The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers dominated the AFC North last decade, and each team racked up four division titles. The AFC could get a lot more competitive in the 2020s, though, as the Cleveland Browns seem like they could finally be ready to take a step forward. These three teams have a significant edge over the Cincinnati Bengals ahead of the 2021 season. Let’s go over the betting odds for each candidate.
All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Baltimore Ravens: +105
The Ravens underperformed in 2020. While Baltimore’s elite defense might’ve gotten even more talented with the addition of Yannick Ngakoue, the offense struggled and was very one-dimensional. Lamar Jackson followed up his MVP season by manning of the least productive passing attacks in the NFL. His lack of a true WR1 was a glaring weakness, and the absence of a true feature back limited the Ravens’ ceiling as well. Baltimore might be the odds-on favorite, but its young core on offense will have to make significant strides to come out on top against a rapidly improving field.
Cleveland Browns: +175
Misfortune struck the Browns early last season when Odell Beckham Jr. went down with a torn ACL, but Cleveland rallied without their star receiver. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt piled it on out of the backfield as a dynamic one-two punch while several unheralded wideouts stepped up to help Baker Mayfield move the chains through the air. If the Browns can find consistency with OBJ back in the mix, they could establish themselves as a serious threat to win the division.
Pittsburgh Steelers: +375
The Steelers fell apart after their blistering 11-0 start in 2021. Their struggles down the stretch in the regular season followed them into the postseason, and that resulted in a first-round loss to the Browns. Ben Roethlisberger’s time as an elite signal-caller might be over, and Pittsburgh could need a replacement for their longtime leader sooner rather than later. Luckily for the Steelers, their defense is sturdy on the defensive line and in the secondary. The 2020 AFC North champs could struggle holding off the up-and-coming Ravens and Browns, though.
Cincinnati Bengals: +2500
Cincinnati showed some flashes of potential in 2020, but Joe Burrow’s ACL and MCL tears make betting on the Bengals a reach at this point. The bottom feeders of the AFC North have a promising quarterback and talented, young receiving corps. Major problems with the running game and defense need to be addressed, though. The Bengals will win some games, but the rest of the field is too well-rounded to consider them a threat to take the division title.
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