- We’re through the first four weeks of the 2019 NFL season
- The team who opened as the favorite is no longer favored to win three of eight divisions
- See the best bets to win each division
What happened to September?! It seemed like just yesterday I was a bright-eyed Broncos fan ready for Vic Fangio to turn the franchise around. But here we are … 0-4.
Fortunately (for my spirits), Denver is far from the only team underachieving this season. Three of the eight teams who opened as favorites to win their respective divisions no longer hold that title just one quarter through the season, four depending where you look, and a couple others are barely hanging on.
Now that we’ve seen a little bit from each team this season, let’s go through each division and find the best bet to come out on top. (If you want to see how the odds have evolved after each week, see our NFL divisional odds tracker.)
Don’t get cute here. There’s no chance anyone other than New England is winning this division.
Buffalo had their shot in Week 4. It wasn’t a terrible shot. It touched rim. But just didn’t go down for them.
Odds to Win AFC East
|New England Patriots||4-0 (1st)||-2500|
|Buffalo Bills||3-1 (2nd)||+800|
|New York Jets||0-3 (3rd)||+4000|
|Miami Dolphins||0-4 (4th)||+30000|
*All odds taken October 3
If you were smart enough to bet New England when they got as long as -400 in the offseason, you’re laughing now. If not, taking them at -2500 is still the best bet to make in this division right now.
Buffalo’s schedule gets a little tougher over the next three quarters, seeing Philadelphia and Baltimore come to town, while they head to Cleveland and Dallas still this season.
Pick: Patriots (-2500)
The Browns opened as the favorites to win the AFC North at +130. But after an ugly loss to Tennessee in Week 1, Baltimore took over as the favorites. The Ravens remain favored in spite of the Browns coming into their house and laying a beating on them.
Odds to Win AFC North
|Baltimore Ravens||2-2 (2nd)||-110|
|Cleveland Browns||2-2 (1st)||+120|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||1-3 (3rd)||+750|
|Cincinnati Bengals||0-4 (4th)||+10000|
As much as I like what Baltimore is doing in building a run-first attack while the rest of the league is finding ways to avoid ever handing the ball off, we’re finally seeing Cleveland’s talent shining through.
The Browns’ defense is very good and Freddie Kitchens may have realized that Nick Chubb is one of the many mouths he has to feed on offense. Their remaining schedule is also much more favorable than Baltimore’s, who travel to Seattle and LA (Rams), and host New England, Houston, and San Francisco.
Pick: Browns (+120)
The AFC South has been through a lot this season. The Colts opened as the favorites and even became odds-on favorites before Andrew Luck retired in the offseason.
Since then, Houston has been favored, but Tennessee and Indianapolis have each made runs during the season. After blowing out Cleveland in Week 1, the Titans were listed at +190 to the Texans’ +160. After Week 2, the Colts were +210 to the Texans’ +170.
Odds to Win AFC South
|Houston Texans||2-2 (1st)||+145|
|Indianapolis Colts||2-2 (2nd)||+300|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||2-2 (3rd)||+350|
|Tennessee Titans||2-2 (4th)||+350|
However, those two teams may be the two most unpredictable in the league through the first four weeks. It’s hard to tell which team is going to show up for Indy and Tennessee each week.
However, with the Titans hosting the potentially Josh Allen-less Bills in Week 5, the Texans hosting Atlanta, the Jaguars heading to Carolina, and the Colts in Kansas City, the best value right now is on Tennessee. There’s a good chance they are leading this division come Monday, and their defense might be the unit I trust the most here.
I don’t trust Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense to snap out of this funk enough to bet them at +145; the Jaguars may not have Jalen Ramsey the rest of the season, and Minshew-Mania is likely to slow down a bit; and if you do like the Colts, now isn’t the time to bet them – unless you really think they’re coming out of KC with a win. Wait until next week if that’s the case.
Pick: Titans (+350)
The Chiefs have been odds-on favorites to win the AFC West since odds opened. And I don’t see that changing anytime this season.
Odds to Win AFC West
|Kansas City Chiefs||4-0 (1st)||-600|
|Los Angeles Chargers||2-2 (3rd)||+450|
|Oakland Raiders||2-2 (2nd)||+1800|
|Denver Broncos||0-4 (4th)||+10000|
The Raiders should be thrilled with their 2-2 start, because there’s a very good chance they drop their next five games – vs Chicago, @Green Bay, @Houston, vs Detroit, vs Los Angeles (Chargers).
The return of Melvin Gordon is certainly a little encouraging for the Chargers, but with minimal room for error in a division with the Chiefs, I think they’ve already dropped too many games they shouldn’t have. Their offensive line is struggling to protect Philip Rivers again, and it just seems like the same old Chargers.
Pick: Chiefs (-600)
The Philadelphia Eagles opened as the favorites to win the NFC East and bounced back-and-forth between even odds and being odds-on favorites. That changed quickly, though, after the Eagles put in a poor performance in Atlanta on Sunday Night Football of Week 2, seeing the Dallas Cowboys jump to odds-on favorites.
