It’s that time of year again when the start of the NFL season is just around the corner. The good thing about pre-season is that every team has hope. Even the Arizona Cardinals.
However, not everyone can come out on top and over half of the teams won’t make the playoffs. Here we look at each team and give you the best bets for each division for the upcoming season.
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The Bills won the division last year relatively easily; however, this year is expected to be a tougher assignment. Josh Allen will be back to lead his men out to the roar of Bills Mafia, but the opposition have improved. They have the 7th toughest schedule this year, but their opponents also will have tough time of it.
Despite this the Bills have kept much of their team together and at 6/5 this is the year to back them. They have always been a short priced favourite which would normally put people off but not this time.
Josh Allen has got veteran wide receiver Stefon Diggs and some quality in the backfield with James Cook. With a top-quality defence still in Buffalo anything other than a division win would be a big disappointment.
New York Jets
The Jets are second favourites to win the division this year. Yes, you read that right! There is one major reason for this sudden change and that’s the acquisition of veteran QB Aaron Rodgers. The four-time MVP was traded by the Green Bay Packers and now the Jets biggest weakness has had a massive upgrade.
At 5/2 they look an attractive price to win the division given how good their defence was last year. However, they have a tough schedule, sixth hardest overall, but the first six games they play are seriously tough. They must go up against the Bills, Chiefs, Broncos, Cowboys, Patriots and Eagles. They must go 3-3 in them first six games in order to win this division and that will be tough.
The Dolphins have a seriously tough schedule, second toughest, and that means winning this division will be hard. They still have some serious talent on the offence with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but other areas don’t look quite good enough. On top of that you must worry about QB Tua Tagovailoa and his health after multiple concussions last year.
The running back room has plenty of names but none of them are top quality, although that is not their main game. The defence looks solid but not amazing and that is the moniker of the Dolphins this year. They are solid but not amazing. You won’t win this division being like that.
New England Patriots
The time of dominance for the New England Patriots is well and truly over and that’s why they are 8/1 to win the division. They have struggled since Tom Brady has left and Mac Jones has shown that he is not the answer to bring the good times back. Bill Belichick is genuinely on the hotseat this season despite being considered the greatest coach of all time.
On the plus side the Patriots still have a quality defence and that will get them wins alone. On top of that the have one of the best running backs in the game with Rhamondre Stevenson. Despite this there is a reason they are 8/1 and its going to be another long cold winter in New England.
Best Bet: Buffalo to win the AFC East6/5
The Eagles made it all the way to the big game last year only to fall at the last hurdle against the Chiefs. Despite that it does feel like it could only be a setback as they look just as strong this year as they did last year. They have kept all their main guys and so it would be surprising if they were not a force again.
The only worry is that last season they had an easy strength of schedule, but this year is a different story. They have the toughest schedule and are up against all the teams in the AFC East and NFC West. They have studs across the offence and defence and defending their division title should be easy for them. At 5/6 the price doesn’t seem amazing but if you want a winner here it is.
Some people seem to think that the Cowboys could be great, and others think they could struggle this year. There biggest strength is their defence and all the time they have Dan Quinn as defensive co-ordinator that won’t change. Micah Parsons looks likely to have another great year and that will get them a long way.
However, the offence is not as spectacular. Losing OC Kellen Moore to the Chargers is a concern and head coach McCarthy has stated they want to run the ball more. This old-fashioned way of playing football struggles in the modern NFL. Also, you need big-bodied running backs to do it and the Cowboys don’t have that.
Will they have a solid season? Yes. Will they win the Super Bowl? Definitely not!
New York Giants
The Giants had a decent year last season, making it to the playoffs and showing that what they are doing is working. Under head coach Brian Daboll it feels that the Giants could keep that trajectory going and be a playoff team again. They have made some nice acquisitions on the defence and that will help them.
Offensively they still look a bit weak with no true wide receiver one on the team and that might hurt them. Bringing in tight end Darren Waller is a good move, but his injury history is concerning. Its unlikely they will win this division which is why they are 13/2 but the playoffs are possible.
There is a new dawn in Washington now that Daniel Snyder has sold the team to Josh Norris and his consortium. This is a huge positive to the Commanders and you must feel they could become something in time. However, on the playing field they are not ready to compete and that’s why they are 12/1 to win the division.
