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Vegas oddsmaker gives Patriots extremely high odds of making the playoffs

Actually, it might not be that ridiculous.

The New England Patriots have made the postseason in 14 of the past 16 seasons and Las Vegas oddsmaker Bovada believes that the Patriots will make the playoffs yet again.

In their latest playoff odds, the Patriots are given 1/30 odds of reaching the playoffs, which translates to a 96.8% chance of making the postseason. The only time the Patriots missed the playoffs since 2003 required a season-ending injury to QB Tom Brady (2008), so those extremely high odds are actually pretty reasonable.

The Patriots are one of ten teams to have a 50% chance or greater of reaching the postseason, per Bovada:

Patriots: 1/30, 96.8%
Seahawks: 1/6, 85.7%
Packers: 1/5, 83.3%
Steelers: 1/3, 75.0%
Cowboys: 1/2, 66.7%
Raiders: 1/2, 66.7%
Falcons: 2/3, 60.0%
Chiefs: 10/13, 56.5%
Panthers: 1/1, 50.0%
Titans: 1/1, 50.0%

These teams all make sense as six of those teams held the top three seeds in each conference in 2016 (Patriots, Chiefs, Steelers, Cowboys, Falcons, Seahawks) and two others made the postseason (Raiders, Packers). The other two teams are the Titans and Panthers.

We can actually look at Bovada’s odds from the same period last year to see if they accurately predicted the subsequent season. The teams Bovada gave a 50% or greater chance of reaching the playoffs last season were:

Patriots: 83.3%
Packers: 83.3%
Seahawks: 83.3%
Panthers: 81.8%
Steelers: 75.0%
Cardinals: 66.7%
Vikings: 66.7%
Bengals: 62.3%
Colts: 62.3%
Broncos: 60.0%
Chiefs: 60.0%
Cowboys: 58.3%
Texans: 57.4%

Of these teams, Bovada appears to have nailed the division winners, with seven of the eight division champions in 2016 represented (the Falcons the lone exception). Unfortunately, they correctly predicted zero of the wild card teams.

Four of the five teams with 75% or greater odds made the postseason (sorry, Carolina), which bodes well for the Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, and Steelers in 2017; it also doesn’t hurt that those are the only four teams in the league with 3+ consecutive trips to the postseason.

For the other teams listed, they have a chance to make a push in the postseason, but their slots in the playoffs are far from guaranteed.