How Much An Advantage The Top Seed Provides In NFL Betting

There are many different elements that go in to determining how NFL playoff games turn out. One of the most intriguing elements to consider is the impact that the top seed has on the outcome of games. We took a look at the numbers and they indicate that the odds are stacked heavily against the Wild Card hopefuls. Here is a look at the advantage that having the top seed provides in terms of NFL playoff outcomes.

Home Advantage

The sudden death element of the NFL playoffs means that there is much more room for the possibility of an upset based on the fact that there is just one game. However, the NFL has counteracted the influence of the single game element by rewarding the top seeds with home field advantage and the bye week. The top seeds are rewarded with a first-round bye in the playoffs and then they get home field advantage for the next two games. Meanwhile, the wild card team has to win three straight road games in consecutive weeks in order to qualify for the Super Bowl. Under the current format, the generic chances of the top seed reaching the Super Bowl are at 33% while the generic chances of the sixth seed reaching the Super Bowl are at 8% assuming that both teams are equal in talent. The disparity grows even more based on the talent disparity between the two seeds and it is pretty obvious that woul add to the likelihood the top seed would win.

Statistics By Seeds

The numbers represent an even more accurate indication of the advantage that top seeds has as nearly 70% of the contestants in the Super Bowl have been either one or two seeds. Of the 16 Super Bowls played since 2000, 56% have been won by a team seeded either one or two in the conference. In this century alone, the number one and two seeds have won 61% of their playoff games excluding the Super Bowl while the Wild Card seeds have won only 37% of their games. Obviously the fact that the top seeds usually have the better teams impacts the percentages that we are talking about here but the bottom line is that the statistics support the idea that the top seeds have performed significantly better than the Wild Card seeds over the years in NFL Wild Card games.


The combination of talent, home field advantage and the bye week provided to the highest seed gives these teams a significant advantage once the playoffs begin. The numbers recorded over the years support the idea that the top seeds have a significant advantage in NFL playoff games and the disparity is the biggest when it comes to the higher seeds coming out on top in NFL Wild Card games. Understanding the playoff format and how it works is among the keys to making a substantial profit betting on NFL playoff games so make sure you pay attention to the numbers when betting on NFL Wild Card weekend.