NFL divisional preview, predictions and odds
Excitement is in the air as the NFL season kicks off in less than a month. With so much excitement building, we look to Drew Butler and 2x Super Bowl Champ Jonathan Casillas to break down what to expect from this year's season. Read the article and watch the video below for projections and betting analysis for each of the eight divisions in the league.
AFC Conference breakdown
Let's kick off our analysis by diving into the AFC East, where the Miami Dolphins take the spotlight initially. Questions linger about the health of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who faced setbacks with a seven-game absence last season due to injury. If he can stay healthy, we think the Dolphins can be a real threat in this division and are a good value at +300. Shifting our focus, another contender in this division that can pose a threat is the New York Jets, currently listed at +275. The addition of Aaron Rodgers to their roster elevates their standing as a legitimate threat in the division. Despite the Bills having an impressive season, the issue of quarterback Josh Allen's turnovers has remained a point of contention. Nevertheless, we maintain the belief that if Josh Allen can turn the ball over less and the defense can continue to be as good as it was last season, then the Bills will run away with the AFC East as the valid favorite of +120 at BetOnline.ag.
Continuing our exploration into the 2023 NFL season, let's examine the AFC North division. The Bengals kick things off with +125 odds in their pursuit of the divisional title. Not far behind, the Ravens enter the scene with a respectable +250, while the Browns and Steelers hold their ground, odds of +400 and +460 respectively. Now, let's dive into the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a team that's caught our interest. Under the guidance of Mike Tomlin, the Steelers are shaping up as contenders. Kenny Pickett's poised to make a significant leap in his sophomore year, and the strength of their defense is certainly a force to reckon with. Our optimism leans toward the Steelers emerging as divisional victors. Meanwhile, the Ravens command our attention as well. With Lamar Jackson, an MVP-caliber player, leading the charge, and the recent addition of Odell Beckham Jr. to bolster their receiving corps, they've improved their offensive prowess. The emergence of Zay Flowers further spices up their options. While there's a minor cloud of uncertainty hovering over their defense, a solid defensive performance could very well tip the scales in favor of the Ravens for the division.
Shifting our focus to the AFC South division, the spotlight falls on the Jacksonville Jaguars, emerging as commanding favorites at -170 for divisional victory. The Titans stand strong at +300, and the Colts hold a respectable +600 position. And the longshot Texans present odds of +1100. Our favored contender to clinch the division title is the Titans. With two division wins in the last three years, their recent experience shines. Amidst the pack, the Jaguars and Titans seem poised for close competition, while the Colts and Texans face an uphill battle. Our bet? Titans securing the division crown at +300 odds.
Emerging as the front-runners the AFC West division, with a strong lead, are the Kansas City Chiefs at -165 odds at BetOnline and many of the top online sportsbooks. Following behind are the Chargers at +300, the Broncos at +575 and the Raiders at +1100. It's worth noting that the LA Chargers faced a series of narrow defeats last season, including two matchups against the Chiefs, where their losses were by a mere three points in each game. However, we think the Chargers can close out some of those games they were unable to last season. While the Chargers are an appealing choice for value, it's impossible to overlook the undeniable prowess of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Their consistent domination in recent years, as long as they stay healthy and maintain their performance levels, suggests they'll be hard to stop.
NFC Conference Preview
In the NFC East division, it’s hard to ignore last year’s conference champion, the Philadelphia Eagles. They have not only the division's top quarterback, but arguably the conference's best as well. With Jalen Hurts leading the charge, their running game holds strong, supported by a top-tier offensive line. The defense, which displayed its prowess with a whopping 70 sacks last season, could continue to be a formidable threat. Expecting a tight divisional race, where the Cowboys and even the Giants could be contenders, our pick for NFC East victory is the Eagles, favored at -125.
The NFC North division is one that has football betting enthusiasts talking. Taking the lead in the odds are the Detroit Lions at +140, closely followed by the Vikings at +300. The Packers trail not far behind at +325, with the Bears rounding out the field at +400. The Lions may hold the favored position, but the question remains, “Will they live up to the hype?” This division is riddled with uncertainties as we approach the upcoming season. The absence of Aaron Rodgers for the Packers and the introduction of Jordan Love as their leader loom as major question marks. Meanwhile, Justin Fields has exhibited considerable growth, inviting speculation about his potential to guide the Bears to an improved performance compared to the previous season. We lean toward the Lions. Their offensive talents are promising, complemented by an up-and-coming defense. Still, the Vikings at +300 deserve attention, especially considering their impressive thirteen wins from the previous season. Should the Lions fall short of their predicted performance, the division could pivot toward the Vikings without much resistance.
Shifting our focus, let's delve into the NFC South. Topping the odds are the Saints, leading the pack at +125. Close behind, we have the Falcons with +225 odds, followed by the Panthers at +325, and the Buccaneers bringing up the rear at +750. On our radar is the Saints. Since the retirement of Drew Brees, the team has grappled with quarterback transitions. Now with the addition of Derrick Carr, a seasoned quarterback with a history of leading teams to the playoffs, all eyes are on his performance. The Saints seem poised for success, with Carr potentially filling the last missing piece of their playoff puzzle. Our preference leans toward the Saints at +125.
Concluding our NFL divisional analysis, we turn our attention to the NFC West. Last season, the Seattle Seahawks, led by Geno Smith, seemed to capture lightning in a bottle. Similarly, the 49ers boasted an impressive season thanks to their formidable defense and consistent offensive performance. The Rams' prospects hinge on Matthew Stafford's ability to maintain his health, although our expectations for them, as well as the Cardinals, aren't nearly as high. San Francisco stands out with an unmatched defense in the NFL. Yet, a lingering question hangs in the air: “Who will take the reins as their quarterback?” Will it be Brock Purdy, who did not play in Week 1 of the preseason, or will Trey Lance or Sam Darnold start the season under center for the Niners? While uncertainty surrounds their quarterback position, we still see the San Francisco as clear contenders to win this division. Nevertheless, keep an eye on the Seahawks, a team that could quietly surge ahead and snatch the division title, if the 49ers stumble in their performance.