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Picks to Win Each Division After First Half of 2019 Season

Matt McEwan

by Matt McEwan in NFL Football

Oct 29, 2019 · 1:47 PM PDT

Leonard Fournette beating his chest in celebration
Can Leonard Fournette and the Jacksonville Jaguars go on a run to finish the season and claim the AFC South crown? (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)
  • We are now through eight of the 17 weeks in the 2019 NFL season
  • Only three division-leaders have a full two-game advantage (or more) over the rest of their division
  • Get the best bets to win all eight NFL divisions below

And just like that, we’re halfway through the 2019 NFL season.

Entering Week 9, we have a pretty good idea of who the real contenders are – thanks to very minimal movement ahead of the trade deadline – and which teams are already thinking about next season.

But there are only two division races where I’d be willing to crown a winner already, and only three divisions where the team in first holds a full two-game (or more) lead over the field.

This means there is money to be made in betting NFL division futures. So let’s take a scroll through each one and pull out the best bet.

AFC East

The New England Patriots are going to win the AFC East. But betting anything with -6000 odds is not a smart play.

Odds to Win AFC East

Team Record Odds
New England Patriots 8-0 (1st) -6000
Buffalo Bills 5-2 (2nd) +1000
New York Jets 1-6 (3rd) +10000
Miami Dolphins 0-7 (4th) +50000

All odds taken October 29

Unfortunately, your only play here is Buffalo at +1000. They have a pretty tough schedule over the second half of the season, but they’re the only team capable of catching New England.

The Jets are about to sell everything and there is no chance the Pats only win one of their next eight.

Hopefully you jumped on New England a long time ago. Otherwise, you’re stuck either playing the Bills or laying off.

AFC North

I can confidently say the Baltimore Ravens are the best team in the AFC North. But I don’t believe they’re the best bet to win the division right now.

Odds to Win AFC North

Team Record Odds
Baltimore Ravens 5-2 (1st) -400
Pittsburgh Steelers 3-4 (2nd) +500
Cleveland Browns 2-5 (3rd) +650
Cincinnati Bengals 0-8 (4th) +100000

No team faces a tougher schedule in the second half than the Ravens. Baltimore has to deal with both remaining undefeated teams in the next five weeks, and also see the Texans and Rams. Finishing the season at 9-7 is pretty reasonable for the Ravens.

Meanwhile, the Browns face the second easiest strength of schedule over the final nine weeks. Having already beaten the Ravens in Baltimore, Cleveland presents a lot of value at +650.

AFC South

If you believe the AFC South is a two-horse race, there’s a great opportunity to lock yourself into some profit by betting the Colts at +140, and the Texans at +200.

Odds to Win AFC South

Team Record Odds
Indianapolis Colts 5-2 (1st) +140
Houston Texans 5-3 (2nd) +140
Jacksonville Jaguars 4-4 (3rd) +600
Tennessee Titans 4-4 (4th) +700

The Texans face the seventh-toughest schedule to finish the season, while the Colts have the 11th-easiest SOS over the final nine weeks.

Add in JJ Watt being done for the season, and I like the Colts to fend off the Texans in the AFC South.

If you’re looking for a bit of a long shot bet in any division, the Jaguars might be your best option. Jacksonville faces the fourth-easiest remaining schedule in the league, and only find themselves 1.5 games back.

AFC West

Anyone who didn’t bet the Chiefs to win the AFC West at the beginning of the year should be thrilled that they’ve lost three games now due to Patrick Mahomes playing on a bad ankle and Matt Moore having to take on the Packers.

Odds to Win AFC West

Team Record Odds
Kansas City Chiefs 5-3 (1st) -400
Los Angeles Chargers 3-5 (3rd) +700
Oakland Raiders 3-4 (2nd) +700
Denver Broncos 2-6 (4th) +1800

The Chargers just fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, but I’m not sold on that fixing all their problems. The Raiders defense is awful. And the Broncos offense somehow keeps getting worse.

Be happy you can still get -400 odds on the Chiefs.

NFC East

If you followed my advice after Week 4, you’re currently sitting on both the Eagles and Cowboys to win the NFC at plus odds. If that’s the case, I’d sit on that. If not, here’s what I’d do …

Odds to Win NFC East

Team Record Odds
Dallas Cowboys 4-3 (1st) -130
Philadelphia Eagles 4-4 (2nd) +100
New York Giants 2-6 (3rd) +3000
Washington Redskins 1-7 (4th) +50000

The Cowboys face the third toughest SOS over the final nine games, according to my method that bases its calculations off Super Bowl odds. But the Eagles don’t have it much easier, seeing the eighth-toughest remaining schedule.

If either of these two make any sort of big splash at the deadline, it could change the odds significantly. Assuming we don’t get late news of Jamal Adams to the Cowboys, or Chris Harris to the Eagles, I’d ride with the Cowboys here.

They really made a statement in their 37-10 win over the Eagles in Week 7 and are simply the more trustworthy team right now.

NFC North

The Packers look like a team who are getting better each week. This is a pretty concerning thought for the rest of the league, since Green Bay has only lost one game so far and only have to face three teams with winning records the rest of the season.

Odds to Win NFC North

Team Record Odds
Green Bay Packers 7-1 (1st) -185
Minnesota Vikings 6-2 (2nd) +160
Detroit Lions 3-3-1 (3rd) +2500
Chicago Bears 3-4 (4th) +3300

The Vikings also have a pretty light schedule over the second half, but I still cannot trust Kirk Cousins to get it done when it matters most.

If Minnesota can manage to win their next six – having to deal with Kansas City, Dallas, and Seattle among others – they’ll potentially have their opportunity to take the division at home in Week 16 against the Packers. But I’m not betting on Cousins to avoid dropping any of those games.

NFC South

As much as I hate advising anyone to bet odds this short, taking the Saints is the only way you’re going to make money here.

Odds to Win NFC South

Team Record Odds
New Orleans Saints 7-1 (1st) -1000
Carolina Panthers 4-3 (2nd) +625
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-5 (3rd) +2000
Atlanta Falcons 1-7 (4th) +20000

The Panthers face the second-toughest remaining schedule in the NFL, which includes Green Bay, New Orleans (twice), and Seattle.

The Saints face the fifth-easiest to finish the season, not that they need it.

NFC West

Fingers crossed you took my advice after Week 4 and bet the Niners at +240. If not, they’re still the best bet to win the NFC West.

Odds to Win NFC West

Team Record Odds
San Francisco 49ers 7-0 (1st) -165
Seattle Seahawks 6-2 (2nd) +325
Los Angeles Rams 5-3 (3rd) +350
Arizona Cardinals 3-4-1 (4th) +5000

Despite having to deal with the fifth-toughest schedule over the final nine weeks, I like San Francisco to finish the regular season with at least 12 wins.

They already went into LA and beat up on the Rams, but have yet to face the Seahawks. With how dominant the 49ers have been in the trenches this season, I worry for Seattle having to deal with them twice still.

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