Despite not owning the best record in the conference, the New Orleans Saints are still the odds-on favorites to win the NFC Championship game after NFL week 11. They sit at 8-2, same as the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks but worse than the 9-1 San Francisco 49ers.

ESPN estimates the Saints’ chances of making the playoffs at a whopping 99.1 percent, best of any other NFC franchise. The other conference contenders are also almost shoo-ins: the 49ers have a 95.8 percent chance, the Packers a 95.5 percent and the Seahawks a relatively low 84.2 percent.

Drew Brees New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a touchdown during the NFC Divisional Playoff at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

However, the differences between these team’s chances are really reflected in the betting odds.

According to the FanDuel Sportsbook odds, the Saints are +270 favorites to win the NFC at the time of writing. The 49ers are second-favorites at +330 and the Packers are in third at +420. The Seahawks, despite beating San Francisco once already this season, are fairly distant fourth-place entrants at +750.

Although the Saints have been one of a few teams touted to win the NFC championship entering the season, the fact they are favorites may seem strange. After all, they don’t have the best record in the conference.

However, the 9-1 49ers have four very difficult games left on their schedule. First up they play the Packers followed by the Baltimore Ravens and finally the Saints in what may be a preview of the NFC Championship game. To make matters more difficult, their season ends with a match up against the Seahawks.

Each of these teams looks like they are heading towards the playoffs and although San Francisco will fancy their chances against all, it is somewhat unlikely they will take four wins from those four games.

Meanwhile, the Saints will face just two teams with winning records during the balance of the 2019 NFL regular season. One is, of course, the December 8th match against the 49ers and the next comes the week after in the form of the 6-4 Indianapolis Colts.

The Saints will face a pair of 5-5 teams in the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans. However, their remaining schedule is clearly easier than their rivals. It is thanks as much to this schedule as their own skill that the New Orleans Saints are odds-on favorites to win the NFC in 2019.