AFC North Betting Odds - NFL Futures

AFC North Betting Odds

There weren’t many people that believed Baltimore was the team to beat in the AFC North coming into last season. The Ravens were seen as a tier behind the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers according to the oddsmakers, but Lamar Jackson proved everyone wrong. Jackson was the best player in the NFL and set numerous records on the way to winning the NFL MVP and leading Baltimore to a league-best 14-2 record.

Jackson will now be on the cover of the newest Madden game, and his Ravens are one of the biggest favorites per the preseason NFL futures odds to win their division. Baltimore only lost a couple of key players from last year’s team, while there are major concerns surrounding Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

AFC North Betting

Baltimore might be even more talented than it was last year. The Ravens lost Eric Weddle to retirement, but they strengthened their linebacking corps with the addition of Patrick Queen and acquired a fearsome pass rusher in Calais Campbell. Matt Judon had a breakout season, so the defense should remain rock solid.

The offense will go as far as Lamar Jackson takes them. Some regression is probably expected from Jackson as defensive coordinators have been crunching film to figure out how to slow him down, but he is the best runner we have ever seen at quarterback. If he stays healthy and can keep defenses honest with his arm, it will be difficult to stop him.

Pittsburgh needs Ben Roethlisberger to stay upright and on the field as it became clear last year that neither Mason Rudolph nor Devlin Hodges are the answer at quarterback. JuJu Smith-Schuster had a dismal season without Big Ben throwing him the ball, but this defense was superb and harkened memories of the Steel Curtain. The addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Devin Bush Jr. helped take this unit to another level, and this might be the best defense in the NFL.

No team was more disappointing than Cleveland last year. The Browns entered the season with a ton of hype after their uplifting end to the 2018 campaign, but Baker Mayfield struggled to get the job done. Mayfield threw more interceptions than any other quarterback in the AFC, so Kevin Stefanski was brought in to establish the run-first offenses he oversaw in Minnesota.

That may make Nick Chubb the most valuable running back in fantasy football in 2020.

Joe Burrow will probably be the Day 1 starter for Cincinnati, and this season is all about building for the future. The Bengals bottomed out with the worst record in the league in 2019, yet there is talent on the roster.

AFC North Winners (2000)

2020 Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
2019 Baltimore Ravens 14-2
2018 Baltimore Ravens 10-6
2017 Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3
2016 Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5
2015 Cincinnati Bengals 12–4
2014 Pittsburgh Steelers 11–5
2013 Cincinnati Bengals 11–5
2012 Baltimore Ravens 10–6
2011 Baltimore Ravens 12–4
2010 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–4
2009 Cincinnati Bengals 10–6
2008 Pittsburgh Steelers 12–4
2007 Pittsburgh Steelers 10–6
2006 Baltimore Ravens 13–3
2005 Cincinnati Bengals 11–5
2004 Pittsburgh Steelers 15-1
2003 Baltimore Ravens 10-6
2002 Pittsburgh Steelers 10-5-1
2001 Pittsburgh Steelers 13-3
2000 Tennessee Titans 13-3

In order to create two conferences with an equal number of teams after the merger, two old NFL teams had to join the 10 incoming AFL squads. Pittsburgh and Cleveland ended up making the leap, and it ended up being rather fortuitous for the Steelers. This division remained static until 1995 when the Jacksonville Jaguars were established and became the fifth member of what was then called the AFC Central.

Relocation and realignment changed all that over the next decade. Cleveland moved to Baltimore in 1996, and the Browns received an expansion franchise in 1999, kickstarting a rivalry between the old Browns and the new Browns. The Jaguars and Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans left for the AFC South in 2002.

Pittsburgh has been the team to beat in this division since 2002, but Baltimore has been nearly as good. Both teams have won two Super Bowl titles in the 21st Century, and their intense rivalry led to rule changes in the interest of player safety following the 2009 AFC Championship Game.

AFC North Division Titles

Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Cincinnati Bengals 10
Baltimore Ravens 6
Cleveland Browns 6
Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers 3
Jacksonville Jaguars 2

The AFC Central saw three different champions in its first three years, but Pittsburgh became the team of the decade. The Steelers won the division in 1972 and laid claim to six straight titles from 1974 to 1979. In that time, they also won four Super Bowls and knocked off division rival Houston in the 1978 and 1979 AFC Championship games.

Other teams have had brief spurts of success, but for the most part the division has belonged to the Steelers, who have won this division more than twice as often as any other team. The Ravens have two Super Bowl victories since moving and are the only team in this division other than the Steelers to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Cincinnati and Cleveland have had virtually no success over the last three decades. The Browns haven’t won a division title since 1989 and haven’t won a playoff game since 1994, while the Bengals are 0-7 in the Wild Card Round since beating the Houston Oilers back in 1990.

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