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Odds to Win the AFC North: Ravens Favored in Competitive Division

Mark Andrews of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after scoring a touchdown.

At the start of the season, sportsbooks were projecting the Baltimore Ravens to run away with the AFC North early. Through four weeks of play, the Ravens remain the favorites, but a pair of division rivals are within striking distance on odds lists.

The Ravens are the -190 favorites to win the North for the third year in a row, followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers (+250) and Cleveland Browns (+550). The Cincinnati Bengals are well back of the pack at +7000.

Given the hot starts of the Steelers (3-0), Ravens (3-1) and Browns (3-1), pundits around the league have started to wonder if the AFC North is the best division in football. If you’re looking for value in betting division futures, the AFC North is the division for it.

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Odds to Win the AFC North

2020 AFC North Odds
TeamCurrent OddsOpening Odds
Baltimore Ravens-190-400
Pittsburgh Steelers+250+375
Cleveland Browns+550+450
Cincinnati Bengals+7000+2200

Odds as of October 9 at Bovada

Ravens Haven’t Played Up to Their Lofty Standards

Baltimore has three wins under its belt, but the Ravens haven’t played their best football so far and have yet to look like the juggernaut that won 14 games a year ago.

Lamar Jackson entered the campaign as the reigning NFL MVP. Through four games, Jackson has performed well but is still looking to connect better on the deep ball. The Louisville product has completed just five of 16 deep passes, but he’s still a dangerous threat to break open any game on the ground. Simply put, the Ravens will go as far as Jackson can take them.

Big Ben Has the Steelers Back on Track

The Steelers received an early bye week due to positive COVID-19 tests among their Week 4 opponents, the Tennessee Titans, and go into Week 5 still undefeated.

Pittsburgh’s defense was one of the best units in the NFL in 2019, and the defense has picked up where it left off. The Steelers blitz more than any other defense in the NFL, with T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree combining for six sacks in three games. Pittsburgh leads the league by a wide margin in pressure rating, disrupting the quarterback on 46.5 percent of dropbacks. 

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down at 38 while creating excellent chemistry with his young receiving corps. The black and gold will be in tough to beat out the Ravens, but I like the +250 value on them quite a bit.

Browns’ Offensive Line is Powering Cleveland’s Offense

The Browns made upgrading their weak offensive line a priority in the offseason, a decision that’s paid dividends through the first month of the season. Cleveland ranks second in the NFL in team run-block win rate and leads the league in rushing as a result.

Running back Nick Chubb is going to miss an extended period with a sprained MCL, but Kareem Hunt is more than up to the task of handling solo duties. Baker Mayfield has rebounded from an ugly 2019 showing, meaning the Browns could be in the playoff conversation soon.

Burrow Has Bengals’ Future Looking Bright

The highlight of the Bengals through four weeks is undoubtedly rookie Joe Burrow.

The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft has thrown 177 times through four games, which ranks second in the league. He’s been up to the task, completing 68 percent of his passes while throwing for at least 300 yards in three straight games, the first rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

Cincinnati’s offensive line ranks as one of the worst in the league, so Burrow will be forced to keep airing it out as the year goes on. The Bengals aren’t built to win now and have plenty of holes throughout the roster, but their QB position is set under Burrow.


How to Read AFC North Odds

Before you make a bet – we’ll get to that in a bit – you’ll need to understand how odds work. In the case of the AFC North, sportsbooks will list the betting lines like this:

Baltimore Ravens -300

Pittsburgh Steelers +500

Cleveland Browns +700

Cincinnati Bengals +100000

In this scenario, the Ravens are the clear favorite since they have a minus sign (-). The rest of the teams are underdogs. You can tell this by the plus sign (+).

Let’s imagine that you believe Baltimore is going to win the AFC North. If you were to bet $125 on them, you’d get a payout of $166.67 – your original $125 is returned along with your winnings of $41.67. Conversely, that same $125 on the Browns would give you $1,000 – you get your $125 back coupled with your loot of $875.

Dogs will give you bigger returns because there’s more risk involved. But, don’t bet on them blindly. When oddsmakers set the odds, they take into consideration players and coaches, schedule and past performances. If a team has +100000 odds, it’s for a good reason.

Check out our Odds Calculator to see how much you’d win based on the odds and bet amount.

What is an NFL Divisional Futures Bet?

A futures bet is a wager made on events that will take place in time. Technically, all sports bets are made on events that have yet to happen. However, you can bet futures weeks or even months in advance of the season starting. For instance, you can bet on the odds to win the AFC North in August as soon as the lines are released.

As the season progresses, the odds will move to reflect injuries, staffing changes and trades. If you see lines you like, take them as early as you can before the odds shift so much that they’re not viable.