2020 AFC Odds and Picks
The AFC once again flexed its muscles last season, first with Baltimore being the most dominant team in the regular season and then with the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl. The Chiefs and Ravens not only top the AFC list of odds, but they also sit atop the Super Bowl odds, as well. The chalk is definitely on the Chiefs and Ravens, but it's a strange time. And there is a slew of teams that could make this interesting. Super Bowl hangovers are real. Baltimore still has to exorcise their postseason demons after the last few seasons. That leaves a lot of good teams, some going off at robust odds, making this a potentially-profitable bet for those looking to go off-the-grid a bit.
In other words, if you don’t really buy the hype at the top of the list, there is a lot of value underneath. Apparently, beating the conference favorite and making it to the title game didn’t impress oddsmakers, as the upstart Tennessee Titans are only the seventh-leading choice in the conference this season. Even without Tom Brady for the first time in 20 years, the Pats are still the third-choice at just +600. A deep Indy roster, now with Philip Rivers at QB, is going off at +1100, while a team a lot liked last season in Cleveland is a more realistic +1500 this season. A rising Bills squad is +1200, while a pair of teams that just need some better breaks in the Chargers and Steelers are +1800 and +1100, respectively. How about a long-shot like Denver at +2500, who just loaded up their offensive corps to the gills?
Sure, Kansas City and Baltimore are the class of the conference and it might very well shake out that way. But we’ve seen time and again how little it means who the preseason darlings on the odds board were when the playoffs come around. Take a quick look at the odds to win the AFC conference this season and we’ll follow with some of our top picks for this season.
Odds to Win the 2020 AFC Conference
- Kansas City Chiefs +300
- Baltimore Ravens +325
- New England Patriots +600
- Buffalo Bills +1200
- Indianapolis Colts +1100
- Cleveland Browns +1500
- Las Vegas Raiders +2000
- Los Angeles Chargers +1800
- Pittsburgh Steelers +1100
- Tennessee Titans +1400
- Houston Texans +2500
- Denver Broncos +2500
- Miami Dolphins +3500
- New York Jets +3500
- Cincinnati Bengals +5000
- Jacksonville Jaguars +7000
Top Picks to Win the AFC in 2020
Kansas City Chiefs (+300): Getting a mega deal and coming off Super Bowl glory might lead some to expect the Chiefs to lose their razor’s edge this season. I wouldn’t be so sure. Nothing has occurred to appreciably alter their recipe for success—a formula that is built to deliver time and again. They might not be as hungry as other contenders on this list, but is anyone really questioning whether they’ll have a good season and be a factor in the postseason again this year? The thing about the Chiefs is that what they do well isn't something that is going to inexplicably go away. Having a winner at QB, a stocked cast of burners and a playmaking defense that is getting better doesn't just suddenly all fall flat without a good reason, and there doesn't appear to be one.
Baltimore Ravens (+325) Seeing Lamar Jackson and the Ravens come up short two seasons ago in the playoffs after a super-strong finish to the season was one thing. Seeing them fall badly to the Titans at home as huge favorites coming off a 14-win season in the divisional round of the playoffs is the last thing we remember this team for. It was definitely a horrible look. But one slipup, however bad it was, doesn't erase the fact that up until that point, they looked to be the class of the league. With an axe to grind this season, something tells me not to count out this group. Granted, even if they have another huge regular season where they’re blowing almost everyone out, it will be nervous-time come the playoffs. But look at it this way, if they had gone on and cleaned everyone’s clock en route to winning the Super Bowl, the price would be so low on them now that it wouldn’t be worth it.
Indianapolis Colts (+1100) Granted, watching Philip Rivers last season didn't inspire much confidence. Nevertheless, a change of scenery and less dysfunction around him could do wonders. It's a really packed roster on both sides of the ball, and Rivers, long hungry for some postseason distinction, will have a ton to work with on offense. Working behind a much better line with more continuity could really take this offense to another level, and I expect some good things from Indy this season. It’s not just the boost they get at quarterback, as other areas of this team are filled with players coming into their own.
Tennessee Titans (+1400) This could be one of the better value picks on the board. A few things we saw last season were not mirages—coach Vrabel’s handiwork with this bunch, Tannehill lifting the offense to new heights, and the late-season rampaging of dominant running back Derrick Henry, who put this team on his back only to be stopped by eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City in the AFC Championship. I’m not sure what’s behind the sentiment that they will fade this season, but I wouldn’t be so quick to relegate them to the scrap heap just yet. Sure, it might not be easy to see them getting to the big one, as they had to scrap and claw to get into the playoffs, then catching a nice wave of momentum. Still, if anyone else slips and they build on the form they showed late, they look to be a definite contender.