NFL bettors have been betting NFL futures since Super Bowl 53 ended. Now that the draft is over and most important free agents have signed with a team, now is the perfect time to see how the AFC is shaping up for the 2019-20 season. Like every other recent NFL season, the New England Patriots are favored to win the AFC for the fourth consecutive year.
AFC East Preview and Predictions
The New England Patriots (9/2) will win the AFC East for the 11th season in a row. There’s no way Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won’t find a way to win the division. The Patriots are only paying 2/7 odds to win the AFC East over the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets.
I expect improvement out of the Jets (5/1 to win AFC East), as Sam Darnold should improve in his second season. Le’Veon Bell is a huge upgrade at RB and he’ll provide Darnold with an easy check-down target. The Jets also signed Jamison Crowder and C.J. Mosley.
The AFC North is going to be a battle. The Cleveland Browns (1/1) are favorites, but they’ll have stiff competition in the Pittsburgh Steelers (2/1) and Baltimore Ravens (7/2).
Pittsburgh will start life without Bell and Antonio Brown. Bell sat out last year and the run game was still effective, but that’ll change without Brown garnering attention. On paper, the Browns have a great roster on both sides of the football. The offense should be potent with Odell Beckham Jr. running wild, especially if Baker Mayfield improves.
However, it’s hard to pass up the value on the Ravens at 7/2. Baltimore won the AFC North with a 10-6 record last season. Lamar Jackson could improve in his sophomore season, plus I like the signings of Mark Ingram and Earl Thomas who are two experienced vets.
The Indianapolis Colts are paying 11/10 to win the AFC South and 8/1 to win the AFC. I’m high on the Colts, as Andrew Luck is healthy and playing great football. The Colts were unable to sign or trade for an elite WR/RB, but they brought in Devin Funchess at WR and made an even bigger splash by signing Justin Houston on the defensive end.
Houston won the division last season with an 11-5 record, but will Deshaun Watson be able to stay healthy with the brutal Texans offensive line? Even if he avoids injury, he’ll be on the run a lot this season. The Tennessee Titans made some small improvements, including at WR with the signing of underrated Adam Humphries, but they’re still behind the Colts.
The Kansas City Chiefs are second in the AFC Championship futures at 5/1 odds, but with all of the off-the-field issues, I have a hard time backing the Chiefs. The offense is going to struggle without Tyreek Hill while he’s suspended and the defense struggled last season.
With that being said, the AFC West is more open than it would otherwise be. The Chargers are paying 7/4 to win the division after finishing in 2nd place last season with a record of 12-4 (lost tiebreaker to Chiefs). However, I’m going out on a limb here and predicting the Oakland Raiders (16/1 to win AFC West) will make some noise in Jon Gruden’s 2nd season.
Derek Carr has a chance at a bounce-back season with an upgraded WR corps. The team brought in Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams during the off-season. First-round draft pick Josh Jacobs will instantly improve the run game too. The defense allowed a league-worst 29.2 PPG last season, but that will improve with the offense staying on the field longer.
The Patriots will likely win the AFC for the sixth time in the last nine years unless one of the up and coming teams can pull off a few surprises. The weakened Chiefs will make life even easier for the Patriots. At 9/2 odds, you’re likely not finding a better price on NE.
If you’re looking for more value, the Ravens are interesting at 16/1 odds. Baltimore came on strong at the end of last season and I like the veteran additions they’ve made. The Raiders are 20/1 to win the AFC, but I like Baltimore a lot more at these prices.