2018 AFC North Title Betting Odds - Analysis and Predictions

Date: 
July 19, 10:02 AM EDT

The once highly competitive AFC North has turned into a one-team show the last few seasons with Pittsburgh leading the way. BetOnline has recently updated its futures odds to win this division in 2018 and once it again it looks like it’s the Steelers to lose.

The AFC North looks like a case of the best verse the rest according to the recently updated division title futures odds a BetOnline Sportsbook

Pittsburgh Steelers -250

Pittsburgh should be a heavy favorite to win its division for the third-straight season coming off a 13-3 campaign in 2017. However, one potential drain on the Steelers’ prohibitive odds to get it done is the front office’s inability to get a long-term deal done with All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell. What kind of impact this has on the regular season remains to be seen, but it has already become a major distraction during the offseason.

With Ben Roethlisberger still throwing the ball to Antonio Brown, Pittsburg is going to score its fair share of points, and it remains deep in talent on defense. The Steelers are the class of the division for at least more season.

Baltimore Ravens +450

The Ravens made a strong run at a wild-card spot in last season's playoffs at 9-7 overall. This followed an 8-8 record the year before after slipping to 5-11 in 2016. The step in the right direction could add some more interest to this year’s two games against Pittsburgh, but Baltimore has not closed the gap nearly enough with its bitter rivals to keep things interesting in the division standings all year long.

The addition of Robert Griffin III as an unsigned free agent and Lamar Jackson as the 32nd overall pick of the draft could create an interesting situation at quarterback if Joe Flacco and the offense post a slow start out of the gate. Rookie tight end Hayden Hurst could position himself as a big target in the passing game no matter which quarterback is throwing him the ball.

Cincinnati Bengals +800

Despite the fact that Cincinnati has posted a combined 13 wins in the last two seasons to finish third in the division each year, veteran head coach Marvin Lewis remains at the helm. His team has the dubious distinction of posting five-straight losses in the Wild Card Round prior to this current downturn.

The Bengals used six of their first eight draft picks on the defensive side of the ball despite the fact they were ranked 26th in the NFL in scoring last season with 18.1 points per game. The time left on the clock for Lewis to turn things around could be running out in what could easily turn into a further slide down from last year’s 7-9 mark.

Cleveland Browns +1000

I would not bet on the Browns to win the AFC North anytime soon, but they could be the most interesting team in this division in 2018. When you lose every one of your games there is no place to go but up and Cleveland's aggressive approach to rebuilding this offseason adds some value to its -130 betting odds on the OVER for its projected 5.5 win total.

Hue Jackson remains at the helm as head coach despite the 0-16 campaign last year. He will have a choice between veteran Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield as the No.1 overall pick in the draft at quarterback and hopefully, a rehabilitated Josh Gordon as the primary target in the passing game. The Browns also added Jarvis Landry as a free agent from Miami to their receiving corps and running back Nick Chubb in the second round of the draft as part of a significant upgrade on the offensive side of the ball.

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