Eric Bienemy becoming the new OC is a big positive and inexperienced QB, Sam Howell, could prove to be exciting this season. However, this team just doesn’t have the quality on it currently, although the defence is good. Keep an eye on second year wide receiver Jahan Dotson who should have a good year.
Best Bet: Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East5/6
The Bengals were hotly tipped to win everything last year and fell to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. The offence is pretty much the same this year with only peripheral players leaving. The main off-season worry was the calf injury to star QB Joe Burrow. He has missed a lot of training camp, but he looks good to start the season.
Defensively they have lost a couple of experienced guys that have moved on but that shouldn’t stop them doing well. They are currently 7/5 favourites to win this division and although they should do well it does look a touch short. This division is strong this year and it feels there are better bets at bigger prices.
The Ravens had a rough time of it last year with major injuries across the board. Despite that they still made it to the playoffs and improvement is expected this year. Lamar Jackson is back along with stud TE Mark Andrews. On top of that they have bought in Odell Beckham Jr and drafted WR Zay Flowers to help the offence.
Not only have they bought in players they have bought in a new OC that will make a huge difference. Under previous OC, Greg Roman, it was all about the run. Under new OC, Todd Monken it is a different story. This will help the whole offence and take pressure of the defence. At 21/10 to win the division they look the right bet,
The Browns are 15/4 to win the division and although an upturn in fortunes is predicted they are unlikely to beat the Bengals or Ravens. A lot of the positivity around the Browns this year is that QB, DeShaun Watson has had a full training camp with them. Although you would expect some progression, nobody knows if he is back to his best yet.
The rest of the team looks similar with most of the running work going to Nick Chubb and receiving work going to Amari Cooper. Both guys can have standout seasons but its unlikely to be enough. The defence will hope to perform better this season as Myles Garrett will once again lead them. Playoffs look a little beyond them currently.
The team that always finishes with a winning record will most likely finish with a winning record. The big hope in Pittsburgh is that QB, Kenny Pickett, will have taken that step forward from his rookie year. If this happens then playoffs will be incoming for Steeler nation.
The rest of the team is like last year, which is a good thing, as they have some great players on both sides of the ball. Diontae Johnson and George Pickens will have great seasons and TJ Watt will be looking to become the defensive player of the year again. Despite this they won’t win the division and so the 11/2 price isn’t tempting.
Best Bet: Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North21/10
It’s hard to remember a time when the Lions were favourites to win the NFC North, but they are this season. They had a solid year under Dan Campbell and are now looking to kick on. Their strength of schedule isn’t too bad sitting in the middle of the pack and progression is on the cards.
The arrival of draftee Jahymr Gibbs and new running back David Montgomery should keep their run game at full tilt. Also, they have some nice passing options as well. Jack Campbell is one to look out for on the defence that needs to improve for the Lions to win this division. They look good but 11/8 is short when bigger prices are around.
The Vikings have been making it to the playoffs and knocking on the door for a few years now. The loss of Adam Thielan shouldn’t be too painful thanks to the arrival of Jordan Addison. Addison can create a one-two receiver core with Justin Jefferson in the same way the Philadelphia Eagles have with AJ Brown and Devonta Smith.
Dalvin Cook has been moved on, but they have a decent running back in Alexander Mattison who will finally get his chance. The defence is leaky and that’s the main concern for the Vikings, but they are used to putting up big scores to win games. At 29/10 they are much more appealing than the Lions and the team to go for.
The Bears have been a team in transition over the last few years despite drafting their QB during it. Justin Fields is their main hope and he showed at the end of last season that he can get the job done. They have bought in some top talent for him now with DJ Moore coming over from Carolina. Having him and Darnell Mooney means he has multiple weapons to pass to.
Unfortunately for the Bears their defence just doesn’t look up to standard, despite some decent acquisitions in the summer. Tremaine Edmonds from the Bills is a standout now but winning enough games to take the division looks unlikely. However, they are a potential dark horse for a playoff spot in a week division and a week NFC conference.
Green Bay Packers
It’s been a while since the Packers were the outsiders to win the division but with Aaron Rodgers gone its no surprise. The four-time MVP was traded to the New Yor Jets and so now its time for Jordan Love. From all the off-season reports Love has been inconsistent and this will be a big learning season for him.