Odds to Win NFC East
|Dallas Cowboys||3-1 (1st)||-125|
|Philadelphia Eagles||2-2 (2nd)||+125|
|New York Giants||2-2 (3rd)||+1000|
|Washington Redskins||0-4 (4th)||+10000|
For all the hope Daniel Jones has restored around the Giants locker room, I don’t believe they are ready to contend in this division yet. Plus, there’s a good chance they drop their next two games – vs Minnesota and @New England – so you’ll likely be able to get them at an even better price in two weeks if you really like them.
But I’m ruling them out and looking at this as a race between the Eagles and Cowboys. With that said, you may have a great opportunity to potentially lock yourself into a profit here.
Eagles are BEST in NFL on 3rd down this season ??
56% compared to 41% last year. Eagles were #2 in 2017 at 44.69%
Eagles 4th in NFC in redzone
69% compared to 59% last year. Eagles were #2 in NFL in 2017 at 64%
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 1, 2019
The Eagles host the Jets in Week 5, a game where they are listed as upwards of 14-point favorites. They’re going to win this game. The Cowboys, on the other hand, host a Packers team who are well-rested and probably pretty pissed off about dropping their Week 4 tilt with the Eagles.
So if you’re asking me who wins the NFC East this year, my answer is the Dallas Cowboys. But I do think it’ll be close. So I’m betting the Eagles right now with the intention of turning around and betting the Cowboys after they drop their second straight game and see their odds lengthen.
Of course, if you like them to be the next team who runs all over the Packers defense, then just bet them now.
Pick: Eagles (+125)*
Depending where you look, the Packers or Bears are currently favored to win the NFC North. The Bears opened as the favorites, but lost that title after losing to Green Bay in the season-opener.
Odds to Win NFC North
|Green Bay Packers||3-1 (1st)||+150|
|Chicago Bears||3-1 (2nd)||+160|
|Minnesota Vikings||2-2 (4th)||+375|
|Detroit Lions||2-1-1 (3rd)||+800|
I’m using these odds because your best bet is the Bears. Their defense has not lost a beat with Vic Fangio out as defensive coordinator, and Khalil Mack is an absolute game-wrecker.
While I do expect Aaron Rodgers to steal some games for Green Bay this year, I cannot trust them to win the division when they’re allowing five yards per carry and rank 26th against the run.
Fly, Jordan Fly! ??
— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2019
Oh, and if you are thinking there’s value in Minnesota at +375, you haven’t been watching Kirk Cousins closely enough. He is also a total game-wrecker right now.
Pick: Bears (+160)
The Saints opened as odds-on favorites to win the NFC South and they’ve remained that all season, even after Drew Brees got hurt in Week 2.
Odds to Win NFC South
|New Orleans Saints||3-1 (1st)||-200|
|Carolina Panthers||2-2 (3rd)||+450|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2-2 (2nd)||+500|
|Atlanta Falcons||1-3 (4th)||+1000|
Kyle Allen is a really nice story, and I’m even beginning to like seeing Jameis Winston torching defenses. But neither of these teams have the consistent quarterback play I can trust to overtake the Saints.
Pick: Saints (-200)
Despite trailing the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks (via tiebreaker) in the standings, the Los Angeles Rams have remained odds-on favorites to win the NFC West after being upset at home by the Bucs last week.
Odds to Win NFC West
|Los Angeles Rams||3-1 (3rd)||-140|
|San Francisco 49ers||3-0 (1st)||+240|
|Seattle Seahawks||3-1 (2nd)||+350|
|Arizona Cardinals||0-3-1 (4th)||+12500|
But bettors should be thrilled about LA’s odds not moving a ton, because it leaves the Niners presenting a lot of value at +240 right now.
With San Francisco being on bye in Week 4, and playing a pretty light schedule in the first three weeks, I’m not sold on them being a legitimate Super Bowl contender like some other pundits are calling for. But what I’ve seen from the Rams is enough to worry me that they’re not the same team from last season.
Jared Goff threw his 3rd INT of the game.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 29, 2019
LA’s offensive line has struggled after losing Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan, as many expected they would. According to PFF, they rank 31st in pass blocking and 32nd in run blocking. Add in Todd Gurley clearly regressing due to knee issues – only totaling 122 rushing yards in last three games combined – and Jared Goff not protecting the ball well when under pressure, and there’s some major red flags going up in LA.
So even though Jimmy Garoppolo may not be the franchise QB San Francisco thought they were getting, and even if their defense isn’t actually a top ten unit, there’s a good chance the 49ers are good enough to oust the Rams. And at +240, this is a steal.
Russell Wilson is the best quarterback in this division, but his offensive line will continue letting him down and he’ll be asked to do too much.
Pick: 49ers (+240)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.