Just over two months ago now, we brought you news that the NFL season was about to start and given that the regular season is just 16 games, plus one bye week long, we are already reaching the mid-way point of the season for most teams.
Of course, with almost 8 games played for most teams, we now have a much better idea of which teams are likely to be contesting the playoffs.
Maybe we also have a better idea of which of the NFL’s elite teams are likely to be in with a chance of winning Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona on 1st February 2015.
Let’s take a quick look at how each division is panning out.
In the third section of this article, we’ll give you our top choices for betting with Bet365. If you aren’t yet a customer of one of the UK’s premier sports betting sites, give it a try and you’ll qualify for free Bet365 Sports bets.
In the NFC East, the surprise package Dallas Cowboys (6-1), whose only defeat this season came in the opening weekend to San Francisco. During that game, it looked as if the Cowboys were in for a dismal season but they’ve looked much improved since then recording six wins on the bounce. Their main rivals will be the Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) who lost narrowly to Arizona at the weekend but who still have to place Dallas twice in the space of three weeks. The outcome of those two games will likely decide who wins the NFC East with Washington and the Giants very much the also-rans in this division.
The NFC North seems to be between the Detroit Lions (6-2) and Green Bay Packers (5-3). The Lions have won their last three to move ahead in the rankings, which is especially impressive given the amount of key offensive players they have out injured. This division could go to the final game when Detroit visit Green Bay on December 28th, the winner of that may win the divisional crown.
No team seems to want to win the NFC south with all sides having losing records and the Carolina Panthers (3-4-1) only ahead of the New Orleans Saints (3-4) thanks to an unusual tied game. It seems unlikely the Falcons or the Buccaneers will make much of an impact on this division which does look to be one of the weakest in the NFL at present. The Saints ability to score points however may make them the slight favourites for the division here.
Lastly in the NFC, the NFC West sees a surprise as the Arizona Cardinals (6-1), host of Super Bowl XLIX lead the division with current Super Bowl champions Seattle and San Francisco both 4-3 on the season. Both the Seahawks and 49ers however will hope to improve while Arizona have some tough fixtures ahead including two games against Seattle, plus games against Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City and San Francisco. The Cardinals may hold a two-game lead, but that may not yet be enough to win the division, or it might just be.
NFC divisional winners picks – NFC East – Dallas Cowboys (8/15), NFC South – New Orleans (8/15), NFC North – Detroit Lions (11/10), NFC West – Arizona Cardinals (13/10)
In the AFC East, once again the New England Patriots (6-2) lead the way but both the Buffalo Bills (5-3) and Miami Dolphins (4-3) boast winning records. You’d be hard pushed to bet against Bill Belichick’s Patriots however given their huge scoring potential and they look a solid choice to win this division, as they seem to do every year.
The AFC North however is arguably the toughest division in the NFL with all teams boasting a winning record. The Bengals lead the way only because they have played one game less than their rivals and have a 4-2-1 record, ahead of the Steelers and Ravens 5-3 records and the Browns 4-3. This division is wide open and literally any of the four teams could claim the title.
The Indianapolis Colts look likely to win another AFC South title. Andrew Luck’s men are 5-3 ahead of the Houston Texans on 4-4, but with two of the NFL’s weakest teams in the league (Titans and Jaguars) in this division, the Colts should emerge as easy victors in the South and be well set to make a decent run in the playoffs.
In the AFC West, the Denver Broncos lead the way (6-1), but they are being chased hard by the San Diego Chargers (5-3) and the Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) also cannot be ruled out. After last years heavy loss in the Super Bowl however, there’s a steely determination in the Bronco’s play this season and it is hard to back against Peyton Manning leading his team to yet another divisional title.
AFC divisional winners picks – AFC East – New England Patriots (1/10), AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers (11/4), AFC West – Denver Broncos (1/20), AFC South – Indianapolis Colts (1/8)
Which teams are the best bets for Super Bowl XLIX champions?
Given that we have selected eight of the 12 teams who will progress to the play offs, before we can decide our Super Bowl winners, we’d need to consider who will earn a Wild Card berth. In the NFC I think the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks are likely to earn a playoff spot, while in the AFC, I can see the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals also earning a place in the play offs.
To earn a place in the Super Bowl, you first have to be crowned your conference Champions. I strongly fancy the Denver Broncos (10/11) to repeat their AFC success of last year this time around but the NFC title looks far more open. With the Super Bowl being held in their own stadium, I really fancy the Arizona Cardinals (13/2) to cause something of a shock and reach the final once again.
So if Denver and Arizona will contest Super Bowl XLIX, who will win? Well the Broncos are the 11/5 favourites with Bet365 right now while Arizona are a 15/1 outsider shot, but don’t forget Arizona would have home advantage. As such, I think a win bet on the Bronco’s plus an each way wager on the Cardinals offers great long-term value for punters.