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NFL Betting: AFC Futures

Bookmaker.com AFC Gambling Odds

The confetti in Steeltown is still settling five months after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ run to the top of the AFC and eventual Super Bowl title.

The Steelers caught a lot of football bettors off guard last season. They were among the favorites to compete in the AFC, but with a wet-behind-the-ears coach and injuries to key players, sportsbook odds were quick to pass over Pittsburgh as a real contender.

The Steelers won’t be discounted this season. NFL betting odds have the defending world champs priced at -200 to win the AFC North and +550 to return to the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh, like every year, will be rooted in its defense. Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau will have his troops ready to duplicate last season’s top-rated stop unit.

On offense, the Steelers are crossing their fingers that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger makes it out of camp at 100 percent. He recently injured his knee during practice, and while the burly pivot is used to playing hurt bettors have to worry if all these injuries are starting to pile up.

Pittsburgh’s closest competition in the AFC North are the rival Baltimore Ravens at +225. The big story heading into this season will be quarterback Joe Flacco and whether or not he can avoid the sophomore slump.

Another AFC quarterback is drawing the majority of attention this offseason. Whether it be his rehab from multiple knee surgeries or his marriage to his supermodel girlfriend, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has the entire NFL holding its breath. With Brady back behind center, the Patriots are +300 favorites to win the AFC championship and -550 chalk to take the AFC East title.

If Brady isn’t hampered by the injury and gets his timing back with wideout Randy Moss, New England’s passing game should be back on top of the league. However, the Patriots’ reign in the AFC could be on the decline – gone are team leaders Rodney Harrison and Mike Vrabel from the defensive depth chart.

The betting odds for the rest of the AFC East are tight. The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are listed at +800 to win the division. Both teams improved their defense this offseason with the addition of veteran talent.

The AFC South became football’s most topsy-turvy division when the Tennessee Titans jumped to the top of the AFC and the Indianapolis Colts sputtered to start the year. Sportsbook odds are giving the Colts the benefit of the doubt, setting them as +105 favorites to regain their spot in the division.

New head coach Jim Caldwell is the man with the plan this season, taking over from Tony Dungy. Indianapolis’ bad start to 2008 had a lot to do with Manning’s offseason surgery, which hurt the offense’s timing. Manning is at full strength this year and will have the Colts firing on all cylinders by Week 1.

Priced at +250 to win the AFC South, the Titans are a dangerous wager. Veteran arm Kerry Collins had a career year at age 36 but is one hard sack away from retirement. The running duo of LenDale White and Chris Johnson is a combustible pairing, and the defense lost a major cog in Albert Haynesworth.

The AFC West is football’s weakest division – even more so now that Jay Cutler hightailed it for the Windy City. His abrupt departure from the Denver Broncos (+1000) has left the San Diego Chargers as the division’s lone conference contender. NFL odds have the Bolts listed as -780 favorites to win the division and at +550 to win the AFC title.

Chargers fans hope to have LaDainian Tomlinson back in MVP form this season. Last year, the explosive rusher was slowed by injuries and again missed a pivotal playoff game. While LT’s star might be fading, quarterback Philip Rivers, who was the top-rated QB last year, is becoming the toast of San Diego. The Chargers’ pass defense was horrible last season but will have leader Shawn Merriman back from injury and putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks along with partner Shaun Phillips.

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Comments

Comments

  1. It is hard for any Super Bowl team to repeat and with Pittsburgh this season will be no different.

    Despite some of the changes and departures in New England, you can never count them out. With the Patriots, it is all about the system and no so much about the players. That is why they are perennial contenders.

  2. The Pats will be tough to beat this year. I look for Tom Brady to have another MVP season.

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