Betting NFL Division Futures
Will the New England Patriots ever – not – win the AFC East? Can the Pittsburgh Steelers live up to their preseason status as favorites to win the AFC North? With three teams recording winning records a year ago, who’s the pick to bag the AFC West crown in 2017?
Over in the NFC, can the Dallas Cowboys overcome the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott to backup up their NFC Divisional Odds to repeat as East champs?
Can the Atlanta Falcons rebound from their Super Bowl heartbreak to win the NFC South for the second straight season? Will anyone challenge Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North?
If you’re gearing up for the quickly approaching 2017 NFL regular season and you’re wondering which teams stand the best chances of winning their respective divisions this coming season, then wonder no more! So let’s review what teams offer the best value as the eight picks to win each division in 2017.
New England Patriots -700
Maybe it’s me, but I’m starting to find it a bit sickening that no one can rival the New England Patriots for division supremacy in the pitiful AFC East. The Miami Dolphins would rather sign a veteran like Jay Cutler rather than give a clearly better quarterback like Colin Kaepernick an opportunity.
The Buffalo Bills surprisingly traded away their top wide receiver and cornerback for almost nothing just weeks before the start of the regular season and the New York jets have no idea who their starting quarterback will be this season.
Make no mistake about it, Tom Brady and company are absolute locks to win the AFC East for the ninth straight season and 15th time in the last 16 years overall.
Kansas City Chiefs +180
The Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs are both +180 picks to win the AFC West in 2017 after both won 12 games last season, but for me, I like the Chiefs to win back-to-back division titles mostly because they have an outstanding defense and Oakland doesn’t.
Sure, veteran quarterback Alex Smith isn’t going to ever beat anyone with his arm, but the Chiefs have a defense that can keep them in every game no matter who they’re playing and get just enough offensive production to be successful.
Yes, Derek Carr and the blossoming Raiders get all kinds of national attention because of their prolific offense, but they were less than mediocre defensively last season and I don’t believe they’ve improved on that side of the ball enough to supplant the Chiefs as division champs.
Cincinnati Bengals +220
I picked the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the AFC North as a -140 favorite, but right now, I’m starting to think the Cincinnati Bengals are a better choice at +220 after they made a series of really ‘smart’ moves this offseason.
The Bengals drafted lightning fast wide receiver John Ross with the ninth overall pick in the draft and got a player that could end up being the steal of the draft (besides Deshaun Watson) in former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon with the 48th overall pick.
The Bengals ranked an outstanding eighth in points allowed last season (19.7 ppg) and now look like they’ll have one of the most explosive offenses in the league in 2017. Suddenly, I like Cincy for the division upset.
Tennessee Titans +180
The Houston Texans have gone 9-7 in three straight seasons and are favored to win the AFC South in 2017 after bagging the division title in each of the last two seasons. However, I’m going with Marcus Mariota and a Tennessee Titans team that also won nine games a year ago to nearly win the division and reach the playoffs.
he Titans finished the 2016 campaign ranked a solid 11th in total offense and 14th in scoring (23.8 ppg) and had one of the best drafts of any team in the league by adding two players with superstar potential in former Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick and stud cornerback/returner Adoree Jackson with the 18th overall pick.
New York Giants
For me, it doesn’t really matter that the Dallas Cowboys are going to be without star running back Ezekiel Elliott for the first six games of the regular season. I already picked Eli Manning and the New York Giants to win the division in 2017 after going 11-5 last season, thanks mostly to their stupendous defense.
The G-men were phenomenal in limiting the opposition to just 17.8 points per game to rank second in points allowed and I believe their offseason additions will help improve an offense that mostly coughed and sputtered when Manning wasn’t throwing the ball to Odell Beckham Jr. The Cowboys may have gone 13-3 last season, but that’s not happening again in 2017 and neither is a repeat as division champs.
Seattle Seahawks -350
While I’m expecting a nice, bounce-back campaign from Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals after they saw their two-year playoff streak get snapped in 2016, Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are the easy pick to win the NFC West as a -350 favorite.
While Seattle struggled offensively and put up just 22.1 points per game (18th) last season, the Seahawks were still very dominant on the defensive side of the ball in finishing fifth in total defense, eighth against the pass, seventh against the run and third in points allowed (18.2 ppg).
I like Seattle’s offseason addition of veteran running back Eddie Lacy and I believe he will help them get back to being the power rushing team they were with Marshawn Lynch on the roster a few years ago.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are the easy pick to win the NFC North for the second straight season and sixth time in the last seven seasons overall. While I like some of the moves the Minnesota Vikings made and love their addition of running back Dalvin Cook, Mike Zimmer just doesn’t open up his offense enough for them to be a real threat to Green Bay’s supremacy.
As far as the Detroit Lions are concerned, I’m pretty sure they’re going to get head coach Jim Caldwell fired this season after performing one of their yearly nose dives, generally late in the regular season. The Packers are the pick to win the NFC North.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +300
The Atlanta falcons are favored to win the division after reaching Super Bowl 51 last season, but I’m not real sure they’re going to bounce back from their Super Bowl heartbreak the way they hope to. I like the Carolina Panthers to get back to being a playoff participant, but it is Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that I’m going with for the division win in the NFC South.
Not only did the Bucs go 9-7 last season, but they made some really smart moves this offseason by adding fleet-footed veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson and rookie tight end O.J. Howard to pair with Pro Bowl wideout Mike Evans. They’re a bit of a longshot to win their own division, but the NFC South is generally very competitive and I see no reason Tampa Bay can’t make a bold statement by claiming the division crown in 2017.