clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2020 NFL strength of schedule for all 32 teams based on latest Vegas Super Bowl odds

New, comments

Instead of looking back at last year’s W/L record, we look forward to the 2021 Super Bowl odds to calculate each team’s 2020 Strength Of Schedule.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Pachinko Slot Machine Photo by Hitoshi Yamada/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Back in February, we looked at the 2020 strength of schedule here on Blogging The Boys, and found that the Cowboys have the third-easiest strength of schedule in 2020.

That would seemingly play to the Cowboys’ advantage this year, but as Dave Halprin pointed out in that article, strength of schedule (SOS) usually doesn’t mean much come the new season.

Of course, part of the reason for that easy schedule is the fact that the NFC East is such a terrible division right now. The Eagles won it at 9-7, and Washington and New York were horrible last year. That’s also similar to the reason the Ravens and Steelers have such easy schedules, the AFC North, outside of the Ravens, was not very good.

So you have the Cowboys playing 10 of their 16 games against the NFC East and the AFC North. That makes for the easy schedule.

As we’ve learned from the past, strength of schedule doesn’t always hold up as some teams that were bad in 2019 will suddenly become good, and teams that were good in 2019 will drop off.

Traditional strength of schedule (SOS) calculations add up the previous year’s record of a team’s upcoming 16 opponents to get a cumulative win percentage for all 16 opponents.

Another way to look at SOS is to use the Vegas odds for Super Bowl LII, scheduled for February 4, 2018, as a proxy for team strength.

Odds aren’t an exact science of course, but looking at odds at least has the advantage of looking at projected future performance, while W/L records are simply a snapshot of past performance.

To calculate the odds-based SOS, I used the post-draft Super Bowl odds from the William Hill sportsbook in Vegas and assigned each team points from 1 to 32 based on their Super Bowl odds.

The Chiefs (4/1) are currently favored to the win Super Bowl, so they received one point as the top-ranked team. The Ravens have the second-best odds (13/2), so they get two points, the 49ers (7/1) get three points and so on. The Jaguars, Bengals, and Redskins are tied for the worst odds (200/1) so they were each assigned 30 points.

I then calculated the average points for each team’s remaining schedule, with a higher number meaning a tougher schedule. A result of 13 points for example would mean a team’s 16 opponents average a rank of 13 on the Super Bowl odds ranking.

Using this odds-based method, the Falcons have the toughest SOS in 2020. Their 16 opponents show an average odds-based ranking of 13.1. The Jets and Giants have the second-toughest SOS by this method, with 13.2. The Redskins (14.7) and Eagles (14.8) follow at number seven and nine respectively, while the Cowboys are ranked with just the 22nd toughest schedule.

Here is what the SOS based on Super Bowl odds looks like for all 32 teams, and how that compares to the traditional SOS based on opponent win percentage. For your convenience, the table is sortable (just click on the blue column headers).

Odds-based 2020 Strength Of Schedule by team
Team Odds-based
SOS
Odds-based
Rank
Opp
Win%
Opp Win
Rank
Change
ATL 13.1 1 0.525 5 4
NYG 13.8 2 0.482 26 24
NYJ 13.8 2 0.533 2 0
DEN 13.9 4 0.512 12 8
LAR 14.1 5 0.516 10 5
OAK 14.5 6 0.496 21 15
WAS 14.7 7 0.465 28 21
CAR 14.7 7 0.500 18 11
PHI 14.8 9 0.486 25 16
SF 14.8 10 0.527 4 -6
ARI 15.1 11 0.518 8 -3
NO 15.3 12 0.490 24 12
NE 15.4 13 0.537 1 -12
MIA 15.6 14 0.529 3 -11
CIN 15.7 15 0.477 27 12
BUF 15.8 16 0.525 5 -11
SEA 15.9 17 0.508 13 -4
KC 16.1 18 0.500 18 0
MIN 16.3 19 0.516 10 -9
HOU 16.4 20 0.518 8 -12
TB 16.6 21 0.502 16 -5
DAL 16.7 22 0.459 30 8
LAC 16.9 23 0.492 23 0
JAC 17.1 24 0.494 22 -2
GB 17.1 25 0.504 15 -10
CLE 17.4 26 0.461 29 3
CHI 17.4 26 0.508 13 -13
DET 17.4 28 0.525 7 -21
BAL 17.5 29 0.438 32 3
PIT 17.5 30 0.457 31 1
TEN 18.1 31 0.498 20 -11
IND 19.6 32 0.502 16 -16

For the Cowboys, things get a bit tougher, but don’t change the picture drastically. They have the 30th toughest schedule by opponent win percentage and move up eight spots to 22nd toughest schedule by opponent Super Bowl odds. Still a manageable (and below average) schedule either way you look at it.

But the rest of the NFC East makes huge jumps: The Giants have the biggest jump of any team in the NFL, rocketing up 24 spots from 26th (Opp Win %) to second overall (Odds-based SOS), the Redskins have the second-biggest jump, up 21 spots from 28th to seventh, and the Eagles have the third-biggest jump, going from 25th to ninth.

For those three teams, this is an indication that their 2020 opponents could be a lot tougher than those opponents’ 2019 W/L records suggest.

The Lions are the big ‘winners’ in this exercise as they drop 21 spots from seventh (Opp Win %) to 28th overall (Odds-based SOS). The odds-based methodology suggests they could face one of the softest schedules of any team this year, and that their opponents will underperform versus their 2019 W/L records.


For your reference, here are the latest odds.

Team Opening Odds (1/20/20) Current Odds (4/28/20)
KC 7/1 4/1
BAL 7/1 13/2
SF 7/1 7/1
NO 10/1 11/1
DAL 20/1 12/1
TB 50/1 14/1
SEA 18/1 17/1
GB 15/1 18/1
PHI 15/1 18/1
NE 12/1 20/1
BUF 30/1 20/1
PIT 25/1 25/1
LAC 30/1 25/1
IND 40/1 25/1
LAR 25/1 28/1
MIN 25/1 28/1
LVR 30/1 30/1
TEN 25/1 35/1
CHI 30/1 40/1
CLE 40/1 40/1
DEN 50/1 50/1
HOU 25/1 60/1
ATL 30/1 60/1
NYG 60/1 60/1
ARI 75/1 60/1
NYJ 60/1 100/1
DET 60/1 100/1
MIA 100/1 100/1
CAR 60/1 125/1
JAC 60/1 200/1
WAS 100/1 200/1
CIN 125/1 200/1