Due to that you must feel that this year is a transitional one for the Packers and the playoffs might be beyond them. They have lots of young talent and a defence that on its day can win them a game. However, 4/1 is not a price worth taking in a division where there is more certainty over the other teams.
Best Bet: Minnesota Vikings to with the NFC29/10
The Jaguars had been in the doldrums for a few years before the arrival of Doug Pederson last year. He seems to of created a better atmosphere than previous head coaches and the development of QB, Trevor Lawrence, was noticeable. They managed to reach the playoffs last year and win in the first round.
On top of that they have bought in wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who despite not playing for over a year through suspension, has looked good in the pre-season. The defence does need to improve if they want to make it deeper in the playoffs, but they have the talent to win the division. Despite all that they are 8/13 and that feels like a very short price.
Its always difficult to go against the Titans when they have head coach Mike Verbal at the helm. He seems to just get that bit more out of a team that doesn’t have the same amount of talent as others. Ryan Tannehill is back for another year at QB, and he will be solid enough to make them competitive.
On top of that they have bought in DeAndre Hopkins, who even at 31, is still one of the best receivers in the game. With the development of second year wide receiver, Treylon Burks and tight end Chig Okonkwo they will be an attacking threat. Also, at 10/3 they are a big price to win the division and although the Jaguars should it feels like the Titans could make it a close-run thing.
This off-season has been quite a dramatic one for the Colts. A team that is always tipped to do well and compete, feels like it is starting to fall apart. They didn’t put much together last year and so went out and drafted rookie QB, Anthony Richardson. Richardson comes with a lot of promise but to say he is a raw talent is an understatement.
Despite the promise of Richardson, most of the heavy lifting on the offence was going to be down to running back Johnathon Taylor. Taylor demanded a trade and when no one could be found ended up on the PUP, meaning he will miss at least the first four games. The defence is getting older and at 11/2 to win the division you don’t want to go near them.
The Texans have been a disaster for a few years now but there is hope after they went big in the draft. Bringing in QB CJ Stroud from Ohio State is a positive step and Will Anderson can take charge of the defence. Although there is promise for the future, that’s all it is as they are not able to do anything now.
The cast around CJ Stroud is limited to say the least. Nico Collins looks to be the wide receiver one and that just won’t get the job done. Chances are they will rely heavily on
running back Dameon Pierce and hope to improve from last year. Nathaniel ‘Tank’ Dell is one to watch in his rookie year.
Best Bet: Tennessee Titans to win the AFC South10/3
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have felt a bit rudderless since the retirement of Drew Brees and Sean Payton leaving. However, it feels like they have got a steady QB in the building now, with Derek Carr. Carr has always been able to have a decent year for his previous team and so the Saints should be looking to win this division.
They have a stud receiver in Chris Olave who you must feel will only improve with a better QB. They have a solid running back core with Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams and rookie Kendre Miller. Also, the defence looks solid and at 6/5 the Saints look the team to be on to win this division.
Atlanta have struggled to become relevant in the last few years after they lost that famous Superbowl against the Patriots in 2016. However, they do have some good young talent on their team, and they should be trying to make the playoffs this year. They made a big splash in the draft brining in Bijan Robinson, and they have some great physical recievig players like Drake London and Kyle Pitts.
They have improved their defence with the acquisition of Jessie Bates from the Bengals, but they have one major concern. Their QB, Desmond Ridder, is very inexperienced and didn’t show much last season. If he can do develop then this side could really push on but beating the Saint to the division will be tough.
It’s a new dawn in Carolina as last season saw the end of Matt Rhule’s tenure as head coach. He has been replaced by Franck Reich and then they traded for the first overall pick in the draft. They have now got their new franchise QB in Bryce Young who looks to have all the attributes to be the real deal.
They have also added some extra talent on the offence like Adam Thielan and DJ Chark who should help Young out in his rookie year. The defence was decent last year, and they are expected to be again this season. 7/2 looks a nice price but it is more of a transition year and so winning the division will be tough this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tom Brady era is officially over in Tampa as he has hung up his cleats and now the Bucs need to adjust without him. They have bought in Baker Mayfield and still have Kyle Trask available to them, but neither is exciting. They still have their two main receiving options in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but Evans is threating to hold out over his contract.
The defence still has some good pieces on it, and they will have to be at their best for the Bucs to win games this season. This was always likely to happen once Brady left and so a transitional year is needed. 7/1 to win the division is a big juicy price but you would be crazy to go for it.
