Forget division titles. After running away with the AFC North division title by posting a league-high 14 wins a year ago, the Baltimore Ravens look like a team that will challenge for conference supremacy in the AFC for years to come. Led by reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson, Baltimore will look to claim their third straight AFC North division title this coming season. However, doing so should definitely be a bit tougher in 2020 as Pittsburgh gets back franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after he missed the entire 2019 campaign and positive changes are taking place in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Now, let’s find out which teams are offering the best value against their AFC North division odds as we get set for the upcoming 2020 NFL regular season.
NFL AFC North Divisional Odds After Draft
- Odds To Win AFC North: -200
The Ravens might have come up short of fulfilling their Super Bowl hopes a year ago, but after recording a league-high 14 wins during the regular season and watching star quarterback Lamar Jackson win the league’s MVP award, Baltimore will enter the 2020 campaign with hopes of winning Super Bowl 55 and nothing less. Baltimore finished the 2019 campaign ranked second in total offense and first in scoring (33.2 ppg) while also finishing fourth in total defense and third in points allowed (17.6 ppg).
To improve on both sides of the ball, Baltimore selected Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round while adding Texas wide receiver Devin Duvernay and Mississippi tackle Tyre Phillips, both, in the third round. On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens put their franchise tag on veteran linebacker Matthew Judon while selecting LSU linebacker Patrick Queen with the 28th overall pick in the draft and backing that up by adding Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and Ohio State linebacker Malik Harrison, both in the third round.
- Odds To Win AFC North:+325
The Steelers had one of the best 2019 campaigns of any team in the league if you ask me. Yes, Pittsburgh went a modest 8-8, but that solid record was achieved with starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sidelined for the entire 2019 season. Without their longtime starter under center last season, the Steelers finished 30th in total offense, 31st in passing and 27th in scoring (18.1 ppg). However, it would be foolish to expect that kind of productivity with Roethlisberger under center.
Pittsburgh signed veteran guard Stefen Wisniewski, veteran tight end Eric Ebron, fullback Derek Watt and tackle Zach Banner in free agency while picking Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool in the second round, Maryland running back Anthony McFarland Jr. in the fourth round and Louisiana guard Kevin Dotson in the sixth round. The Steelers finished a stellar fifth in points allowed last season (18.9 ppg) and they added to their unit by drafting Charlotte linebacker Alex Highsmith in the third round, Maryland safety Antoine Brooks in the sixth round and Nebraska defensive tackle Carlos Davis in the seventh round. Make no mistake about it, Pittsburgh will be better in 20202 than they were a year if only because of the return of Big Ben!
- Odds To Win AFC North:+500
After falling well short of their 2019 playoff hype by going 6-10 last season, the Browns will be playing for their second head coach in as many season as former Minnesota offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski takes over for the one-and-done Freddie Kitchens. Cleveland needs to improve on both sides of the ball after finishing the 2019 campaign ranked 22nd in scoring (20.9 ppg) and 20th in points allowed (24.6 ppg). The good news is that it looks like the Browns did address some of their issues on both sides of the ball by signing veteran tight end Austin Hooper, tackle Jack Conklin and quarterback Case Keenum in free agency while selecting Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. with the 10th overall pick in the draft.
Cleveland also made some really nice additions on defense by signing veteran linebacker B.J. Goodson, safety Karl Joseph and safety Andrew Sendejo among others while picking LSU safety Grant Delpit in the second round, Missouri defensive tackle Jordan Elliott and LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips, both in the third round. More importantly, Cleveland looks like they finally got it right by hiring the widely-respected Stefanski. Now time will tell just how good the Browns and their talented roster will be in 2020.
- Odds To Win AFC North:+2500
Cincinnati’s two-win season helped them land LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the draft, but they’ll need a lot more than their prized rookie if they want to improve this coming season. The Bengals did get another steal by selecting Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins in the second round while adding two players that should be instant contributors in Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson and Appalachian State linebackers Akeem Davis-Gaither. I also like Cincy’s free agent addition of veteran defensive tackle D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes, although they did add some other serviceable veterans as well. While Cincinnati got their guy in Burrow, I’m still unconvinced that Zac Taylor is the right guy for the job, plus I have no faith whatsoever in the Bengals’ poorly run front office. This is a team that is still a few years away from challenging anyone for anything if you ask me.
2020 Division Outlook
While I’m expecting Pittsburgh to be a lot better in 2020 than they were a year ago, right now, Baltimore clearly looks like the cream of the crop in the AFC North. Not only do that have an unstoppable dual-threat superstar leading them, but they are loaded on the defensive side of the ball and almost as stingy as they’ve ever been.
The Ravens are the easy pick to get it done in the AFC North in 2020 with the Steelers finishing second, Cleveland, third and Cincinnati bringing up the rear. There’s not a whole lot of guesswork that needs to go into making this prediction. Keep it simple and back the Super Bowl hopeful Ravens to get it done!
Pick: Baltimore Ravens
I think Baltimore should have done a bit more to address their lack of talent at the wide receiver position, the fact of the matter is that the Ravens are completely loaded on both sides of the ball. If Lamar Jackson can improve even more as a passer, there’s absolutely no reason why Baltimore can’t contend to reach Super Bowl 55. Sure, they’ll have a tougher way to go in the AFC North with Ben Roethlisberger back in Pittsburgh and both, Cleveland and Cincinnati looking like they’ll be better than they were a year ago, but Baltimore is still the cream of the crop in the division and I see no way they don’t reach the postseason this coming campaign. The bottom line is that backing Baltimore to win in all in 2020 is a great wager!