The AFC North could very well be the premier division in the NFL this season, with three teams legitimately vying for the top spot. Last season, the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers all made the playoffs, with the Browns defeating the Steelers and the Ravens advancing over the Tennessee Titans.
In this article, I will take a look at the 2021 AFC North Odds and pick a winner from the division. Let’s dive into each team and see which one checks off the most boxes.
|NFC North Teams||Odds By Caesars Sportsbook|
2021 AFC North Odds Analysis
Baltimore Ravens Odds To Win AFC North (+120)
If there’s one team that I’m excited about in this division, it’s certainly the Ravens. QB Lamar Jackson is only one season removed from his 2020 MVP campaign, and the hope is that he can return to that form. Many would tell you that last season was a failure, but I’ll take 26 TD-9 INT and 1,000+ yards rushing any day of the week. The expectation is that RB J.K. Dobbins will take the next step in his career and create an amazing 1-2 punch for years to come.
Of course, the defense is always going to play a big part for their Ravens. Their stigma speaks for themselves, of playing hard-nosed defense and smart, efficient football. Last season, Baltimore’s defense allowed the seventh-most total yards per game.
As the slight favorites in the AFC North, we should expect the Ravens to make the playoffs at around 11-5 or 10-6. The +120 price is fair on the Ravens, but there’s also not much value there. Regardless, this is probably the best play on the board.
Cleveland Browns Odds To Win AFC North (+145)
I’m not completely sold on QB Baker Mayfield, but this is one of the better rosters in the NFL coming into the season. In 2020, Cleveland completely revamped its offensive line and that paid off huge dividends for the two-headed RB combo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. WR Odell Beckham Jr will be back from another season-ending injury and hopefully, this time around goes better.
Cleveland not only upgraded its offensive line in 2020, but it also got more pieces on the defensive side of the ball. Those additions were good enough to bring the Browns’ defense right around league-average, so there is certainly some room for improvement if they are going to win the AFC North.
The Browns’ odds are right where they should be, considering the improvements the team has made in each of the last two seasons. I would not be surprised if Cleveland is playing for the division win in the final week of the season. However, they are still not my favorite team in the division.
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds To Win AFC North (+400)
The argument can be made that no team has fallen further from grace than the Steelers. Last season ended with an embarrassing loss at home in the Divisional Round against the Browns, who stormed into town and took what they wanted. QB Ben Roethlisberger has been declining in health more and more each season; without him, Pittsburgh isn’t going far in the playoffs. Then again, Big Ben could be getting too old to make a difference.
In the 2021 Draft, the Steelers took RB Najee Harris and the hope is that he’ll be the Le’Veon Bell for this franchise. A three-down back will always take plenty of pressure off an aging QB. Pittsburgh has plenty of depth at the skill-player positions, and getting the ball to those guys is of the utmost importance.
The Steelers’ defense is led by TJ Watt, along with many other talented players that will make life difficult on opposing offenses. of course, the fate of Pittsburgh lies on Roethlisberger’s shoulders and staying healthy. If he’s on the field, that’ll work well in unison with the rest of the talented team. It’s amazing how one player can make or break a season, but that is certainly the case for the Steelers. At the end of the day, though, Big Ben’s track record of health is not trending in the right direction.
Cincinnati Bengals Odds To Win AFC North (+2500)
The Bengals have the worst odds to win the AFC North for plenty of good reasons. For one, they just simply don’t match up in talent with the rest of the teams in this division. QB Joe Burrow will look to come back from a season-ending injury in 2020 and try to at least make Cincinnati a competitive team. The Bengals did draft WR Ja’Marr Chase, a former teammate of Burrow’s at LSU. He’ll enter a very talented group of skill-position players, including fellow WRs Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, in addition to RB Joe Mixon also returning from a season-ending injury.
To the surprise of many, the Bengals’ defense will be better than anticipated. Cincinnati has a very talented secondary, led by William Jackson and Jessie Bates III. We shouldn’t expect the Bengals to win many games this season, but look for them to cover the spread in a lot of these games early on.
Expert Pick To Win 2021 The AFC North
As mentioned at the top, I’m rolling with the favorite in the AFC North. Jackson is poised to have another big season, and Dobbins is ready to share the workload. Baltimore is always one of the best-coached teams in the NFL. Not to mention, it has the greatest kicker in NFL history in Justin Tucker. All around, the Ravens are always sound, so that experience will almost always win out in the end.