NFL Playoff Odds

How NFL playoff betting works
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When it comes to sports betting, there is nothing more popular than the National Football League. Bettors in Illinois help keep that trend alive.

The NFL regular season is full of games that draw the majority of sports bets each week, and the sportsbooks handle more betting during NFL season than any other stretch of the year. Since there is one game a week for each team, bettors can research and focus their NFL betting strategies.

When the NFL playoffs roll around, the action heats up. Players, coaches and fans are all keyed in on the upcoming weeks and the road to the Super Bowl.

As the postseason advances, interest on the sports betting side increases as well until the arrival of the Super Bowl and the flood of wagers that comes with it. From typical bets like moneylines, point spreads and totals, to prop bets, in game betting and futures, the NFL postseason is a bustling time for legal sportsbooks.

We’ve assembled a short guide on how to bet on the NFL playoffs at legal and regulated Illinois sportsbooks. Read on.

NFL playoff lines at Illinois sportsbooks

See below for the latest live odds at Illinois online sportsbooks for the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl 56. Click on any odds to go directly to the online sportsbook, claim your bonus and initiate your bets! Use the drop-down menu to flip between odds boards.

Bet on the NFL online in Illinois

There are multiple bet types you can try when betting in Illinois, but when it comes to betting on NFL games, there are a few you’ll come across more frequently than others:

  • Moneyline Bets: You decide which of the two teams is going to win; it’s an easy bet for beginners.
  • Point Spreads: Oddsmakers will determine which team they think will win and by how many points. If you choose the favorite, it has to win by that many points or more. If you choose the underdog, it has to lose by fewer points or win outright.
  • Betting on Totals: This wager is also called over/unders. The oddsmakers set a line for how many total points two teams will score in a game. It doesn’t matter which team wins, only that you choose if the game will result in more or fewer points than predicted.
  • Parlays: This type of bet is two or more wagers on a single bet slip that you have to predict accurately to win the parlay. The reward versus risk is something to consider.
  • Prop Bets: This bet usually revolve around something that will happen from a specific team or player. Who scores first, what team leads at the half, does the QB throw more than two interceptions are examples of prop bets.
  • Teasers: You can shift the point spread more favorably in your direction with a teaser, but it also means your return won’t be as favorable.
  • Futures Betting: Wagers like this are on events that haven’t happened yet. For example, it could be the Super Bowl victor or the winner of the league MVP award.
  • Live Betting: Also known as in-game betting, a live bet is on something that happens after the game starts. These wagers are usually available on the sports betting app or online platform of your choosing.

Some things to consider before placing an NFL playoff bet

Before you set your money down on an NFL playoff wager in Illinois, make sure you do a little homework first. That general rule is the same for every sport and every season: You should always do your research before placing a sports bet.

For the NFL postseason, here are some things to keep in mind when researching your teams:

  • Bye Weeks: Be aware of the teams who have first-round byes in the playoffs. It means that while their future opponents are grinding it out on the gridiron, they’ll be able to get more rest. That means fewer nagging injuries, more time to recuperate and less wear and tear on the players.
  • Momentum: Has the team you are betting on been tearing it up heading into the postseason? Are they on a run to end the season, and do the players have their eyes on winning in the playoffs? Momentum is huge for a team, especially in the NFL.
  • Experience and Playmakers: A team who has a lot of experience in the playoffs, especially with success, is going to know how to prepare, how to focus and how to be ready on the opening kickoff. Look for teams who have had recent success in the postseason and have returned many key players.
  • Oddsmakers: These folks are in the business for a reason, and if they are picking a team as a heavy favorite, you should probably pay attention. Sportsbooks won’t have a lot of mistakes in their lines for the NFL playoffs, but if you do find an advantage for the underdog in your research and want to exploit it, look for the oddsmakers and sportsbooks that give you the best return on your investment.

NFL playoff odds and betting lines

Illinois sportsbooks do a good job of setting betting lines during the regular season, which means that when the playoffs roll around and they have even fewer games to focus on, they are usually on top of things.

Here are two things to consider when looking at betting the odds and lines for the NFL playoffs.

First and foremost is line movement, which happens after sportsbooks release their opening lines on any particular game. Once the betting begins, those NFL playoff betting lines may move based on the action those sportsbooks are seeing. If there are a lot of wagers in favor of one team, it is likely the sportsbook is going to adjust the lines to help balance out its potential payouts. After all, it’s a business, and it wants to keep as much money as possible. For you, line movement can help provide information on public sentiment and how other bettors are wagering.

That brings us to our second point of interest: Public betting. There are websites that will help you track betting percentages at many of the larger legal and regulated Illinois sportsbooks. If the majority of bettors are leaning in one direction, you will probably want to dig a little deeper to find out why. You should always be aware of public betting and why the lines are shifting, so keep that as part of your betting strategy.

NFL statistics for Illinois sports bettors

There are so many statistics when it comes to sports — and the NFL is definitely at the forefront. It can be hard to determine what stats are valuable and what aren’t when it comes to helping you wager.

What stats should you be watching? That choice is ultimately yours, and you will need to research to figure out what best fits into your betting strategy. However, we’ve included some statistical categories we think are an important part of your research process:

  • Points For and Points Against: These are technically two different categories to figure into your research, but they represent the same concept, which is how well does the team you are researching put points up on the board, and how well does it do at keeping its opponents out of the end zone?
  • Yards Per Play and Yards Per Play Against: Same idea here as above, because you want your team to be able to move the ball down the field, and you want its defense to be able to hinder its opponent’s progress. You get a peek into the capabilities of a team’s offensive and defensive units and how well they control a game.
  • Others: You’ll want to look at other statistics, of course, though we do feel the above-mentioned are key in determining a team’s ability. But don’t overlook categories like how well a team plays the passing and running game, how well it defends against those two things, how many sacks the team gets per game and how well it prevents or causes turnovers.

