2017 NFL Odds & Favorites to Win Their AFC Division
The NFL went to four divisions in each conference in 2002 with the addition of Houston as the league’s 32nd team, shifting Seattle from the AFC West to the NFC West. And just one time since then have all four AFC division winners repeat the next year. So the question is, could it happen in 2017? In the meantime, lets start gearing up for September and take a closer look at the teams and their latest NFL odds to win their respective AFC divisions.
2017 NFL Odds & Favorites to Win Their AFC Division
Four AFC contenders that are flying under the radar. pic.twitter.com/krWvsMeCUQ
— NFL (@NFL) June 7, 2017
New England Patriots (-700)
First of all, New England is the biggest division favorites on the board to win the AFC East, and why shouldn’t they be? They have won the division every season since 2003 other than ’08 when Tom Brady was lost to a season-ending knee injury. While the Bills, Jets and Dolphins have been changing head coaches and quarterbacks since then, the Patriots have been a constant with Brady and Bill Belichick. Shoot, the AFC East has had only two other playoff teams since 2010. One was Miami last year.
What’s scary is this year’s Pats team might be better than last with several big offseason additions. They signed free-agent Stephon Gilmore away from Buffalo, traded for Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen and Kony Ealy and snagged running backs Mike Gillislee from Buffalo and Rex Burkhead from Cincinnati. They rejected all attempts by other teams to trade for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, held onto disgruntled cornerback Malcolm Butler and kept offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. It’s almost not fair. With that in mind, taking into consideration that New England could might get another AFC Championship, with the NFL odds currently at +220 to win, it’s hard not to bet on them. The Pats will repeat.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-140)
The Steelers won the AFC North last year with an 11-5 record, three better than second-place Baltimore. Only one other division – the NFC West – featured just one team with a winning record. Pittsburgh is largely back intact and has perhaps the best offensive threesome in the NFL in QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antoni Brown. Bell is angling for new contract and is skipping minicamp, but there’s no way he holds out into the season. The running back also did not show for OTAs, although he did meet with team doctors regarding his recovery from groin surgery. The two sides have until July 15 to work something out contract wise.
Are the Ravens a Threat for Pittsburgh?
Baltimore seems likely to be Pittsburgh’s top competition after adding WR Jeremy Maclin. The addition of Maclin gives Joe Flacco the best available wide receiver on the free-agent market and significantly improves a Baltimore passing attack that lost two of its top three targets. Maclin has averaged 68 catches, 900-plus receiving yards and six touchdowns in his seven-year NFL career. In my opinion, I don’t see the Steelers failing to win their division, especially due to their NFL odds. For this season, Pittsburgh repeats.
Houston Texans & Indianapolis Colts (-160)
Yep, these teams are tied in the NFL odds to win the AFC South, which Houston has the past two years with 9-7 records. In fact, either Houston or Indianapolis has won the division each year since 2009. Only twice has a team other than those two taken the South and it was Tennessee both times (2002 & ’08).
The Colts might have a major concern, however. QB Andrew Luck had offseason shoulder surgery and might not be ready for training camp. He remains in rehab, slogging away while his teammates run the offense and get ready for the coming season.
“Am I hopeful? Am I praying?” his coach, Chuck Pagano, said. “Yeah. So is everybody. But there really is no timetable on it.” In the big picture of things, the Colts want to make sure they do all the right things with their franchise quarterback to make sure he’s taking the snaps when they face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1. I like the Titans to win this division. They tied for first last year at 9-7 and have a rising superstar in QB Marcus Mariota, plus two great running backs.
Kansas City Chiefs & Oakland Raiders (+180)
Behind QB Derek Carr and defensive stud Khalil Mack, the Raiders were 12-4 last year, their first winning season since 2002. Oakland lost out on the division title, however, largely because Carr broke his leg in in a Week 16 win over the Colts, therefore affecting their NFL odds to win in the postseason. The Chiefs stole the division in Week 17 when the Raiders were dominated in a loss to the Broncos without Carr and Kansas City won in San Diego.
For this season, the Raiders were able to sign Marshawn Lynch, making them a huge threat on the field. They will be a team with a much more force this time around and hopefully, they’ll get their redemption if they make the postseason again.
The Raiders are working on a contract extension with Carr.Andrew Luck is currently the highest paid quarterback at $24.6 million per year. Carr is fully expected to reset the market, but there’s been some concern over the slow pace of talks. Carr says he will cut off extension negotiations once training camp begins.
What About Kansas City?
Meanwhile, star OLB Chiefs OLB Justin Houston says he is finally over the persistent knee issues that plagued him the last two seasons. Houston has managed 11.5 sacks the past two seasons combined after notching 22.0 quarterback takedowns in 2014. “Last year, I couldn’t even run at this time,” he admitted. “It’s a night-and- day difference.”
Final Expert NFL Odds Prediction
It will definitely be a season to watch and, like it always happens, there will be teams that will shock us all and have a great season and maybe the ones you would expect a great performance might not do so well. That’s why this sport is so great. With these NFL odds, you’ll have a better idea of what’s to come once September comes around.