NFL Betting Division Trends -- Lamar Jackson's Ravens are featured.

NFL Division Betting Trends: Money To Be Made In AFC North

NFL futures are some of the most exciting wagers in sports, and division winner tickets are a great way to call your shot on an undervalued young team or a stacked favorite that you can’t see losing.

Looking at the last 10 years of divisional futures betting, it is apparent that not all divisions are created equal when comparing divisions like the AFC North and AFC East. Dominance in some divisions is offset by complete parity and mayhem in others. We’ve identified the most outstanding trends while discovering the most unlikely division winners and losers along the way.

Least Competitive – AFC East

The preseason betting favorite has won the division in 14 consecutive seasons, with the chalk priced at plus-money in just one of those campaigns. There is one team, mainly two men, who are primarily responsible for this lack of divisional parity -- as you can imagine.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick only failed to win the division in two seasons together, the first when they missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record in 2002. The second being the 2008 season that disrupts the 14-year streak saw Brady play just one game after suffering a knee injury in the season opener.

The end of Brady’s reign in the East brought an unlikely heir to the divisional throne.

The Buffalo Bills limped through the 2010s, failing to win the division once during the decade. The emergence of Josh Allen coupled with weak competition from the Jets and Dolphins has created a perfect storm allowing the Bills to win three consecutive division banners, losing just 12 games over those seasons.

The Bills are favored at +125 to win their fourth consecutive divisional title, making them the first plus-money AFC East favorite since the 2010 Patriots.

Odds To Win NFL - AFC East Division 2024-25
Buffalo Bills+150
Miami Dolphins+190
NY Jets+200
New England Patriots+2000

Odds as of May 4th, 2024 19:41pm EDT.

The new Aaron Rodgers-led Jets are priced at +240 to take the division, while the explosive Dolphins return +290. These odds suggest that the AFC East is now set to become one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL.

Most Competitive – AFC North 

What the AFC East lacks in plus-money favorites (value) and upsets, the AFC North makes up for in spades.

Over the past 10 seasons, the preseason favorite has been minus-money only three times, with the 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers being the only one of those teams that went on to win the division. During that span, only two preseason favorites won the AFC North, and the parity was clear as the Bengals and Steelers each picked up four titles while the Ravens added two.

The clear exception is the Browns and their lack of success in recent years as they’ve finished last in the division in eight of the last 12 seasons, failing to place higher than third and making the playoffs just once -- ouch.

This division truly is the anti-AFC East, in which the Browns act as the Patriots, penciled into their spot while other three teams compete.

The North is as wide open as ever in 2023, as the Bengals, Ravens, and Browns all sit within striking distance and the ever-competitive Steelers boast the shortest odds of any projected fourth place AFC team.

Odds To Win NFL - AFC North Division 2024-25
Baltimore Ravens+120
Cincinnati Bengals+175
Cleveland Browns+600
Pittsburgh Steelers+600

Odds as of May 20th, 2024 08:38am EDT.

Longest Win – 2015 Washington Commanders

The 2015 Washington Commanders won the NFC East as a +3500 preseason longshot.

The Kirk Cousins-led offense was headlined by running back Alfred Morris and receiving “weapons” Jordan Reed, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder who all failed to record 1,000 yards from scrimmage. The Commanders did have one All-Pro player in Trent Williams; their otherwise unimpressive roster was able to advantage of the shortfalls of their divisional rivals.

The Eagles were preseason favorites at -130, but their new-look roster did not perform after shedding players like LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles in favor of DeMarco Murray and Sam Bradford.

The Dallas Cowboys were priced at +160 to win the division, but their campaign was derailed by the injury and re-injury of Tony Romo’s collarbone as the star quarterback appeared in just four games and the Cowboys crawled to a fourth place finish at 4-12.

Worst Loss – 2015 Indianapolis Colts

As -550 favorites to win the AFC South, a lot had to go wrong for Indy to miss the playoffs. It was Andrew Luck versus Blake Bortles, Brian Hoyer, and rookie Marcus Mariota. How could they lose?

Luckily for their divisional rivals, namely Houston, things in Indianapolis did not go according to plan. Andrew Luck missed nine games due to injury, and turned in his worst career season when healthy, winning just 2-of-7 games and throwing a career high 4.1% interception rate.

The Colts’ season can be summarized using one infamous special teams play that they attempted during Week 6 when the Patriots visited Lucas Oil Stadium, commonly known as the Colts Catastrophe.

The 2015 season’s struggles would go on to harm the Colts in the long run, as Andrew Luck’s  injuries were the first that ever caused him to miss time, likely marking the beginning of the end as he played just two more seasons before prematurely retiring.

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