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Patriots Remain Heavy Favorite to Win AFC East

If I had told you there would be three teams with winning records in the AFC East after Week 7, you may have had me committed. The Patriots, Bills and Dolphins are all playing winning football just before the halfway point of the season and suddenly the most secure wager in all of NFL futures might be making bettors sweat.

That being said, don’t hit the panic button yet if you took the New England Patriots to win the AFC East. They currently lead the division as expected at 5-2, and online sportsbook Bovada isn’t worried either, listing them as a whopping -2000 favorite.

The concern for the Patriots’ reign at the top of the AFC East is their defense. An alarming statistic is that their pass defense has allowed over 310 passing yards per game this season, the worst in the league. They’re vulnerable in shootouts and can be exploited with the big play. The Pats still have five divisional games left, including two each against the Bills and Dolphins.

Buffalo may be the biggest surprise in the division considering their receiving corps is headlined by rookie Zay Jones and oft-injured Jordan Matthews. After trading away No. 1 receiver Sammy Watkins and stocking up on draft picks for the upcoming draft, experts predicted regression for the Bills in 2017. With a 4-2 record, the Bills obviously didn’t get the memo. They pay +1000 to win the AFC East for the first time since 1995 and would be my sleeper pick to upset the Pats’ reign at the top.

The Dolphins’ trend of winning ugly against opponents can’t possibly continue. The Fins are also 4-2 this season and the only team in the NFL with a winning record that is allowing more points than it has scored. Quarterback Matt Moore is expected to take the reins in the short term as signal-caller and should be an upgrade over the moody Jay Cutler. At odds of +1800, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze to place a wager on Miami to surpass New England.

Finally, the New York Jets started the season with a 2.5 win expectancy, so the bright side is they exceeded expectations.  The downside is they gave San Francisco and Cleveland a three-game head start to securing the No. 1 pick of the draft and getting their quarterback of the future. With the Jets paying out at +5000, bettors should steer clear of this squad.

Odds to Win 2017 AFC East Division
New England Patriots-2000
Buffalo Bills+1000
Miami Dolphins+1800
New York Jets+5000

Odds as of October 25 at Bovada

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The NFL has a reputation as a league that offers a fair amount of parity. Eight teams winning the Super Bowl in the last 10 years is evidence of that. One result that’s become a virtual lock, however, is the Patriots to win the AFC East — something they’ve done in eight straight years and in 13 of the last 14. Oddsmakers are expecting the NFL’s most dependable trend to continue this season as New England is a -1000 favorite to win the division, which makes them by far the biggest favorite in division futures markets.

In the buildup to the new season, we’ll hear a lot about how the defending Super Bowl champs got better in the offseason. Adding Brandin Cooks to an already efficient receiving corps will give the offense a huge boost while Stephon Gilmore will join Malcolm Butler to form one of the league’s most elite cornerback duos. It seems unfair that the league’s most dominant franchise is able to add two high-level skill players on the cusp of their primes, but this is the annoying ‘Patriot Way’ that we’ve grown accustomed to.

At -1000, there’s not a whole lot of profit to be made, but this is an extremely low-risk wager. Even if Tom Brady goes down, New England has two capable backups who can step in and play the quarterback position as well as many of the starters in the league. If this is a bet you want to cash in on, I recommend parlaying it with some other wagers.

With the next-best odds to win the division is one of last season’s AFC wild cards, the Miami Dolphins, at +1000. Their odds doubled from +500 after Ryan Tannehill went down and was replaced by Jay Cutler. The Dolphins had their first winning season since 2008 last year and appear to be moving in the right direction under head coach Adam Gase. They swept the Bills and Jets in 2016, but were unable to get a W vs New England. The Dolphins improved on both sides of the ball last season, scoring more points and allowing fewer than the previous season.

As for the Bills and Jets — forget about it, move on, there’s nothing to see here. Actually, the Bills can be had at +1200 and Jets are at +5000 to win the division, but neither bet is worth considering. New Bills head coach Sean McDermott will be tasked with turning around a team that can’t get over the hump. The last time they won the division was in 1995 and they’ve seen their win total decrease in consecutive seasons. Speaking of win totals, the only bet worth making on the Jets this season is the UNDER on their O/U season win total. Look for them to be at the bottom of the league and, as a result, at the top of the draft board for the 2018 draft.

Odds to Win 2017 AFC East Division
New England Patriots-1000
Miami Dolphins+1000
Buffalo Bills+1200
New York Jets+5000

Odds as of September 1 at Bovada

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The AFC East has belonged to the New England Patriots seemingly forever, and that’s looking like the case once again in 2016.

