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NFL Feature: Second Half Analysis

NFL Second Half

As part of our breakdown of the NFL at the midseason point, it’s our goal to provide you with the tools you need to make informed predictions for the NFL’s second half. With eight weeks of NFL action in our rear view mirrors, it’s time to analyze the second half to try to determine where teams will end up when everything is said and done at the end of Week 17.

Can current division leaders keep their spot?

While the Patriots, Bengals and Broncos are clearly the best bets win their divisions, there’s still a lot up for grabs in the other five NFL divisions with two or less games separating the current leaders from second place. A strong first half obviously goes a long way towards determining who wins a division, as 67% of division leaders at the end of Week 8 since 2007 go on to win the division. Last year, however, was a different story, as only four of the eight division leaders at the end of Week 8 went on to win their division.

Another key factor in determining where your team finishes is strength of schedule. Some teams will get a bit of break in the second half, while others will have a long road ahead of them on their quest for a playoff berth.

Of particular teams that stand out, the Jacksonville Jaguars look like an interesting sleeper. They’re only one game behind for the AFC South division lead, and their remaining opponents combine for just a 37.7 win percentage. They’re currently at +750 to win the division at online sportsbook Bovada, which could be excellent value, especially if the Indianapolis Colts continue to underachieve.

The Minnesota Vikings’ remaining opponents, on the other hand, combine for a 62.6 win percentage, which will make their path to the playoffs an extremely difficult one.

Here’s a look at the current division standings along with the combined win percentage of each teams' remaining opponents and their odds to win the division. (Odds courtesy of Bovada, as of November 4.)

AFC East
TeamSU RecordRemaining Opponent Win %Odds to Win Division
Patriots7-047.7%-20000
Jets4-343.0%+2500
Bills3-449.2%+3300
Dolphins3-444.8%+3300
AFC North
TeamSU RecordRemaining Opponent Win %Odds to Win Division
Bengals7-047.0%-5000
Steelers4-450.0%+1200
Browns2-653.2%+10000
Ravens2-648.3%+15000
AFC West
TeamSU RecordRemaining Opponent Win %Odds to Win Division
Broncos7-050.0%-10000
Raiders4-347.0%+1000
Chiefs3-543.3%+4000
Chargers3-653.4%+10000
AFC South
TeamSU RecordRemaining Opponent Win %Odds to Win Division
Colts3-549.1%-300
Texans3-548.4%+350
Jaguars2-537.7%+750
Titans1-654.5%+5000
NFC East
TeamSU RecordRemaining Opponent Win %Odds to Win Division
Giants4-453.0%+150
Redskins3-452.3%+500
Eagles3-448.5%+140
Cowboys2-555.5%+700
NFC North
TeamSU RecordRemaining Opponent Win %Odds to Win Division
Packers6-150.0%-700
Vikings5-262.6%+350
Bears2-550.0%+15000
Lions3-453.4%+20000
NFC West
TeamSU RecordRemaining Opponent Win %Odds to Win Division
Cardinals6-259.3%-140
Rams4-347.0%+500
Seahawks4-450.0%+190
49ers2-652.4%+20000
NFC South
TeamSU RecordRemaining Opponent Win %Odds to Win Division
Panthers7-052.2%-210
Falcons6-255.9%+225
Saints4-444.0%+900
Buccaneers3-452.2%+5000

Best and Worst Second Half Teams

Let’s face it, some of us are late bloomers. While some like to get to the party early, they sometimes fizzle out before things really get going, while others like to show up fashionably late, waiting until later to show their true colors. No, I’m not talking about my rapidly fading weekend party habits, I’m talking about the NFL’s best second half performers.

Earlier in the week we took a look at the best and worst of the first half, but as the pressure heats up and the temperatures cool off, some teams can look radically different in the second half. A look above at each team’s strength of schedule is a good indication of their chances of finishing strong, but so is their history in the late season months.

It should come as no surprise that the New England Patriots are far and away the best second half team over the past five years. They’ve gone 35-7 (83.3%) after Week 8 during that period. Coming in at a distant second over the past five years is the Packers (69%) followed by the Steelers (67.4%).

The worst second half teams over the past five years is a who’s who of traditional playoff outcasts: The Browns (25.6%), Raiders (29.5%) and Redskins (31%).

Looking back to last season, the Seahawks and the Packers, two teams who are used to playing in the elements, were the top two second half teams, with each team losing just once. Keeping this in mind, the underwhelming Seahawks could be a team to watch as we enter the second half.

Here’s the best and worst from last season’s second half:

Best SU:
  • Seahawks (8-1) = 88.9%
  • Packers (7-1) = 87.5%
  • Steelers (6-2) = 75%
Worst SU:
  • Titans (0-8) = 0%
  • Buccaneers (1-8) = 11.1%
  • Redskins (1-7) = 12.5%
Best ATS:
  • Seahawks (7-2) = 77.8%
  • Vikings (6-2) = 75%
  • Cardinals (6-3) = 66.7%
Worst ATS:
  • Titans (1-7) = 12.5%
  • 49ers (2-7) = 22.2%
  • Chargers (2-6) = 25%
Most OVER:
  • Raiders (7-2) = 77.8% over
  • Eagles (6-2-1) = 66.7% over
  • Giants (6-3) = 66.7% over
Most UNDER:
  • Browns (1-8) = 88.9 % under
  • Buccaneers (1-8) = 88.9% under
  • Bills (1-7) = 87.5% under

So, if you've stuck around to consume all of this information as we head into the second half, who do you think are the best bets to make a playoff run? Stay up to date with our latest conference and Super Bowl futures updates, or head over to Bovada to wager on everything from divisional futures to weekly prop bets. Enjoy the second half!

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