Will Tom Brady and the New England Patriots fulfill their status as prohibitive NFL Betting Odds favorite to win back-to-back AFC Championships and if they don’t, which conference championship hopeful is offering the best odds to pull off what now looks like a monumental upset?
Can one of New England’s AFC longshot conference rivals like Tennessee or Buffalo upset the entire apple cart or will it be one of the other, ‘top odds’ challengers like Pittsburgh or Kansas City? For that matter, are the Patriots virtual locks to repeat as conference champs?
Let’s take a look at each AFC playoff participant and their respective odds to beat out Bill Belichick’s perennially powerful Pat to win the conference championship.
Updated NFL Betting Odds to Win the AFC – January 5th Edition
— NFL (@NFL) 5 de enero de 2018
New England Patriots
- NFL Betting Odds to Win AFC: 10/13
The Patriots (13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS) are the prohibitive favorites for a reason people. Even though they were abysmal in ranking 30th again the pass and 20th against the run, New England was fantastic in keeping their opponents out of the end zone this season by finishing fifth in points allowed (18.5 ppg).
I won’t even say much about their offense, seeing as how they ranked first in total offense and second in scoring (28.6 ppg) and Tom Brady looked closer to a spry 25-year-old than the 40-year-old he is.
- NFL Betting Odds to Win AFC: 5/2
The Steelers (13-3 SU, 7-9 ATS) have arguably the best offensive trio in all of football with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown, but they’ve also lost five straight against New England six of the last seven meetings against the Patriots dating back to 2010.
Pittsburgh looked like they actually had the Pats beat late this season when they met in Week 15, but they ended up losing a heartbreaker 27-24 thanks to a couple of calls that didn’t go their way.
The 3-point loss was the closest the Steelers have come to upsetting New England in the last five meetings with every other loss coming by at least a touchdown, including three by double digits. Still, I like Pittsburgh’s 5/2 odds to win the AFC seeing how close they came to beating the Pats this season.
Kansas City Chiefs
- NFL Betting Odds to Win AFC: 8/1
While the Chiefs (10-6 SU, 10-6 ATS) was wildly inconsistent this season in winning their first five games of the season, then losing six of seven, before closing out the regular season with four straight wins, you’ve got to like their chances of beating the Patriots to win the conference title as a value-packed 8/1 pick.
Kansas City opened the 2017 regular season with a 42-27 drubbing of the Patriots and have actually won two of the last three meetings against New England dating back to 2014, including a 41-14 smackdown of Tom Brady and company back on September 29 of 2014.
Kansas City has several weapons on offense in wide receiver/returner Tyreek Hill, running back Kareem Hunt and tight end Travis Kelce, not to mention a slew of excellent defensive players, starting with Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters.
- NFL Betting Odds to Win AFC: 10/1
On the one hand, Jacksonville (10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) finished the regular season ranked fifth in scoring (26.1 ppg) and an even more impressive second in points allowed (16.8 ppg), so the value they’re offering as a 10/1 pick to win the AFC looks great. On the other hand, veteran quarterback Blake Bortles has been pretty damned awful for the vast majority of his career. I mean, prior to this season, Bortles had thrown 69 TD passes and 54 interceptions over his first three seasons while tossing at least 16 interceptions in every campaign.
Bortles only averages 240.8 passing yards per game over his career and has never recorded a QBR higher than 55.9. For me, those numbers don’t inspire a whole lot of confidence heading into the playoffs. Oh, and Jacksonville is 0-7 in their last seven meetings against the Patriots, even though Bortles only started one of those games, a 51-17 drubbing back on September 27, 2015.
- NFL Betting Odds to Win AFC: 40/1
Hurray for the Bills (9-7 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) as they ended a 17-year playoff drought (thanks to Cincinnati) but I wouldn’t go around expecting them to actually win the AFC. First, the Bills have to get past a Jaguars team that looks superior to them on both sides of the ball and the, they’d be forced to play a New England team that absolutely owns them! Buffalo ranked 22nd in scoring (18.9 ppg) and 18th in points allowed (22.4 ppg) and no matter what anyone says.
They have a head coach in Sean McDermott that actually thought rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman, a fifth-round draft pick, mind you, was better than veteran starter Tyrod Taylor – until Peterman threw five picks in one half against the Chargers!
- NFL Betting Odds to Win AFC: 40/1
The Titans (9-7 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) are another team that is fortunate to be in the postseason, even though they actually earned their way in by beating Jacksonville in their regular-season finale. Still, the Titans are going to be hard-pressed to get past Kansas City in the wild-card round and if they do, they’ll likely face a divisional date against New England (if Buffalo doesn’t upset Jacksonville).
Like the Bills, the Titans actually gave up more points per game (22.2 ppg, 17th) than they averaged during the regular season (20.9 ppg, 19th). Quarterback Marcus Mariota struggled immensely this season after a pair of encouraging seasons his first two years in the league. Um…save your money on the Titans winning the AFC.
The Patriots are going to be tough to beat in the AFC, but if I had to pick any team to beat them out for conference supremacy, surprisingly, it would be Kansas City first and them Pittsburgh, even though most people think the Steelers are the team with the best chance of winning the conference outside of New England!