NFL Wild Card
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NFL Teams Eliminated from 2023 Playoffs
Eliminated from 2023 Playoffs
- Record: 3-13-1
- Record: 5-12
- Record: 4-12-1
Las Vegas Raiders
- Record: 6-11
- Record: 7-10
- Record: 7-10
New York Jets
- Record: 7-10
New England Patriots
- Record: 8-9
- Record: 9-8
What Is the NFL Wild Card?
There are always teams that get to qualify to the NFL playoffs even though they did not win their division; each one of these teams is referred to as an NFL Wild Card. These wild cards qualify for the playoffs based on their win-loss records. In other words, these are the three best teams that did not get to be division winners.
Hence, a wild card team, as of the2022 NFL season,is not seeded higher than a division winner, even if their record is better. Wild card teams will play the three other winners in their division, and only the No. 1 seed in each conference will get a bye during the “wild card playoffs.”
Thesewild card matchupscan produce plenty of upsets, which is why NFL playoffs spreadsin this regard are typically popular on online sports betting lines; thus, the NFL Wild Card odds will open on the sportsbook to kickstart the NFL Playoffs.
The Wild Card scheme was first instituted in 1978 as part of the NFL’s realignment to four divisions per conference (eight in total.) It created a 12 NFL team playoff field, which consisted of the four division winners plus two wild card teams per conference. In 2020, the NFL expanded to a 14-team field thus adding an extra wild card team per conference.
The wild card teams are seeded five to seven using their regular season win-loss record as a basis. The wild card team with the best record is always seeded as the No. 5 seed, which is the highest seed for a non-division winner as of 2022. This means the conference’s second-most-winningest team will only be a No. 5 seed, since they finished second in their division.
The wild card round will serve as the first round of the NFL playoffs. There are six games programmed, and every wild card team will play on the road, since they are all lower seeds. As of 2022, the matchups take place in the following manner:
- No. 2 seed takes on the No. 7 seed (wild card team)
- No. 3 seed takes on the No. 6 seed (wild card team)
- No. 4 seed takes on the No. 5 seed (wild card team)
In theory, home teams have an advantage here, which puts the wild card teams at odds. It is, however, very common for wild card point spreads to favor the visitor (wild card team) since they sometimes have a better record than the home team.
There are three wild card spots in each NFL conference, for a total of six teams. For example, the NFL Wild Card 2022 Standings have Baltimore, the Los Angeles Chargers, and Miami as the three AFC wild card teams. The NFC, on the other hand, has Dallas, the New York Giants, and Washington as the wild card teams.
Wild card teams are initially picked based on their standings. In the event, however, that two or more teams have the same record, there are extensive tiebreakers to break this tie.
But prior to the tiebreaker resorts, the NFL needs to first determine between two categories (as outlined on the website) before applying them:
- If the tied teams are from the same division, they need to apply the division tiebreaker.
- If the tied teams are from different divisions, the tiebreaker steps to follow are the ones listed on NFL.com.
These include stats, such as head-to-head records, and best win-loss percentage in games played within the division.
A coin toss constitutes the last resort to break the tie between teams.
Wild Card Odds & Best Betting Markets Tips
The NFL Wild Card Odds mainly concern the games played on that same weekend.
These include the moneyline, totals, and NFL playoffs point spreads, although props are also one fast-expanding market for betting. Regarding props, much like most NFL playoff games, wild card games will be filled with props that go from exact score predictions up to player props.
For example, the Green Bay Packers’ 2022 Week 17 odds to not make the playoffs are listed at -215. They are 7-8 and way below their preseason projections. The Packers opened the 2022 season at -450 to make the playoffs.
On a more positive note, the Giants’ current (Week 17) odds to make the playoffs sit at -900. They opened the 2022 season as +195 underdogs to qualify. Hence, the Giants will be a wild card team, and, if the Packers make it, they will be one too.
In more specific settings, folks can also bet on teams to qualify specifically for the wild card spot. These NFL betting markets can pay more lucratively than simply betting on a team to make the playoffs.
Last Year Recap - NFL Wild Card Odds
The NFL Wild Card Odds from the 2022 season brought quite a few surprises. Several teams opened the 2022 NFL season as underdogs to make the playoffs, including the Jacksonville Jaguars (+425) and the New York Giants (+195.) The former even won the division thanks to a late-season rally (and a late-season collapse by the Tennessee Titans,) while the latter made it as a wild card team
|New York Giants||+195|
The New York Jets (+700) also surprised with a strong push in the middle of the season, but the team ultimately lost one too many key games down the stretch to finish just short of a wild card berth. Two other longshots, the Seattle Seahawks (+550) and the Detroit Lions (+350,) were so close-yet-so-far in terms of the final NFC wild card spot as well.
Background History of the Wild Card
The NFL is the first league to implement the wild card format. The term “wild card” itself was used by the media, and the NFL adopted it.
Initially, the NFL only had one wild card team to round out the three division winners, but after the league’s expansion and realignment to four divisions, they added an extra wild card team to create an even, six-team NFL playoff bracket per conference.
Regardless of a wild card team’s win-loss record, they will typically not host playoff games. The only time a wild card team could potentially host one is by playing another wild card team, but this would require both teams to beat division winners and progress to the divisional round, as of 2022.
In spite of all this, plenty of wild card teams have won on the road and caused upsets to the NFL Wild Card Odds. A perfect example of this: the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2021 playoffs.) The team was the No. 5 seed but still went on to win three straight road games before playing in -and winning- the Super Bowl on home soil (it was actually a coincidence that they ended up hosting it.)
Changes in the Present-Day Wild Card System
The newest change the NFL implemented to the wild card system is the addition of a third wild card team per conference. This was added in 2020, with the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears becoming the first No. 7 seeds in the NFL playoffs.
The addition of two more teams also created two additional games, thus giving the NFL two three-game days.
NFL Teams With the Most Playoff Appearances
The addition of another wild card slot can further add or extend the playoff consistency of some NFL franchises. And for some, it’s a chance to make the playoffs after a period of drought.
As of the 2022 season, the NFL teams with the most playoff appearances include the Green Bay Packers (35,) the Dallas Cowboys (34,) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (33.) On the flip side, teams like the Houston Texans (6,) Jacksonville Jaguars (7,) and Carolina Panthers (8) have struggled to consistently qualify for the playoffs.
Of the most successful teams, the Packers (2010) and Steelers (2005) have won Super Bowls while being wild card teams. These teams, plus five others, are the only seven to win a Super Bowl as a wild card team. Hence, expect NFL wild card odds to feature more underdogs as winning multiple road games in the playoffs.