Is it Profitable to Bet on NFL Teams that "Must Win?"

NFL Jan 07, 2023

Among this weekend's 16 NFL games, ten teams are in "must win" situations to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. The question is – are these good teams to bet on in the last regular season game?

As the NFL regular season comes to a close with Week 18 action, there are a few key storylines to keep an eye on during the final week of play.  One angle to watch is the performance of teams that are out of the playoff race going up against teams that are still in the postseason hunt.

Here's a look at the odds on Week 18 games, according to POINTSPREADS.CA:

Historically, teams that are eliminated from postseason contention tend to struggle down the stretch, often failing to cover the pointspread, as well.  This is particularly true when they are matched up against teams that have something to play for.

This trend is not limited to just one season or one team.  We must try to apply the angle to as many games as possible.  In fact, over the past decade, teams that are out of the playoff race have covered the spread at a rate of just 44.3 percent in the final games of the regular season, compared to a cover rate of 52.4 percent for teams that are still in the hunt.  The rest of the games were pushes.

So, what can we take away from this trend heading into the final week of the 2022-23 season?  It's important to consider the motivations and stakes of each team when making your bets, as teams that have nothing to play for may not be as motivated to perform at their best.

That being said, it's also worth noting that anything can happen on any given Saturday or Sunday (or Monday, or Thursday).  Upsets and unexpected outcomes are a part of the unpredictability of sports, and it's always important to do your research and consider all factors before making your bets.

Regardless of how the final week of the NFL regular season plays out, one thing is for sure: it's going to be an exciting finish to a thrilling season of football.