2019 AFC Division Odds and Picks
By Steve Moore
Steve Moore picks out his best bets from the AFC in 2019
The 2019 NFL season is finally here! This also means, for those of us who like a punt, it is time to get your money down for the new season. In my case, that means it is time to look for value in my divisional winner multiple bet. Starting today with the AFC:
Note: Prices accurate according to Oddschecker.com as of 8am BST, Monday 2nd September.
The best you will get on the Patriots is 1/4. No surprise really as the Patriots will almost certainly win the division. But are you willing to back 1/4 when you are basically betting on a 42-year old QB not getting injured? I’m not.
Ignoring the Dolphins, because you can definitely afford to ignore them, you are looking at around 7 or 8/1 for the Jets or at best 12/1 for the Bills. Now, I reckon the Bills are a better all around team so can’t see the reason for the betting to be that way round. So, if you decided to back on the possibility of either a Brady injury or him finally showing his age, then the Bills is definitely the way to go. However, I would still like the odds to be higher than that really.
Avoid if possible, but if you have to, Bills to win the AFC East @12/1 (William Hill, BetVictor)
Now here is a sentence that hasn’t been written for a long-time. The Cleveland Browns are favourites for the division. Exciting things are happening on the south banks of Lake Erie, that is for sure.
At the moment though, that is all it is, names on paper and excitement in the air. Yes they have Baker Mayfield, but he could be in line for a second season slump. Yes, they have Odell Beckham Jr., but he has an issue with staying healthy for 16 games. There is not a lot on film to suggest that their price (a best of 29/20 with the likes of Unibet and 888) is value.
You can get up to 3/1 on the Ravens but while you are almost certain to get at least a competitive season, there is a history of unique dual-threat quarterbacks making a significant backward step in their second season.
Where the value exists though is in the fact you can get almost 2/1 on the Steelers. That is the sort of price I would expect them to be if both Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell had been key parts of the offense last year and then left. They have already proven to have a top-tier running game with James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster is ready to replace Brown as Roethlisberger’s primary target.
Meanwhile on defense, first round pick Devin Bush looks the best rookie in the NFL this pre-season and the guy that the Steelers have been looking for to replace Ryan Shazier. This may be the best bet in ANY division in the league this year.
Steelers to win the AFC North @19/10 (Bet365, Royal Panda)
As a result of the Luck retirement, this looks like a really difficult puzzle to solve. So this needs to be broken up by team.
The Texans are favourites at around 13/10 (13/8 with Blacktype). They would have the best offense if it wasn’t for the fact they have the type of offensive line that would get any quarterback killed, even with the addition of Laremy Tunsil, have also lost Lamar Miller for the year and have let go of the wrong edge rusher in trading Clowney rather than the injury prone and over the hill JJ Watt.
Meanwhile the Jags definitely have the best defense, plus the have upgraded from Blake Bortles to Nick Foles. However, that is the only thing they have done to the offense. Foles may have done some special things with the Eagles but James O’ Shaughnessy is not Zach Ertz and the rest of the receiving core is nothing like as dynamic as the Eagles either. For 11/4 to be value, this team would need to be playing in 1999 not 2019.
I was actually excited to see prices on the Colts after the Luck news. They believe in Brissett and his stat-line in 2017 was much better than the teams 4-12 record suggests. Go on, look at it. If that was a rookie quarterback starting, that would be an acceptable and promising start to a career. Add that to the fact that the Colts have the best and most well rounded roster in the division, I still think the Colts have an outside chance of winning this division.
Therefore, I was disappointed that there isn’t much better than 5/1 available (11/2 Boyle Sports). That is too short to even consider.
Tennessee are often overlooked on both sides of the ball because they are built on good players who are not big names and will not become household names purely because the Titans are not a primetime name and do not play primetime games. In fact, their free agency signing of Adam Humphries, a man who is one of the most under the radar slot receivers in the league, is quite possibly the most ‘Titans’ signing of all time.
This is a recipe for value, especially when their quarterback room has had a significant upgrade at the backup slot with Ryan Tannehill. Now I agree that Tannehill is no more than a serviceable backup he is an upgrade on what they have but given that Mariota will always miss time, Tannehill is a massive upgrade on what they have had in previous years. There is nothing here to suggest the needle moves significantly from the 9-7 they have finished the last three years.
Before the Luck news, they were very appealing outsiders but even at 4/1 they are more than value seeing as, given the question marks on everyone else, that 9-7 might be good enough to win the division.
Titans to win the AFC South @4/1 (SkyBet)
The Kansas City Chiefs have the best roster from top to bottom, not only in the AFC West but the entire NFL. That is why they are second favourites for the Superbowl and that is why that with most big name bookies they are huge odds-on favourites for the West. If you can grab the 4/5 that is available with Blacktype, I would take it in a heartbeat.
If you are more comfortable betting with the big firms though, their prices are somewhat prohibitive, if only because you are looking at betting on a team with Chad Henne behind centre if Mahomes goes down at any point.
At second favourites for the West are the San Diego Chargers, with a best price 19/10. Decent price in principle except they have three major issues; 1) Melvin Gordon, 2) an offensive line as bad as the Texans with a less mobile quarterback and 3) playing as the unwanted team in LA which means they basically play 16 away games a season.
That leaves two massive prices. Normally I have to temper myself from overestimating the ‘Hard Knocks’ team but nothing in this series suggests that even at the 18/1 you can get with Betfred are you receiving great value with the Oakland Raiders.
Meanwhile you have one on the best edge rushing combos in the NFL in Colorado. Having one of Bradley Chubb or Von Miller is a game changing presence, having both will give every offensive coordinator nightmares. Then you add the fact that Vic Fangio is the one that gets to use them and you could easily see this defense bringing back memories of 2015.
Peyton Manning may have played that year but Brock Osweiler was frankly the guy who produced the best quarterback play for the Broncos. Joe Flacco may not be an elite starting quarterback, but he won a Super Bowl and in Denver he will have a decent running game and a possibly elite defense. One thing that is for certain is the Joe Flacco is MUCH better than Brock Osweiler. Denver will NOT win the Super Bowl, but they do have a better than 14/1 (Betfred, BetVictor) chance of winning the West.
Chiefs to win the AFC West @4/5 (Blacktype), otherwise Broncos to win the AFC West @14/1 (BetVictor, BetFred)
Image credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports & Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports