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Final 2016 NFL Division Odds

I never quite know what to post on the first Sunday of the season, so here are the final NFL 2016 Division Odds (as of prior to the Thursday night game). In each case, I’ll be showing the odds for each team to win its division as of May 23rd and as of September 8th, along with their vig-adjusted percentage based on those odds. Let’s start with one of three divisions with a clear favorite, and one of just two divisions with only one team having at least a 15% chance of winning the crown.

AFC East

Team5/23 Odds9/8 Odds5/23 Perc9/8 Perc
New England Patriots     5/115/1261.5%64.6%
Buffalo Bills            21/46/114.3%13.1%
New York Jets            21/413/214.3%12.2%
Miami Dolphins           8/18/19.9%10.2%

The Patriots raw odds actually went up over the last few months, even with the Tom Brady suspension becoming official. But because the Jets and Bills have seen their percentage drop, New England’s odds of winning another AFC East crown have increased. Buffalo’s had a rough offseason due to injuries, but it’s a little harder to explain why the Jets odds have gone down. New York has a very difficult schedule, which may play a part in that.

AFC North

Team5/23 Odds9/8 Odds5/23 Perc9/8 Perc
Pittsburgh Steelers      5/46/539.6%41.8%
Cincinnati Bengals       7/42/132.4%30.7%
Baltimore Ravens         11/47/223.8%20.4%
Cleveland Browns         20/112/14.2%7.1%

These odds have been pretty static, but a (very) small Cleveland hype train has emerged. Vegas sees the top 3 teams as very strong, but does have a clear 1-2-3 order, too.

AFC South

The AFC South is the first of three divisions with no team at even 40% to capture the title.

Team5/23 Odds9/8 Odds5/23 Perc9/8 Perc
Indianapolis Colts       5/43/240.7%36%
Houston Texans           2/12/130.6%30%
Jacksonville Jaguars     7/211/420.4%24%
Tennessee Titans         10/18/18.3%10%

The oddsmakers have this division even closer now than they did a few months ago, with Jacksonville and Tennessee both seeing their odds rise. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between this division and our next division.

AFC West

Denver’s odds went down slightly as the quarterback position became even more unsettled, but otherwise, this looks like another division that will be tough to predict:

Team5/23 Odds9/8 Odds5/23 Perc9/8 Perc
Kansas City Chiefs       9/59/532.1%32.2%
Denver Broncos           9/521/1032.1%29.1%
Oakland Raiders          11/45/223.9%25.8%
San Diego Chargers       13/26/112%12.9%

Oakland and Jacksonville, with strong offseasons to further augment positive rebuilding efforts, along with potential franchise quarterbacks from the 2014 Draft, are easy to link together. And, for what it’s worth, Vegas gives both teams about a 1-in-4 chance of winning their respective divisions.

NFC East

The Tony Romo injury and the Sam Bradford trade transformed this division. Washington’s odds of repeating as division champs jumped by a whopping 8% since May, and the team has the best odds of any “third-place team” in the eight divisions:

Team5/23 Odds9/8 Odds5/23 Perc9/8 Perc
New York Giants          9/47/428.2%33.2%
Dallas Cowboys           7/412/533.3%26.9%
Washington Redskins      15/412/519.3%26.9%
Philadelphia Eagles      15/46/119.3%13%

As Neil Paine at 538 wrote: “The NFC East probably won’t be pretty in 2016, but it could once again be the most competitive division in the NFL.”

NFC North

The Teddy Bridgewater injury played a big role here, too, vaulting the Packers from slight favorites to clear favorites. That, plus lackluster summers in Chicago and Detroit, have Green Bay with the biggest jump in division odds of any team since May (10%).

Team5/23 Odds9/8 Odds5/23 Perc9/8 Perc
Green Bay Packers        2/32/554.2%63.9%
Minnesota Vikings        9/43/127.8%22.4%
Chicago Bears            9/112/19%6.9%
Detroit Lions            9/112/19%6.9%

Unlike most of the divisions we’ve seen so far, the third- (and fourth-) place team(s) here have very low odds. That’s also the case in our final two divisions.

NFC South

The NFC South is about as top-heavy as the AFC East: the Panthers clearly reign supreme, with the other three teams all down at 12%.

Team5/23 Odds9/8 Odds5/23 Perc9/8 Perc
Carolina Panthers        1/25/1259.9%63.8%
Atlanta Falcons          21/413/214.4%12.1%
New Orleans Saints       6/113/212.8%12.1%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers     6/113/212.8%12.1%

Who do you like to finish #2? I’ll go with Tampa Bay. Despite the Falcons, Bucs, and Saints all having the same (bad) odds of winning the division, that doesn’t mean Vegas views them evenly: Atlanta is 28/1 to win the NFC, New Orleans is 40/1, and Tampa Bay is down at 50/1. That seems odd to me, especially because I see the Bucs as the team with the highest upside here given how young they were on both sides of the ball.

NFC West

The only team with two teams that have at least a 35% chance of winning the division is the NFC West:

Team5/23 Odds9/8 Odds5/23 Perc9/8 Perc
Seattle Seahawks         10/115/647.4%49.6%
Arizona Cardinals        7/57/537.7%37.9%
Los Angeles Rams         15/210/110.6%8.3%
San Francisco 49ers      20/120/14.3%4.3%

And, in an interesting quirk, the 49ers are the only team in the NFL with a less than 5% chance of winning its own division. San Francisco and Cleveland are both 66/1 to win their conferences and 150/1 to win the Super Bowl, but I guess two dominant teams makes the 49ers life harder than three really strong ones.

What do you think?