The AFC North is not what we thought it was. Let’s look at the changing landscape of the division odds after week one of the NFL season.
The Browns hype bomb exploded on Sunday…
Sports Books everywhere had the Browns listed as favorites to win the NFC North Division this year. That was before the Titans came to Cleveland in week one and beat the Browns 43-13.
This was supposed to be the Browns division to lose after a stellar rookie campaign by QB Baker Mayfield, and a series of big off season moves including star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. joining the squad. The defense was supposed to be top ten in the league, and a a fresh start at head coach would be just what the doctor ordered for the Browns. A team accustomed to AFC North basement dwelling.
Now it is clear that these Browns are not the team to beat in the division. They looked discombobulated on both sides of the ball and Baker lacked the chemistry with Beckham that the media has been touting all off-season. It’s possible also that Beckham’s hip injury is worse than we are being told.
During the off-season, the Browns held court as the favorite to win the AFC North. Odds reached as low as $100 to win $120 (+120) if the Browns finished in first place. Sports Books wasted no time adjusting the division odds after the real Cleveland Browns stood up on Sunday and got crushed by Tennessee.
The loss combined with a dominant performance by the rival Ravens @ Miami, sent the Browns plopping into third place to win the division.
Current Odds: $100 to win $220 (+220) for Cleveland to win the AFC North @ Caesars Sports Book
Lamar Jackson is the real king of the North…
The Ravens spent the off season hovering around $100 to win $300 (+300) at most Sports Books, if they were to finish first in the AFC North this season. Props to the smart people who took advantage of what now looks like an asinine number on a Ravens team that almost went to the AFC Championship last year. The Ravens also feature the most unique offensive weapon in the game with Lamar Jackson at QB. Adding a veteran running back in Mark Ingram looks like a great move, and by the best and most experienced head coach in the division. Also, surprise, the Ravens defense is really good.
It looks apparent now that there is no real comparison between Mayfield and Jackson. The same can be said about the Browns and the Ravens chances to win the AFC North division. The Ravens will almost certainly finish with a better record than the Browns, and should give Freddie Kitchens and company fits in two head to head match ups.
When it comes to Lamar Jackson, Baker may need to hold on the ‘me vs. him’ talk until the Browns next over hyped off-season.
Jackson is a star, and the Ravens look like a major contender. Sports Books agree, moving them from third to first atop the AFC North Division Odds.
Current Odds: $100 to win $175 (+175) for Baltimore to win the AFC North @ SugarHouse Sports Book
Do the Steelers know that the season started?
The Steelers looked like a team that didn’t know it was playing a real game against the real Super Bowl Champions on Sunday night in New England. They scored 3 points on offense and their lauded defense could not stop Brady and co. Coach Mike Tomlin (per the usual) made awful decisions throughout the game. The result was a 33-3 beat down at the hands of the Patriots and a lingering feeling of doom and gloom for Steeler fans everywhere.
Pittsburgh didn’t need to win this game, but they did need to show up and actually try. They also needed to make moves in the off season rather than focus on the shedding of their locker room baggage. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are gone now, but the Steelers have failed to replace them.
James Conner should not be a starting RB in the NFL and JuJu might not be a number one receiver without Brown to draw coverage away. Donte Moncrief and James Washington are clearly not suitable weapons for a championship run or even for the XFL.
Perhaps the Steelers have a free agent move or trade up their sleeve? (Melvin Gordon or Adrian Peterson in black and gold?).
Going into week one, the Steelers held second place in the AFC North Division odds. Payouts for Pittsburgh reached as low as $100 to win $150 (+150) at most Sports Books. The Odds have changed drastically following the embarrassment of Sunday Night.
Current Odds: $100 to win $180 (+180) for Pittsburgh to win the AFC North @ SugarHouse Sports Book
The Bengals also play in this division…
In case you forgot, the Cincinnati Bengals are card carrying members of the AFC North division. Many experts predict the Bengals to be the worst team in the NFL this year, but Sunday told a different story.
The Bengals showed determination and grit. They took an early lead, then almost held on to win the game against in a tough spot at Seattle.
Andy Dalton and the Bengals look like a team that could steal a few games from contenders this year, and the book makers noticed. The Bengals came into week one with the highest payout to win the division at $100 to win $2000 (+2000) at most Sports Books. Their odds have subsided a bit after the strong showing in Seattle.
Current Odds: $100 to win $1600 (+1600) for Cleveland to win the AFC North @ Caesars Sports Book
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