Odds To Win AFC NorthJosh Bailey
The Pittsburgh Steelers are favored to win their second straight AFC North title in 2017, but can Ben Roethlisberger and company fulfill their status as division favorites or will one of their longtime rivals pull off the upset to beat out the Steelers for division supremacy this coming season?
If you’ve got questions, then I’ve got answers. Now, let’s get to it people!
What Are The 2017 Odds To Win The AFC North?
Pittsburgh Steelers -165
The Steelers (11-5 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) won the AFC North and eventually reached the AFC Championship game before falling to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Now, as they get set for the upcoming 2017 campaign, the Steelers are looking for nothing less than a Super Bowl appearance and it could happen.
Lest anyone forget, Pittsburgh has one of the game’s best offensive trios in running back Le’Veon Bell, wide receiver Antonio Brown and future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh will also have troubled, but talented, wide receiver Martavis Bryant back on the field after he missed all of 2016 with a drug-related suspension.
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) August 30, 2017
The Steelers ranked seventh in total offense in 2016 and 11th in scoring (24.9 ppg) while also finishing 10th in points allowed last season (20.4 ppg). I also like Pittsburgh’s 2017 draft additions of play-making Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt, USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Pittsburgh running back James Conner. The Steelers are the favorite for a reason.
Cincinnati Bengals +355
After not giving the Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1 SU, 6-10 O/U) much of a shot to beat out Pittsburgh for the division title in 2017, I’ve revised my thinking and now believe that the Bengals could be the team to beat in the AFC North.
Despite finishing a dismal 24th in scoring last season (20.3 ppg), Cincinnati could have one of the best offenses in the league this coming season after nabbing speedy Washington wide receiver John Ross with the ninth overall pick in the draft and a player that could turn out to be the steal of the draft in polarizing former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon.
Cincinnati struggled a bit defensively last season but came up big when it came to keeping their opponents out of the end zone by finishing eighth in points allowed (19.7 ppg). The Bengals have won two of the last four AFC North division titles and could make it another in 2017.
Baltimore Ravens +395
After missing out on reaching the postseason for the second straight season and third time in the last four years, the Baltimore Ravens are looking for nothing less than a playoff berth in 2017. The bad news is that it looks like starting quarterback Joe Flacco could start the season on the injured reserve list, but nobody really knows right now how significant his shoulder injury is as the Ravens keep a tight lid on his status. Whatever the case is with Flacco, Baltimore definitely needs to put more points on the board after finishing 21st in scoring (21.4 ppg) in 2016. Strangely enough, Baltimore went heavy on defense in the NFL Draft despite ranking an encouraging ninth in points allowed (20.1 ppg). The Ravens have some serious question marks at wide receiver but they did sign veteran running back Danny Woodhead and that should help the sort passing attack if nothing else.
Cleveland Browns +6000
The Browns (1-15 SU, 3-12-1 ATS) may have won just one game last year, but I love what they did in the NFL Draft by adding three players in the first round that could all start right away in defensive end Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall draft pick, strong safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njoku.
The Browns also may have pulled off a coup by drafting quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second round, although their trade to acquire awful veteran signal-caller Brock Osweiler was completely and absolutely foolish. Cleveland upgraded their offensive line in free agency and really, had a fine offseason overall. One thing’s for sure. After finishing 31st in scoring (16.5 ppg) and 30th in points allowed (28.3 ppg) the Browns have nowhere to go but up in 2017, even if their improvements won’t result in a division title.
AFC North Winner Pick
As I stated earlier, I was going to pick the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the AFC North in 2017, but after seeing the moves that Cincinnati made this offseason, I really like the Bengals to bounce back from their dismal 2016 season. Cincy has won two of the last four division titles and they’re my pick to make it three out of five in 2017.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals