the AFC North. They have the easiest remaining schedule in football as none of their remaining opponents are currently over .500.

  • Tennessee Titans (-300 to make playoffs, 75% chance): The Titans are quietly 5-2 and look like they'll win their division with ease as Indianapolis transitions to Sam Ehlinger.

  • Miami Dolphins (-275 to make playoffs, 73.3% chance): Miami is undefeated in games that have been started and finished by Tua Tagovailoa.

On the bubble

  • Los Angeles Chargers (-165 to make playoffs, 62.3% chance): Justin Herbert certainly hasn't looked like Herbert in recent weeks. Is the rib still bothering him? Add injuries to Joey Bosa, Rashawn Slater, Mike Williams and J.C. Jackson, and it's hard to be overly confident in this team.

  • Cincinnati Bengals (-120 to make playoffs, 54.6% chance): The Bengals looked to be ascending into one of the league's top teams, but this injury to Ja'Marr Chase is a big deal for them. They looked dreadful against Cleveland on Monday.

  • New England Patriots (+165 to make playoffs, 37.7% chance): It looked like the Patriots were ascending until they lost to the Chicago Bears. They got back on track last week with a win over the Jets. They're impossible to figure out on a week-to-week basis, but they're going to hang around.

Long shots

  • New York Jets (+250 to make playoffs, 28.6% chance): The Jets are 5-3, but the injury to Breece Hall is a killer. The Jets will ask Zach Wilson to do more as a result, which at this point is not a recipe for success.

  • Indianapolis Colts (+325 to make playoffs, 23.5% chance): The Colts are trying to find some magic with Sam Ehlinger. He can't be much worse than Matt Ryan was, but it seems desperate.

  • Cleveland Browns (+350 to make playoffs, 22.2% chance): With a 3-5 record and road games at Miami and Buffalo coming up, the "stay afloat until Deshaun Watson returns" dream might officially go down the drain.

  • Las Vegas Raiders (+450 to make playoffs, 18.2% chance): Hiring Josh McDaniels and acquiring Davante Adams has somehow caused Derek Carr to regress significantly. Maybe McDaniels isn't built for the head coaching thing.

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (+500 to make playoffs, 16.7% chance): The Jaguars are in almost every game they play, but too many brain farts from Trevor Lawrence has been the difference in turning some potential wins into losses.

  • Denver Broncos (+600 to make playoffs, 14.3% chance): The Broncos are 3-5 and still have two games against the Chiefs remaining, as well as meetings with the Ravens, Chargers, Titans and Rams. Broncos country, let's ride to the golf course.

Miracle needed

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (+2500 to make playoffs, 3.9% chance): The Steelers are 2-6 and their rookie quarterback has a 2-8 TD-INT ratio. I hope the Steel City is ready for a long offseason debating whether or not to draft a new quarterback with their upcoming top five pick.

  • Houston Texans (+4000 to make playoffs, 2.4% chance): The Texans have the worst record in the AFC.