MyBookie’s Free Picks to Win the AFC North
With Big Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers looking for a Super Bowl appearance at the very least in 2017 and every other team in the AFC North having more than their fair share of questions to answer, it’s easy to see why Pittsburgh has been installed as prohibitive favorites to win the generally, competitive division. Nonetheless, we have added the latest betting lines to win AFC North Division in order to help you make a smart decision during this season upcoming matches.
On the other hand, the big question for NFL betting enthusiasts as we get set for the start of the upcoming campaign is whether or not anyone can beat out the Steelers for the division crown this coming season.
A Closer Look at MyBookie’s Free Picks to Win the AFC North
The Favorite: Pittsburgh Steelers -140
The Steelers (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) won the AFC North last season in easy fashion, but have alternated division titles with Cincinnati over the last four seasons. Prior to that, Baltimore won back-to-back division titles in 2011 and 2012. Now, after posting an 11-5 record in 2016 and reaching the AFC Championship game before falling to eventual Super Bowl champion New England 36-17, the Steelers have their sights set on reaching Super Bowl 52 at the very least.
There’s plenty of good news, especially on the offensive side of the ball where the Steelers have arguably the most dangerous trio in the league in running back-to-back Le’Veon Bell, wide receiver Antonio Brown and future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers will also have gifted, but oft-troubled wide receiver Martavis Bryant back on the field after he missed all of 2016 with a drug-related suspension. Pittsburgh ranked seventh in total offense in 2016 and 11th in scoring (24.9 ppg) and they’ll almost assuredly be pretty explosive on offense again in 2017.
The Steelers re-signed several of their own free agents like backup quarterback Landry Jones and veteran linebacker James Harrison and added a handful of other veterans in free agency, though none were ‘big name’ players that will make an immediate impact.
Pittsburgh ranked a respectful 10th in points allowed last season (20.4 ppg) and added play-making Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt with their first round pick, former USC wideout Juju Smith-Schuster in the second round and both, cornerback Cameron Sutton and beloved Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner in the third round. Right now, it looks like all roads to the AFC North division title will go through Pittsburgh in 2017.
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Statistics
Offensive rush yards: 113.89
Offensive passing yards: 258.79
Defensive passing yards: 246.05
The Smart Pick: Cincinnati Bengals +220
I know the Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1 SU, 6-10 O/U) took a big step backwards last season in falling to six wins, but I also believe they can bounce back in a big way in 2017 after making a series of really ‘smart’ moves this offseason.
After finishing a dismal 24th in scoring last season (20.3 ppg), head coach Marvin Lewis and Cincy’s front office needed some upgrades on offense and they did just that in the offseason. The Bengals added ‘super speedy’ wide receiver John Ross with the ninth overall pick in the draft and got arguably the steal of the draft (besides Deshaun Watson) in former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon with the 48th overall pick.
After watching start after star, like A.J. Green, Jeremy Hill and Tyler Eifert all go down with significant injuries last year, the Bengals now look like they’ll have one of the most explosive offenses in the league in 2017.
As far as defense is concerned, Cincinnati was solid, but not outstanding in ranking 17th in total defense, 11th against the pass and an uninspiring 21st against the run. The good news is that the Bengals ranked an impressive eighth in points allowed by limiting the opposition to just 19.7 points per game. Despite their down year in 2016, Cincinnati looks more than capable of bouncing back in 2017 to challenge Pittsburgh for the AFC North division title.
Cincinnati Bengals Team Statistics
Average Score For: 20.31
Offensive rush yards: 110.56
Defensive total yards: 350.75
Offensive passing yards: 246.38
Defensive rush yards: 113.25
Average Score Against: 19.69
Defensive passing yards: 237.50
The Longshot: Cleveland Browns +2300
I know the Browns (1-15 SU, 3-12-1 ATS) won just one game last year and that they’re a really long shot to reach .500, more or less win the AFC North, but they made some really positive moves this offseason that look like they put Hue Jackson’s team on the right track heading into 2017.
Not only did the Browns draft athletically gifted defensive end Myles Garrett with the first overall pick in the NFL draft, but they also added strong safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njoku with their two other first round picks while also adding quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second round.
More importantly, after ranking 30th in total offense, 28th in passing, 19th in rushing and 31st in scoring (16.5 ppg), the Browns upgraded their offensive line in a big way be re-signing guard Joel Bitonio and bringing in Kevin Zeitler and J.C. Tretter in free agency.
Of course, the Browns also decided to add quarterback bust Brock Osweiler to compete for the starting job after he flamed out in stunning fashion in Houston last year while not deciding to take a look at free agent Colin Kaepernick, so there a still a few questions surrounding the competency of Cleveland’s front office. Still, all in all, Cleveland made some really nice decisions this offseason and have absolutely nowhere to go but up!
Cleveland Browns Team Statistics
Average Score For: 16.50
Offensive rush yards: 107.00
Defensive total yards: 392.44
Offensive passing yards: 204.00
Defensive rush yards: 142.75
Average Score Against: 28.25
Defensive passing yards: 249.69