The Patriots are astronomical -7500 favorites to win the division at Bovada, with the Buffalo Bills (+1400), Miami Dolphins (+4000) and New York Jets (+6600) well back.

New England has won the AFC East in 12 of the last 13 years, with the lone exception coming in Miami’s 2008 triumph when Tom Brady was sidelined for the campaign.

Simply put, there’s absolutely no value in backing the Pats in this regard. If you were to place $100 on Tom Brady and company to hoist the banner, you’d collect a measly $1.33. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see how it plays out.

Heading into Week 9, New England reigned supreme at 7-1 SU. Buffalo (4-4), Miami (3-4) and New York (3-5) are going to have to pull off a miracle to usurp the Patriots at this point.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell angered Tom Brady after the never-ending Deflategate saga came to a close, and the veteran quarterback hasn’t missed a beat since returning to action in Week 5. Brady has tossed for 1,319 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with no interceptions in four games.

If you’re confident the Pats can once again find success in the postseason, check out our AFC odds and Super Bowl futures pages to find a better price.

2016 AFC East Champion Odds

Odds as of November 2 at Bovada

  • New England Patriots -7500
  • Buffalo Bills +1400
  • Miami Dolphins +4000
  • New York Jets +6600

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The AFC East has been on lockdown for more than a decade with the Patriots winning all but one division crown in the last 13 seasons.

Is this the year the foundation on the house that Belichick built finally crumbles? Probably not. Although Brady will not appeal his four-game suspension the Patriots still have the most complete team in the division and are one of the best-coached teams in the NFL.

The preseason will be a good indicator for what we can expect from Jimmy Garoppolo as Brady’s replacement but even if the Patriots go 0-4 in the absence of their No. 1 gunslinger, they will still have a good shot to win the division. I don’t, however, expect them to go winless without No. 12 and I don’t expect anyone else to win this division.

Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills finished 8-8 last year but lost five of those games by eight points or less and will have a healthy Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy this season. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is an emerging star in the league and in his first full campaign as a starter he threw for 3035 yards with a 20:6 touchdown to interception ratio and added 568 yards and four touchdowns with his feet. Rex has eased off the playoff guarantees and has publicly said that he’s realistic about how the team will do this year. It is possible, though, he is being tempered by ownership.

New York finally has its quarterback situation figured out as they have come to terms with Ryan Fitzpatrick and can now focus on the season at hand. The Jets have +500 odds to take the division after a 10-6 season in which they narrowly missed the playoffs. They will welcome former Bears' running back Matt Forte to a backfield that rushed for 116.8 yards per game last year. The Jets could make the playoffs with a team that hasn’t gotten any worse but winning the division is a stretch for me – expect another 8-8, 9-7, 10-6 type of season.

The Dolphins trail the pack in the division odds after an extremely active offseason that saw them hire Adam Gase as their head coach and pick up several free agents including the oft-injured Kiko Alonso and Arian Foster. Miami is still a year or two away from competing with the best teams in the league and the +1000 odds do nothing to entice a bet from me.

2016-17 AFC East Champion Odds

Odds as of August 10 at BetOnline

  • New England Patriots -225
  • Buffalo Bills +500
  • New York Jets +500
  • Miami Dolphins +1000

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Until something drastic changes, the AFC East will go through New England. The Patriots have won the division 12 of the past 13 seasons with their lone unsuccessful campaign coming when Tom Brady missed the entire 2008 season.

The Pats are -200 favorites to win the AFC East once again, which is the second largest favorite to win a division behind the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. New England will be without Tom Brady for the first four games of the season after a federal court upheld his deflategate suspension, but that looks like the best time of year for the future hall of famer to miss. The Pats will be at home for three of those four games and two of them will be against teams that finished .500 or worse last year.

The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills both come in a +475. The Jets made some shrewd moves during the offseason – particularly nabbing Ryan Clady from the Broncos – but still have no quarterback. The Bills went hard after defense in the NFL draft and landed Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland who will likely be starting sooner rather than later.

Then there is the Miami Dolphins. The Fins managed to nab one of the hottest names in the coaching market by inking Adam Gase who will likely take one crack at the can to get Ryan Tannehill to be anything more than okay. If that doesn’t happen, expect a bad year and a first round quarterback next season.

2016-17 AFC East Champion Odds

Odds as of May 6 at BetOnline

  • New England Patriots -200
  • Buffalo Bills +475
  • New York Jets +475
  • Miami Dolphins +900