- The Chiefs (+340) and Ravens (+350) are the heavy favorites to win the AFC championship
- The Bills (+1000) and Colts (+1000) need great seasons from Josh Allen and Philip Rivers to have any chance to contend
- Pittsburgh (+1200) has a loaded defense and a healthy, in-shape Ben Roethlisberger
Unlike over in the NFC, no longshots have won the AFC championship in recent years, which makes perfect sense given the Patriots have played in four of the past six Super Bowls.
Just as the conference was dominated by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for decades, it now looks like another generational duo, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, will provide a roadblock for all other AFC franchises for the foreseeable future.
Let’s review the odds and place our bets on a few teams who could give the Ravens and Chiefs a run for their money.
ODDS TO WIN AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
|Kansas City Chiefs||+340|
|New England Patriots||+1000|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+2500|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+3000|
|New York Jets||+5000|
CHIEFS AND RAVENS UNSTOPPABLE?
In a league where it’s all too common for atrocious coaching and dumbfounded organizational decision-making to derail player performance, it’s both refreshing and wonderful to see Mahomes and Jackson in the perfect spots to capitalize on their spectacular talents.
Kansas City (+340) used the offseason to lock up a number of key pieces (Chris Jones, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Mahomes himself) and drafted Rookie of the Year contender Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round, giving Andy Reid yet another weapon to play with.
— NFL (@NFL) August 10, 2020
Meanwhile, Baltimore (+350) traded for Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell and added more firepower to the league’s best rushing attack with J.K. Dobbins.
Questionable quarterback play make both Buffalo and Indianapolis poor values at +1000, and there are no longshots with odds over 25-1 that are particularly appetizing. However, there is a juicy middle-tier of clubs to explore.
CONTENDERS FOR AFC THRONE
It’s hard to rule out Bill Belichick and the Patriots (+1000), even after the free-agent departure of Tom Brady and COVID-19 opt-outs by defensive stalwarts Patrick Chung and Dont’a Hightower.
Cam Newton teaming up with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is reason enough to believe they can top the Bills in the AFC East, but New England looks to be lacking the talent required to win another Super Bowl.
— PFF PIT Steelers (@PFF_Steelers) August 12, 2020
The Steelers (+1200) have been our favorite bet all offseason. Sure, Ben Roethlisberger’s best days may be behind him, but if he can turn back the clock, he should put up plenty of points throwing to JuJu Smith Schuster and sophomore receiver Diontae Johnson.
Keep in mind that the 38-year-old is only a year removed from setting career-highs in passing yards (5,129) and touchdowns (34), and says he’s in the best shape of his 15-year career.
NFL analytics expert Warren Sharp loves the Browns (+1600) to rebound in 2020 under new coach Kevin Stefanski. With a beefed up offensive line and league-best rushing tandem in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Cleveland is a solid bet to make the playoffs but a Super Bowl appearance is a bridge too far.