Best Bet: New Orleans Saints to win the NFC South6/5
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs went and won the Lombardi last year and are favourites to do it again this season at 6/1. Its hard to put anyone off that bet as the Chiefs always have a chance with Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. Both are back and although the rest of the offence doesn’t have any ‘big names’ it doesn’t matter as Mahomes will find them.
The defence has always been a bit underrated and looks like they will have another good season. The only worry is that Chris Jones is holding out and he is a big piece of their defence. The Chiefs are 4/7 to win the division and although it is short it would be surprising to see anyone else winning it.
The Chargers are one of them teams that always seems to find a way to lose, even when they are in a winning position. Last year was a prime example being ahead of the Jaguars by more than enough points to win two games and still lose. Despite this there is more confidence this year and they should be looking to do better.
Justin Herbert played with broken ribs after week two last season and both Keenen Allen and Mike Williams missed a lot of time through injury. All of them are back and fit which means they should be a more potent threat. Also, with the arrival of new OC, Kellen Moore from the Cowboys, attacking play should be on the agenda. 31/10 is very tempting but not with the Chiefs in the division.
Last year was one to forget for the Broncos despite all the early optimism. The Broncos went all in with Russell Wilson, and he had an awful time playing far below his best. Head coach, Nathenial Hackett was sacked and now Sean Payton has come in to take over. Although Payton is a highly respected coach, it still feels like this year will be a tough one.
Tim Patrick is already out for the season and Jerry Jeudy is going to miss some time with a hamstring injury. Will Wilson be any better this year? Your guess is as good as mine. The one thing we do know is that the defence will be great again and they will have to be. 11/2 is a big price and one to avoid.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders have been insignificant for some time now and it really doesn’t look like much will change this season. Derek Carr has gone to the Saints and has been replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo in a move that doesn’t really inspire. Darren Waller has also moved on and there hasn’t been adequate replacements.
They do still have Devante Adams who will always be a good option for any team and Josh Jacobs is back for another season. Both guys will have to be on fire this year for the Raiders to do anything. Defensively they have some good players like Maxx Crosby, but this will be another tough year in Vegas. At 14/1 there is a reason they are such a big price. Avoid!
Best Bet: Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC West4/7
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers had a good season last year making it all the way to the NFC Championship game but were beaten by the Eagles. This team is pretty much the same as they were last year and another attempt to get to the Superbowl should be on the cards. Much of the offence is going to run through Christian McCaffery.
The defence will be great again and they are worthy favourites to win this division. However, there is a limit to what QB, Brock Purdy can do and that could limit them. Also, having players like George Kittle and Deebo Samuel always seem to come with an injury risk. They should win but at 4/7 it’s a very short price and there is a better bet.
Last year was a bit of a surprise from the Seahawks. Trading away franchise QB, Russell Wilson felt like a dangerous move. However, it seemed to turn out for the best as they became a better team for it. The one issue the Seahawks have always had is depth of talent. Not anymore!
DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and newly drafted Jaxon Smith-Njigba are three quality receivers. They now have two quality running backs in Kenneth Walker and Zack Charbonnet. On top of this the defence is quietly getting younger and better. They genuinely have a chance of winning this division and at 2/1 it’s the bet to be on.
The Rams had a tough year last season thanks to losing a lot of players to injury early in the season. Losing QB Matt Stafford and top receiver Cooper Kupp for over half of the season was always going to be tough to overcome. This year feels like it could be a similar story. Kupp has already got an injury and might miss the first week and Stafford is getting older.
The defence will still be led by Aaron Donald, but they are not the same as they were when they won the Superbowl two years ago. The offence and defence both look short of quality and so they are unlikely to do much this season. At 9/1 the price is big but not worth it.
Arizona had a tough season last year once Kyler Murrey went down with an ACL injury. He still isn’t fit and is likely to miss quite a bit of this season as well. On top of this they have traded away DeAndre Hopkins to the Titans and a few other pieces have been let go in what looks like a fire sale.
They have Hollywood Brown and James Conner available to them but that’s about as good as it gets. It’s tough to come up with any positives for a team that is 25/1 to win the division. They are clearly looking to rebuild, and they have two first round picks in the draft next year. Just hope the team you support gets to play them this year!