NFL Betting – AFC North Odds and Preview 2020

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

  • Ravens posted the best record last season and are favorites to win AFC North in 2020

  • Steelers have the next shortest odds paying $460 for every $100 bet

  • Steelers offense will be better with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger and James Connor

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Quarterback play in the AFC North will be a huge factor in how the division pans out in 2020. We saw the Baltimore Ravens post the best record in the NFL last season behind the dazzling play of MVP Lamar Jackson and they are a negative odds favorite to repeat as division winner. The Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t so fortunate when they lost Ben Roethlisberger early in the year, ending with an 8-8 record. Big Ben is back but are the Steelers? The Cincinnati Bengals used the first overall pick on Heisman winner Joe Burrow while the Cleveland Browns are hoping 2018 No. 1 overall Baker Mayfield can turn the hype train around.

Odds to Win 2020 AFC North

Baltimore Ravens -238
Pittsburgh Steelers +460
Cleveland Browns +500
Cincinnati Bengals +1900

AFC North Preview

Since realignment in 2002 the division has been tightly-contested. No team has won three straight titles with the Steelers holding eight crowns and the Ravens six. Baltimore can become the first to three-peat and is the heavy favorite to do so. And the biggest reason is Jackson, who had a season for the ages in 2019.

Jackson’s emergence in 2018 forced Joe Flacco to the bench and ultimately out of Baltimore entirely. LJ took the reins and never looked back. There were questions regarding his ability to throw the football, which is why the former Heisman Trophy winner dropped to the tail end of the first round in his draft year. Jackson proved to be lethal in 2019 completing over 66 percent of his passes for 3,127 yards with 36 touchdowns and only six interceptions.

The strength of the Ravens was their ability to run the football. They led the NFL with 206 yards a game, more than 40 yards per game more than the second-best team. Jackson ran for over 1,200 yards, Mark Ingram amassed 1,018 and 10 touchdowns. The defense got stronger with additions of Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe and Patrick McQueen.

A concern heading into the season is how Jackson rebounds after another playoff failure. Two years ago he struggled in a loss to the Chargers. The numbers looked impressive with 365 passing yards and an additional 143 on the ground, but his three turnovers were critical in last season’s divisional round setback to the Titans.

Getting Roethlisberger back healthy should help the Steelers. Big Ben was done for the year in the second week and the Steelers still managed to be in the playoff hunt before dropping their final three games to finish 8-8. Roethlisberger is running out of time entering his age 38 season, but the time off probably did him some good.

There were too many issues on the offensive side last season that left the Steelers as a middle-of-the-pack or worse team. They averaged fewer than 20 points per game and scored just 10 in each of their last three games. Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges just didn’t get it done. The offense will be better with a healthy Roethlisberger and James Connor. Along with a stout defense, the Steelers should be back near the top.

Last year was a mess for the Browns, who start over again in 2020. They lacked discipline and Freddie Kitchens was bewildered. Kevin Stefanski is now in charge looking to get more from an offense that was lackluster at best. Without all the preseason hype maybe the Browns can make a run for a division crown that has eluded them since 1989.

Mayfield struggled last year and is now working with his fourth head coach in three seasons. Continuity has never been a Browns strong suit. He has no excuses after the beleaguered line was overhauled with the additions of Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills.

For a team that won only two games flipping the roster shouldn’t be a big deal. The Bengals got their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow, who set all kinds of records during his undefeated national championship season at LSU. He will get a rude awakening to the NFL, though. Cincy lacked playmakers on both sides of the ball, but will have a talented set of receivers in A.J. Green and John Ross to help the No. 1 overall pick. The haul in the draft was a start, but the Bengals are still lacking, especially in this division.

2020 AFC North Pick

Baltimore is the fancy pick after rattling off 12 straight wins and 14 overall last year. Jackson is a special talent, but coaches often figure out how to stop players like him. Look for things to be more difficult this time around. When he hast to throw he’s not as successful. I really like what the Browns did in free agency and in the draft. They are a club that has the pieces and should be better, which is why I’m throwing down on them to win the division and break the longest current playoff drought in the NFL.

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