The AFC has been the property of the New England Patriots in recent years. Odds to win the AFC have been particularly lopsided. The NFL has been defined by the participation of the Patriots and the Patriots only in recent NFL seasons. As calendar years have been defined by the participation of the Patriots, so have NFL futures lines. The AFC and particularly AFC futures are reliant on the Patriots and the 2018-19 season is no different. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are again the favorites to win the conference to begin the season.
In the case that Brady goes down, there are several teams that make a strong case for unseating the Patriots. Check out our list of teams worth a look for the AFC championship. These odds are from BetOnline. Keep that in mind, because it’s really important in just a few sentences.
It is rare that a team is so dominant in the NFL that they are close to even odds to win their conference, but that’s where the Patriots are on some sportsbooks. MyBookie has the Patriots as a mere +180, but this is why we tell our readers to utilize other sportsbooks. By shopping, we were able to find a much more favorable line at BetOnline. In this case, the Patriots get $1.40 more in value on a bet which is quite substantial.
The Patriots have been that dominant during the Brady and Belichick era which is why you see books taking such caution against them in the 2018-19 NFL season. Sure, the Patriots are without popular names like Danny Amendola (Dolphins) and Martellus Bennett (Retirement), ut the Patriots are not foreign to making names out of complete strangers. It’s the “Patriot Way.” The Patriots should breeze through the AFC East en route to contention for a first round bye and the books are compensating.
The betting public will surely be on the Patriots after qualifying for the Super Bowl for each of the last two seasons which should make this line pretty volatile prior to opening kickoff of week 1.
Unless you are a believer in the other contenders in the AFC, getting the Patriots at +300 may be the best bet possible here. They’ve had such an easy time the last two seasons, it’s almost just a matter of health for the Patriots and AFC futures bettors.
Bet the Patriots to Win the AFC
The Patriots are +300 at BetOnline (excellent value). Plus they give you a 50% Deposit Bonus
How will Bell "drop the mic" on his Steeler Career?
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most talented teams in the AFC and should be neck-and-neck with the Patriots for the top spot in the conference. Want evidence that the Steelers are contenders? Look no further than the sportsbooks. The Steelers are just over 5 to 1 to win the AFC.
Pittsburgh looks the part of a contender on paper with studs from top to bottom. Le’Veon Bell will even be in a contract year which almost guarantees he will have a career year. All that is bullish, and the Steelers look great from here. Remember though, NFL games aren’t played on paper or on a computer screen.
While the Steelers look great to the naked eye, their ability to execute is lacking when compared to others in the AFC who have "been there" more recently. When it gets down to it, the Pittsburgh Steelers may not be that great of a wager to win the AFC championship. They seem to be a team that lacks "intangibles" and with the Bell situation, their best player is a mercenary playing for himself.
Team chemistry is in flux for Pittsburgh and has been for a few years now as the team has transitioned to Mike Tomlin’s leadership as Head Coach. Ben Roethlisberger wanted to retire, then changed his tune after the team drafted a quarterback and he started picturing his fading legacy. He’ll huck it up like the gunslinger he is for one more season at least.
Rothlesburger’s departure from the NFL will likely coincide with Le’Veon Bell’s departure from the Steelers. It is well publicized that Bell and the team cannot seem to agree on a contract and have fallen out. The effort recently took another blow and looks irreparable.
It looks like this will be Bell’s last season wearing the black and gold which could be a good or a bad thing for the Steelers. It all depends on the team's performance and the attitude of Bell himself. The long term future of the versatile running back is one of many clear issues with this team on the offensive side of the ball.
On defense, the Steelers are a mess. The loss of Ryan Shazier was tragic and also had a tangible impact on the football field. The team got noticeably worse on defense after Shazier was lost for the year. His loss was most evident in the Divisional Playoff round last season. The performance has an aftertaste that can’t be denied entering 2018-19.
The Steelers couldn’t stop a Blake Bortles-led Jaguars offense at home with a trip to the AFC Championship Game on the line last season. Nothing seems to have changed from year to year.
Until the Steelers can prove themselves on both sides of the football field, getting shorter than 6/1 odds to win the AFC reads more like a case of brand recognition for bettors than on-field excellence.
Bet the Steelers to Win the AFC
The Steelers are +550 at BetOnline. Plus they give you a 50% Deposit Bonus
The Jag's season hinges on confidence in Blake Bortles and the passing game.
The Jaguars took the NFL by storm last season. The lovable underdog story from Jacksonville came just minutes short of stealing the AFC championship from the mighty Patriots.
It was tough luck for the Jaguars, but you can’t help but feel the team brought the result on itself. The Jaguars found a way to blow a multi-possession lead in the second half and it seemed evident that they lacked true faith in quarterback Blake Bortles who could have closed the game with a more adventurous play calling regiment later in the game.
Coming into the 2018-2019 season, betting on the Jaguars to win the AFC at a robust +900 depends on your opinion on one topic. Can you trust Blake Bortles enough to put the ball in the air in a big spot?
This team has the defense and running game to be great. If you believe they can develop their passing attack to match, they could be a worthwhile investment, especially at 9 to 1 odds.
Bet the Jaguars to Win the AFC
The Jaguars are +900 at BetOnline. Plus they give you a 50% Deposit Bonus
The Chargers were anything but a glamorous team in 2017, but they were secretly one of the best squads in the NFL last season. The Chargers are 9 t0 1 to win the AFC this year and attractive to the eye for the betting public.
Several missed field goals from Younghoe Koo cost the Chargers easy wins in the first month of the season. He was cut after the first month and the team later found stability from the Kicker position. Without those missed kicks, this team was easily in contention to win the AFC.
The Chargers were in the top-half in the league in DVOA on both offense and defense. Their passing offense was second only to the Patriots. Philip Rivers has a few more seasons carving up the league in mind. He returns to anchor the team in a category where they were great last year. His primary receiver, Keenan Allen, had over 1300 yards last year.
Complimenting the Chargers powerful spread attack is a very solid ground game. The running game is consistent as long as Melvin Gordon is involved.
The Chargers defense had holes last year against the run and must improve in 2018. The team averaged 131.1 yards against in 2017 which led to some of the close game situations for their unfortunate kicker. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will have to help lead this team against the run but have already proven themselves to be great pass rushers.
The loss of Hunter Henry to injury really put a rut in the Chargers chances this season. He was lost for the year in mini camp. Had Henry been healthy, Philip Rivers would have had a red zone target at tight end on par with Antonio Gates from several years ago.
The Henry injury -thins out the Chargers offensive depth and could keep the team out of contention. Gates is old, but the Chargers are hoping he will re-sign and scab one more year at the Tight End position while Henry recovers. Even at his age of 38, the rapport of Gates with Rivers is quite valuable for the fluidity of the Los Angeles offense.
If Gates resigns, the Chargers offense could tick along into the Super Bowl. If he doesn’t come back, Rivers will lack the tight end he needs and that will lead to trademark Rivers turnovers that will cost the Chargers any chance of winning the AFC.