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Super Bowl & NFL Playoff Simulation 2023

Posted: Jan 23, 2023Last updated: Jan 23, 2023

The Super Bowl is only three weeks away. With four teams (KC, CIN, PHI, and SF) remaining in the race for the Lombardi Trophy, the NFL playoff picture is getting clearer.

The Eagles are favored against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, while the Bengals-Chiefs matchup is a pick’em due to Patrick Mahomes‘ high ankle sprain.

With my model giving the Chiefs a better than breakeven chance against the Bengals, I am bullish on the Chiefs and bearish on the Bengals.

To figure out my best Super Bowl bets, I simulated the remaining playoff games 25,000 times. Below, check out which team I like to win the Super Bowl and more.

Super Bowl 2023 Simulation

TeamSuper Bowl Win%Breakeven Odds
KC32.9%204
PHI25.6%291
SF21%377
CIN20.5%387

To simulate the NFL playoffs on the back of NFL odds, I gave each team a power rating. Rather than starting from scratch, I took publicly available power ratings and averaged them out. Then, I adjusted them manually to reflect my personal opinions.

With these power ratings, I can subtract one team’s number from the other and add two points for home-field advantage. From that, I can create a spread and then convert that to a win probability.


Find the top NFL futures to bet on during the season and playoffs.


Once I put that information together, I simulated the NFL playoffs 25,000 times in Microsoft Excel to determine what percentage of the time certain bets win. If a bet pays off more than the breakeven odds that I have calculated, my model recommends a bet on it.

Super Bowl Simulation Results

My Super Bowl 57 simulation has the Chiefs as the favorites, while the Super Bowl odds view all four teams as near equals. The oddsmakers view the Bengals favorably after dominant victory against the Bills, but my own numbers believe that the Chiefs should win this weekend.

In the NFC, I started off the postseason bullish on the Eagles, but now that the world has witnessed what they did to the Giants, most of their value in the betting market has flown away.

The Super Bowl calculus hinges on the winner of the Bengals-Chiefs game. If the Chiefs win with a healthy Mahomes, Kansas City will be favored in the Super Bowl. If the Bengals win or if the Chiefs win and Mahomes doesn’t look good, it is hard to predict which team will be favored.

AFC Championship Simulation

The biggest reason why my numbers don’t line up with the betting odds is because I differ sharply from oddsmakers on the AFC Championship Game. I make the Chiefs four-point home favorites, while sportsbooks have listed Kansas City as a one-point favorite or even less in some spots.

As long as Mahomes plays on Sunday, the Chiefs should win. But if Chad Henne is forced into action once again, then the Bengals would likely emerge victorious. On Monday, all indications from Kansas City coach Andy Reid pointed towards Mahomes playing and the high ankle sprain being less serious than initially feared.

As we continue to get closer to kickoff, it will be important to watch the Chiefs’ injury reports, as Mahomes’ health is the biggest variable affecting the Super Bowl picture right now.

TeamAFC Championship Win %AFC Championship Breakeven Odds
KC60.2%-151
CIN39.8%151

NFC Championship Simulation

For the NFC, I went into the postseason viewing the Eagles as the best bet and the 49ers as the worst bet. Now, both teams are priced appropriately.

Brock Purdy has been decent as the 49ers quarterback in playoff wins against the Cowboys and Seahawks, which is why I make the Eagles only 2.5-point favorites this weekend.

With oddsmakers currently offering the same line, it should be no surprise that I am indifferent on the Eagles and 49ers in the futures market.

TeamNFC Championship Win %NFC Championship Breakeven Odds
PHI55.5%-125
SF44.5%125

Super Bowl Exactas

Quietly, some of the best NFL futures right now are in the Super Bowl exacta market.

While I like the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl outright, I see even more value on betting them to beat the 49ers or Eagles in exactas. To a lesser extent, the Eagles are worth keeping an eye on as well.

The only exactas I would stay away from involve either the Bengals winning the Super Bowl, or finishing as the Super Bowl runner-up.

Super Bowl ExactaExacta %Exacta Breakeven Odds
KC def. PHI19.40%416
KC def. SF17.80%460
PHI def. KC16.30%513
SF def. KC12.20%720
PHI def. CIN9.40%965
CIN def. PHI9.10%1002
CIN def. SF8.30%1108
SF def. CIN7.50%1229

Best NFL Playoff Futures Bets

1. Chiefs

After Super Bowl 56, the Chiefs and Bills were made co-favorites at BetMGM Sportsbook to win the following year. Once Tom Brady unretired, the Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Bills were the consensus Super Bowl favorites for the 2022 season.

Then the season started, and the Chiefs and Bills met expectations and were either co-favorites or close to co-favorites based on their play. Picking the Super Bowl winner comes down to deciding to ignore both teams or picking one of them.

With the Bills eliminated from the playoffs, the Chiefs are the best team remaining, assuming Mahomes is healthy.

Currently, I am making the assumption that Mahomes will be close to 100% against the Bengals after he finished last week’s game against the Jaguars. If my assumption is wrong, then the Chiefs will have an uphill battle at home against the Bengals this weekend.

In potential Super Bowl matchups, I make the Chiefs 3-point favorites against the 49ers and 2.5-point favorites against the Eagles.

NFL Futures Bet: Chiefs Win Super Bowl (+270) at Caesars Sportsbook

Wager: 2 Units

2. Eagles

I have been high on the Eagles for most of the playoffs, but now the betting market has caught up. However, there is still some value on Philadelphia in the Super Bowl exacta markets, which is why I am picking them to beat the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

One reason to give the Eagles a look is because of quarterback Jalen Hurts. According to the NFL ELO betting model, he is worth 4.4 more points to the spread than the average NFL starter. Only Mahomes is worth more.

Hurts also has the third-best EPA among NFL quarterbacks and the second-best QBR.

If the Eagles beat the 49ers as narrow favorites in the NFC Championship Game, they are worth a look in the Super Bowl.

NFL Futures Bet: Eagles defeat Chiefs in Super Bowl (+575) at Caesars Sportsbook

Wager: 1 Unit

Worst NFL Playoff Futures Bet

1. Bengals

The reason why my numbers make the Bengals the worst possible NFL futures bet is because I think Mahomes plays to near his full capacity and the Chiefs win.

If the Bengals beat the Chiefs this weekend, then it will be worth paying attention to what they open at against the 49ers or Eagles.

Author

Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is a Betting Analyst at The Game Day residing in Hoboken, NJ. Previously a Bronx resident, Kevin got his start betting on sports at his local Bronx barbershop. When sports betting was legalized across the river in Jersey, Kevin was there on the ground floor making regular trips to the Hoboken PATH station or for soup dumplings in Fort Lee. Previously, Kevin has written for The Action Network, and Vegas Insider.

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