Although the Pittsburgh Steelers have more AFC North titles than the rest of the division combined, they aren’t the favorites to win the division per the AFC North betting odds this season.
Instead, that honor goes to the most hyped team in the league, the Cleveland Browns. Everyone is high on Cleveland after the Browns turned things around with Baker Mayfield at the helm over the last half of 2018, and the acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. lifted expectations to insane levels for a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2002. With Cleveland’s betting odds to win the AFC North so low, that leads to value on the three other teams in the division.
2020 AFC North Sports Betting Preview
It’s now the Lamar Jackson show in Baltimore. The Ravens dealt Joe Flacco to Denver this offseason for a fourth-round pick, and the franchise has fully put its faith in Jackson.
Jackson is the most elite runner at the quarterback position the NFL has seen since Michael Vick was making highlight plays. He has incredible agility and speed, and it’s such a weapon the Ravens know they can’t ask Jackson to just be a drop-back passer.
The big question now is whether Lamar Jackson can develop as a passer. Baltimore used a first-round pick on Marquise Brown and a third-round pick on Miles Boykin to help in that department, along with tight end Hayden Hurst.
offense will need to be good because for the first time in years, there are major concerns about Baltimore’s defense. The Ravens lost CJ Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith, and Eric Weddle, and those are massive losses.
Very few are high on the Cincinnati Bengals’ chances under new head Zac Taylor, and they have the longest AFC North betting odds by a wide margin. Andy Daltonhas been the definition of mediocre during his time in the NFL, so the Bengals drafted Ryan Finley in hopes that he can develop into something special.
There are some good weapons in the skill positions if Taylor can work some magic. This is the most underrated wide receivers’ corps in the NFL. AJ Green isone of the league’s top receivers, and John Ross is one of the fastest guys in the league. Tyler Boyd opens things up underneath, and tight end Tyler Eifert is a solid option as well.
The back seven on defense could be a disaster though. There are no proven talents in the secondary or linebacking corps, so a few players will have to emerge to cash a longshot bet on the Bengals to win the AFC North.
Baker Mayfield had one of the most impressive rookie seasons you will see for a No. 1 pick going to a team that is bereft with talent. Mayfield’s play earned him plenty of accolades, and now he has serious weapons with Jarvis Landry and OBJ working together. The two veteran wide receivers know how to compliment each other from their time at LSU, but they have a significantly better quarterback than they did in Baton Rouge.
Nick Chubb was quietly one of the best running backs in football last year. Chubb was a darling of the advanced metrics community, and he is expected to put up big numbers in 2019 if he can stay healthy.
There are playmakers on the defense, but the Browns need it to come together. They have spent a number of high draft picks and inked a lot of big deals with free agents to make this unit solid.
Two of the three Killer B’s are gone, but the Steelers are still a threat to win the division per the AFC North betting odds. Ben Roethlisberger has put up eye-popping numbers with a team that is known for running the ball, and he will now have a new No. 1 to throw to in Juju Smith-Schuster and a deep ball threat in James Washington.
Pittsburgh’s defense has been surprisingly porous the last couple seasons. However, there is plenty of optimism that first round pick Devin Bush Jr. could immediately step in and become the lynchpin. The Steelers have the most hallowed linebacker tradition (sorry Chicago) of any team in the NFL, and they know how to find great ones.
Check out the latest AFC East betting odds at the online sportsbook.