Tight division races could be aplenty in the 2020 NFL season.
Save for the AFC West, which in all likelihood will be controlled by the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, every division across the league is shaping up to be fairly competitive. That includes the AFC East, which has been won by the New England Patriots in all but one season dating back to 2003. As such, there’s pretty good value out there if you’re looking to place a division title wager.
If you ask us, these are the best division championship bets in each conference. (Prices determined by consensus data.)
AFC: Pittsburgh Steelers, +350
Yes, it’s tough pick against the Ravens (-225) winning the AFC North in 2020. Baltimore claimed the AFC’s No. 1 seed last season with a 14-2 regular-season record and arguably improved over the offseason. John Harbaugh’s team also has the luxury of navigating through one of the lightest 2020 schedules on paper.
That said, let’s not forget the Steelers flirted with a playoff berth last season despite below-average quarterback play for the majority of the campaign. Pittsburgh managed to collect a .500 record with Mason Rudolph or Devlin Hodges under center in 14 of its 16 games. That’s largely a testament to the Steelers’ defense, which very well could be the best unit in all of football this season.
As for the offense, Pittsburgh has a chance to be fairly formidable with both Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner expected to start the season fully healthy. The Steelers in the offseason also added veteran tight end Eric Ebron, who will only be two seasons removed from a 13-touchdown campaign.
Aside from the Steelers’ prospects, the hope with this bet is the possibility of some stumbling from the Ravens. The book is now out on reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson, and we’ve seen teams in the past experience somewhat of a hangover following a largely successful season. So, we probably shouldn’t sleep on Pittsburgh’s chances of returning to AFC North glory.
NFC: Seattle Seahawks, +240
The NFC West has the potential to boast one of the more exciting division races in the NFL this season. Even the Arizona Cardinals, who haven’t reached the playoffs since 2015, could make things interesting.
The reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers (-105) are the odds-on favorite to repeat as division champs, but the gap between the Niners’ and Seahawks’ prices is a little surprising. After all, the NFC West wasn’t decided until Week 17 last season when the 49ers earned a thrilling win over the ‘Hawks in one of the best regular-season games of 2019.
There are plenty of reasons to like Seattle’s chances of winning the division in 2020. The Seahawks in the offseason added a proven tight end in Greg Olsen, who will join Russell Wilson’s supporting cast that already consisted of deep-threat Tyler Lockett, budding star D.K. Metcalf and bell-cow back Chris Carson. Seattle also is expecting a healthy Will Dissly, who caught four touchdowns over six games last season before going down with injury.
Of course, the newest reason be hopeful of the Seahawks is Jamal Adams, who the franchise landed in a blockbuster deal with the New York Jets. Seattle now features one of the best defenses in the NFC, highlighted by a secondary with elite potential.
An NFC West crown narrowly evaded Seattle last season. But with some nice new pieces and Wilson firmly in his prime, the hardware very well could find its way to the Pacific Northwest in 2020.