close
Aug 29, 2018
Aug 29, 2018

AFC winner odds: Who will win the American Football Conference?

The benefits of an in-depth look at last season

A closer look at the AFC winner odds

Who has the best chance of winning the AFC divisions?

AFC winner odds: Who will win the American Football Conference?

The start of the NFL is fast approaching. Teams have spent the offseason preparing and soon they will have just 16 regular season games to make the playoffs and hopefully reach the Super Bowl. What do the AFC winner odds suggest? Read on to find out.

The benefits of an in-depth look at last season

The NFL is similar to most sports in the sense that the pre-season is mainly considered to be a fitness building exercise and shouldn’t really be used to judge how a team might perform in the upcoming season.

There is some insight to be gained from analysing warm up matches but given that teams will rarely play at full strength or full intensity, the best indicator of how a team will perform this season is their performances from last season.

In addition to analysing whether results were an accurate reflection of performance (teams may have got lucky or been unlucky), bettors can also analyse various underlying stats - such as record in close game or points differential - to see if a team is likely to regress in terms of their performance (and ultimately results).

While bettors should guard against reading too much into on-field events during the pre-season, it is important to consider what changes off the field could mean for the upcoming season (draft picks being the obvious example in this regard.

A close look at the AFC winner odds

AFC winner odds

Team

Odds*

New England Patriots

3.14

Pittsburgh Steelers

4.86

Los Angeles Chargers

8.00

Jacksonville Jaguars

10.32

Houston Texans

11.67

Kansas City Chiefs

12.76

Oakland Raiders

17.26

Tennessee Titans

19.29

Denver Broncos

22.27

Baltimore Ravens

24.37

Indianapolis Colts

28.38

Cincinnati Bengals

37.32

New York Jets

38.07

Buffalo Bills

39.59

Miami Dolphins

43.77

Cleveland Browns

49.23

AFC North odds

AFC North odds

Team

Odds*

Pittsburgh Steelers

1.507

Baltimore Ravens

3.69

Cincinnati Bengals

10.43

Cleveland Browns

12.10

After finishing second in the inaugural AFC North season, the Cleveland Browns have finished fourth in 13 of the subsequent 15 seasons, defying every case of regression towards mediocrity, no matter how unlucky they appear to have been in previous seasons.

In 2017 they had a Pythagorean expectation of over three wins, a 0-6 record in narrowly decided matches and the league’s worst -28 turnover differential and zero actual wins. They should improve on that, it would be virtually impossible not to, but they are one of the few teams who can be discounted from making a playoff run.

Bettors can analyse various underlying stats - such as record in close game or points differential - to see if a team is likely to regress in terms of their performance (and ultimately results).

The Cincinnati Bengals over-performed their points differential by one win, but otherwise had no help from turnover or narrow wins. A run of five consecutive Wild Card defeats came to an end in 2015 as they missed the post season in both 2016 and 2017.

They aren’t in the 20 top offensively, nor do they break par defensively and they are more likely to be closer to Cleveland than the division’s big two.

As the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers seemingly inch slowly towards the end of respectively the Flacco and Roethlisberger eras, they also take with them some unsustainable numbers from 2017.

Pittsburgh had six more narrow wins than losses, posting 2.5 more wins than their Pythagorean expectation and the Ravens topped the turnover table with a +17 differential. If either or both return to more usual levels in 2018 it could cost each side a couple of wins.

Pittsburgh has never propped up the AFC North and again in 2017 their core efficiency ratings based around a well above average passing game and a good, but hardly dominating defence will shield them from a major decline in wins.

They are very short priced favourites, but perhaps too short given Ben Roethlisberger’s increasing wear and tear.

Overall, and despite a huge dependency on turnovers, Baltimore have learned to live with a tepid passing offence. They have drafted accordingly, but will still rely on their top three defence and are the value alternative to the always contending Steelers.

AFC East odds

AFC East odds

Team

Odds*

New England Patriots

1.149

Miami Dolphins

9.50

Buffalo Bills

13.50

New York Jets

17.00

If Cleveland have demonstrated that extremes of performance are sometimes deserved despite the best efforts of the league structure to assist the worst performers, the New England Patriots are the prime example of elite skill and perhaps innovative coaching maintaining an advantage over the rest of the league.

The Patriots rarely regress too far toward 0.500 even when their record in usually unsustainable metrics suggest they will and once again in 2017 they had a positive record in close games, out-performed their Pythagorean and returned a positive turnover differential.

Tom Brady will turn 41 before the new season, but he was still presiding over the league’s top ranked passing team and winning championships, if not Super Bowls. Defensively, the Patriots allow yards, but they rarely turn into enough points to keep their opponent’s competitive.

The Buffalo Bills came within four wins of New England last season, but 6.5 wins would have been a more realistic return based on points with narrow wins bulking up their final total and turnovers also played a significant role.

The New York Jets had to deal with the opposite hand compared to the Bills and five wins could easily have stretched to six.

The Miami Dolphins squandered a more than generous three more narrow wins than losses by turning the ball over a net 14 more times than they took it away from their opponents.

Neither of the three teams scores enough points to worry New England in the division and all project to win around six games in 2018, but Miami might just have returned enough talent to chase the perennial post season Pats home.

AFC West odds

AFC West odds

Team

Odds*

Los Angeles Chargers

2.28

Kansas City Chiefs

3.33

Oakland Raiders

5.03

Denver Broncos

6.18

Judging by the odds, the AFC West will be a very competitive division in 2018.

It’s all change at quarterback for the Denver Broncos, (who recruited a post season QB in Case Keenum from Minnesota) and Kansas City Chiefs, who promoted second year back up Patrick Mahomes to first choice.

Bettors should guard against reading too much into on-field events during the pre-season. It is also important to consider what changes off the field could mean for the upcoming season.

However, the biggest turnaround might come if turnover fortunes become less extreme in the upcoming campaign. Both Denver and the Oakland Raiders laboured under the burden of overcoming respectively the 30th and 31st worst differential, while KC and the LA Chargers basked in the riches of the 2nd and 3rd best in the league.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if any of the four teams from the AFC West make the post season this year. Denver still maintained a top ten defence, even as their offensive capabilities declined in 2017, they share some of the unsustainable negatives that made Philadelphia our pick last year and are taken to pip the Chargers in the west.

AFC South odds

AFC South odds

Team

Odds*

Jacksonville Jaguars

2.75

Houston Texans

3.04

Tennessee Titans

3.90

Indianapolis Colts

6.64

In the recent past the AFC South has been the easiest division to win, requiring an average of one fewer win than the other seven divisions.

Last year the Jacksonville Jaguars took the title with ten wins, but 12 might have been a fairer return based on their point scoring and allowing prowess. They then took their punishing, as well as points scoring defence and largely mistake free passing game and a top ten ground game all the way to the AFC Championship game in New England.

Four wins apiece for an Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans might have stretched to six, especially for the former, who under-performed their Pythagorean, suffered a double digit, negative turnover differential and went 1-8 in the absence of their starting QB.

The Tennessee Titans managed a total of nine wins but that perhaps flattered them as their points differential suggested a narrowly losing season wouldn’t have been too surprising.

Doubts remain about the Colts’ ability to keep their QB of choice on the field, the Titans look likely to take a step back and the title looks a two-horse race, with preference for the defending Jags.

Want more insight ahead of the NFL season? Read our analysis of the NFC winner odds.

Odds subject to change

Betting Resources - Empowering your betting

Pinnacle’s Betting Resources is one of the most comprehensive collections of expert betting advice anywhere online. Catering to all experience levels our aim is simply to empower bettors to become more knowledgeable.