- The New England Patriots have won at least 11 games in nine straight seasons
- The Cleveland Browns open at +800 to win the AFC
- The Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints are tied at the top of the board at +500 to win the NFC
As the 2019 NFL Draft approaches, the championship odds for the AFC and NFC have opened up.
To no one’s surprise, the four teams that played in the AFC and NFC Championships – the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints – are the front-runners.
Are they good bets to win their conferences or is there value elsewhere? Let’s have a look at the AFC Championship odds first.
Odds To Win 2020 AFC Championship
|Team||Odds To Win AFC at BetOnline|
|New England Patriots||+400|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+450|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+800|
|New York Jets||+2500|
*Odds taken April 15
Patriots Open as Favorites (Again)
Do you really want to bet against the Patriots?
The Kansas City Chiefs are going to be a threat for many years to come but they did lose center Mitch Morse and pass rushers Justin Houston and Dee Ford. That’s three quality players – including two of their best on defense.
The challenge here is we know the Patriots can survive any type of loss as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are still around. Can the Chiefs survive their trio of departures?
This Brady chant doesn’t get talked about enough. Crowd chanting his name in a tie game 4th q of Super Bowl as he chases ring #6.
Then goes 4/4 on the drive to take the lead. Iconic. pic.twitter.com/dfGhDRTvB0
— Kenny Lofton (@AnthonyWebster_) April 7, 2019
The Patriots should be able to add a lot in the draft – especially with two third-round compensatory picks.
If Josh Gordon comes back (big “if”) or if they find some actual weapons for Tom Brady, this team could be even more dangerous. Also, remember that their division is much easier than the AFC West. Advantage Patriots.
Steelers Offer Great Value
The Pittsburgh Steelers look like a great value play at 12-1.
Yes, they’re an undisciplined bunch who self-destructed last season. Antonio Brown was traded away and Le’Veon Bell moved on. Everything went wrong and they still went 9-6-1 and barely missed the playoffs.
Ben Roethlisberger has surpassed Fran Tarkenton (342) for the eighth-most touchdown passes in NFL history, now with 343. pic.twitter.com/JFVOa4zbbT
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 28, 2018
They already have capable replacements behind Bell with James Connor and Jaylen Samuels. And in the past, losing a wide receiver has never been a big deal (see: Santonio Holmes, Martavis Bryant, Antwan Randle El).
They had won 13, 11, 10 and 11 games in each of the four prior seasons. At 12-1, they’re a good value play here.
Avoid the Texans
I have no interest in betting the Texans at 12-1.
This is a team that overachieved last season, beating up on opponents through an easy schedule. This offensive line is a train wreck and they did nothing to improve it.
The Indianapolis Colts now run this division and Tennessee and Jacksonville are slightly improved. Houston is not.
Odds To Win 2020 NFC Championship
|Team||Odds To Win NFC at BetOnline|
|Los Angeles Rams||+500|
|New Orleans Saints||+500|
|Green Bay Packers||+1200|
|San Francisco 49ers||+1200|
|New York Giants||+2500|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+3300|
*Odds taken April 15
Saints a Better Play Than Rams
The Saints should be steady again next season.
Drew Brees and the offense are always fine. The trio of Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas is about as good as it gets in the NFC. Meanwhile, the defense is loaded with young players who continue to mature, as we saw in 2018.
Yes, the Los Angeles Rams are going to be good again but it feels like the book might be out on Sean McVay and Jared Goff a little bit. There are ways to slow them down. That job might be easier for opponents now that the offensive line took a hit with guard Rodger Saffold and center John Sullivan leaving.
— ESPN (@espn) January 20, 2019
The NFC West could be improved – especially with Jimmy Garropolo returning and the 49ers spending big in free agency. Seattle looks like they’re on the rise and Arizona – potentially with Kyler Murray – can’t really be any worse.
This will be a tough path for the Rams this year.
Some people will like the Chicago Bears but I’m just not sold on Mitchell Trubisky. This is a quarterback’s league and of the three favorites – New Orleans, Los Angeles and Chicago – the Saints have the best signal-caller.
Packers Offer Value
The Green Bay Packers will always been among the favorites to win the conference as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy. But they’re in the second tier this year.
Given how unhappy Rodgers was last season under Mike McCarthy, he should feel freed under new coach Matt LaFleur – a young, offensive mind.
The Packers improved their defense with a pair of pass rushers (Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith), and added safety Adrian Amos. They’ll also have two first-round picks, so there will be a significant infusion in talent on this roster.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) March 26, 2019
On offense, they figure to only improve as so many young receivers are a year older now. And with Lafleur, the team will stick with the ground game, which should provide good support. McCarthy never really consistently fed Aaron Jones, which Packers fans and bettors found maddening.
At 12-1, I’m willing to bet on Rodgers. This team needs a lot to go right, but a lot already has. And with Rodgers, one of the best in the business, this team can be elevated to contender once again.
Stay Away From the Vikings
I’ll pass on the Minnesota Vikings at +1000.
The team that played in the NFC Championship Game in 2018 looks like they are heading in the wrong direction. For whatever reason, their offense just didn’t work last season.
It could be a variety of issues starting with the fact that they look like they really missed Pat Shurmur calling the plays. The other problem was the offensive line, which is one of the worst in the NFL. Kirk Cousins was sacked 16 times in his final nine games.
Rough lip reading from what I can tell-
Cousins: Hey man your a outstanding player and even better guy off the field
Thielen: thanks Kurt. You play the game the right way and lived w your parents untill last year for some reason pic.twitter.com/HjgROOSP2T
— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) December 30, 2018
Of greater concern is that Cousins just doesn’t play well against winning teams. He was 0-6 against them last season and is now 4-25 against them in his career.
The Week 17 loss where the Vikings failed at home against the Chicago Bears backups is of further concern. Are there issues in the locker room?
That’s something I wondered as I saw Cousins and Adam Thielen arguing on the sidelines with the playoffs on the line. I’m passing on them at 10-1.