Let's start off with how Jon Gruden finished his broadcast call after the Bengals game against the Broncos, "what a way to lose a game." That loss to Denver hurt the Bengals' chances at getting a playoff bye and crushed fans at the same time. The good thing is, the Bengals still have a decent chance at getting the buy and the Steelers only have about a 41% chance to even make the playoffs now. I've used the win probabilities from fivethirtyeight.com to help me break this all down. I know some think their numbers are "off" based on last weeks comments, but they are the only quasi credible site I know of.
The scenarios in which the Bengals get the bye are as follows. The first thing that MUST happen is the Broncos have to lose on Sunday to the Chargers; I've always loved Philip Rivers, haven't you? If that happens, as long as the Bengals or the Chiefs win, the Bengals will receive the bye. If the Bengals lose and the Chiefs win along with a Broncos loss, it becomes a two way tie for the bye between the Bengals and Chiefs, and the Bengals have that tiebreaker. The good thing is, the Bengals play early and the Broncos play late so the Bengals can put some pressure on the Broncos with an early win.
|Denver Probability of a Loss||Bengals Probability of a Win||Chiefs Probability of a Win||Calculation||Bengals or Chiefs Win||Chance of the Bengals Bye|
|16%||77%||85%||Denver loss (16%) * Bengals win or KC Win (96%) =Chance of bye||(.77) x (.85) - (.77 x .85) = 96%||15.36%|
The Arizona Cardinals look like the best team in the NFL right now and the Super Bowl odds now reflect that. Lets all just think back to the last team that even challenged them at home...ah that feels good. The Bengals, when fully healthy, can beat anyone. Right now, the Steelers have better odds to win the Super Bowl and the same odds to win the AFC as the Bengals, yet they only have about a 40 percent chance at even making the playoffs. You might be like Jay Morrison and wonder how can that possibly be?
Also interesting that the #Bengals have the same 17/2 odds of winning the AFC as a Steelers team that may not even make playoffs.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) December 30, 2015
With the injury to Andy Dalton and the uncertainty of when or if he will return, the Bengals are considered weakened, but already in the playoffs. In the Steelers' case, they are starting to get healthy, have an explosive offense, along with the national following/perception that get bettors to the window putting money on them. I think its a fool's bet because I don't think their defense is strong enough to go all the way, even if they do get in. They Bengals saw a small increase in their odds to win the Super Bowl despite their Week 16 loss. There is a two fold reasoning from the oddsmakers. They are now officially the AFC North champions and are guaranteed a home game, and they played tough against a good team on the road with their backup quarterback. This leads the oddsmarkers to believe that if they can get far enough along to get Andy Dalton back, they could be a real force in the postseason. The oddsmakers always want a team like New England to win the Super Bowl, a team that has never really had great payout odds during the whole season. They don't want teams like Cincinnati, Carolina, or Kansas City to win it all because they would have to pay out some 30/1 or more tickets, which cuts into their profit.
Let me know if there are any odds you want me to discuss in next week's article in the comments and I will happily add them. Happy New Year to everyone.