Other factors in NFL playoff betting

As we mentioned above, knowing a team’s tendencies is key, but you should also be keeping an eye on how rested the team is, any news and key injuries. You can track a lot of that information from sources across the internet, but make sure to make it a part of your regular research.

Another aspect of a game you should always keep track of is the weather report for the home team’s stadium. Teams that have to play in inclement weather don’t often fare as well as they do on a nice, sunny Sunday afternoon. Take Green Bay, for example. The Packers’ home field can feature frigid temps, unforgiving snow, ice and blustery winds, and is known as the “Frozen Tundra” to many across the NFL. Since the Packers don’t play in a dome, that weather plays an important factor in their home games — and the worse the weather, the more likely it plays into their favor.

Betting strategy for the NFL playoffs

While you should be trying to develop your own betting strategy, it doesn’t mean we can’t offer some suggestions on where to start.

During the NFL season and subsequent playoffs, you need to set a clear budget and not go over it. You can’t chase losses hoping to regain your money with wins. Losing is a part of betting, and no amount of chasing is going to take that away.

Additionally, you should have in mind what bet types you are comfortable pursuing. If you want straight bets, then go with moneyline wagers. If you are willing to do a bit more research, then bets like totals and point spreads will fit your needs.

The playoffs occur in four stages: wild card weekend, divisional round, conference championships and the Super Bowl. You can’t worry about what is going to happen after the wild card games are finished unless you’re making futures bets, so focus on that opening round, reassess once you know how well you did and then focus on the next round of games.

If you’re lucky enough to come out ahead, you can consider putting those winnings toward an increased budget for the following week. If you lost, or broke even, don’t increase your budget and stick with what you’re comfortable with for the divisional round.

If you want to try multiple wager types, then you should allocate your money accordingly. Put the most money toward the bets you are most comfortable with, and then use the rest for other bet types. Here’s a quick example:

  • Moneylines and Totals: 75% of your budget
  • Prop Bets: 10%
  • Point Spreads: 10%
  • Parlays: 5%

Create your own plan and stick to it; that is the best strategy any bettor can employ. Figure out what is working and keep at it, and figure out what is not working and ditch it. You can always adjust your strategy and budget, but don’t change it up for the sake of changing.

Should you pay for expert NFL playoff picks?

It’s tempting to sign up for a program that gives you “expert” picks and a breakdown of what bets you should be considering each week. But here’s the thing: Anyone can claim to be an expert, and almost always you can find the same exact information you’d be paying for by doing online research yourself.

It’s a personal choice, though. Maybe you don’t want to put in all the time to do your research and would rather get handily prepackaged information. Or you want to follow a particular pundit’s advice and insights. Or perhaps you don’t have enough time to do your research right. Then, of course, you do what you feel will work best.

However, if you’re the kind of bettor who wants to keep your fate in your own hands, then you should probably avoid paying for services and information you can obtain for free if you’re willing to put in the legwork.

If you decide to go with a paid service, make sure to verify it is quality, legit and willing to how well its picks do. Any service that is hiding verifiable stats is likely the wrong choice.

Super Bowl betting guide and tips

There is no larger gambling event in the world than the Super Bowl. This single game brings in a staggering amount of action for sportsbooks around the globe. In Illinois, you’ll be able to make all the same wagers for the Super Bowl that you’ve made throughout the regular season and the playoffs. You’ll just have a lot more people joining you in that endeavor.

Your research methods shouldn’t change for the big game. Instead, stick with what has worked for you and keep an eye on the line movements. Members of the public are definitely going to influence the lines with their betting; use it to your advantage to identify the odds that you find most favorable.

The Super Bowl is going to offer you plenty of props (like what color of energy drink is going to be dumped on the winning coach at the end of the game) and you’ll have more betting opportunities than likely any other time of year at legal and regulated Illinois sportsbooks.

Just like your regular season and NFL playoff betting, you need to set yourself a budget and stick to it. Of course, you should also be having fun, so don’t shy away from props and live betting as you watch the biggest sporting event in the United States.

NFL playoffs FAQ

Can I make a wager on who will win the Super Bowl before the playoffs begin?

Yes, it is called a futures bet, and it allows you to place a wager on whichever team you think is going to win the Super Bowl. The lines will change frequently as the regular season unfolds, so find a sportsbook with the odds you like and make your wager.

How do the NFL playoffs work?

Teams have to qualify for the playoffs by winning their division or getting enough victories to qualify as a wild card. Once the field is established, the top teams get a bye week while the other teams play for a chance to move deeper into the postseason. The NFL playoffs are single-elimination, which means one loss and a team is finished for the season.

Can I place a bet from outside of Illinois?

You can make NFL sports bets in any state that offers regulated sports gambling as long as you are within state lines, have an account with the sportsbook and are of legal betting age. However, if you are using Illinois sportsbooks, you have to be within state lines to make your wager, even if you’re using a mobile device. Geolocation technology keeps track of where you are, so if you aren’t in Illinois when you attempt to make your bet, you’ll be denied.

When are the NFL playoffs?

For the 2021-22 season, the first playoff games will be part of the wild card round and will begin Jan. 15-16. The divisional round games will be Jan. 22-23, with the conference championships being played Jan. 30. Super Bowl 56 will be played on Feb. 13 in Inglewood, CA.

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