This is an odd year for the NFL playoffs with so many injuries and rookies that are going to be taking on huge roles. Before I tell you where to consider putting your money, let's head to Bovada for the odds on each playoff team to win Super Bowl LI:
When it comes to something like this, my advice is to look for the value unless you want to just go big with the favorite. New England has the clearest path to the Super Bowl with only Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense presumably standing in the Patriots’ way. I don't see New England’s defense having much of an issue with Alex Smith, Matt McGloin/Connor Cook, Brock Osweiler/Tom Savage and Matt Moore or Ryan Tannehill (should be able to return from a knee injury) and their respective offenses. I guess if you want to go away from the top seed, you could consider Pittsburgh or Kansas City. The Chiefs continue to fly under the radar somehow, but do you have faith in them winning at Gillette Stadium in January? You could say the same thing about the Steelers as Big Ben is just not the same quarterback in road games.
The NFC side has more value if you want to beat the favorite. Yes, Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott have been great, but can you trust Dallas’ defense to slow down Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or Matt Ryan? I’m not including Matthew Stafford and the Lions here, as they appear to have the toughest road to the Super Bowl. But among the other four quarterbacks you have Rodgers, arguably the hottest in the league right now, and Ryan, a legitimate MVP candidate in his own right. To me, the difference between these teams is defense, which is where the Seahawks separates themselves, although that side of the ball hasn’t been the same since losing All-Pro safety Earl Thomas.
Personally, I'm throwing a little bit on the Chiefs and the Seahawks as the long shots. I am not going too far away from the Patriots, the best team in football. If you can balance out the value between these three teams, you should be able to make some money. It's all about who you trust in January and February.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.