Las Vegas is ready for the 2017 NFL season. Week One spreads are up, you can bet on who wins the AFC, NFC, and the Super Bowl. And now you can bet on what teams will win their respective divisions, thanks to the odds that were recently posted (May 4) by the Vegas sportsbook CG Technology, as provided by SportsInsights. It’s really early; there’s still a ton of preseason activity to analyze before you can accurately and confidently place your wagers. Odds will adjust based off the preseason, but since it’s up, I want to take an early look at some attractive odds for divisional winners in 2017.
AFC East: Patriots -350, Dolphins +460, Bills +520, Jets +2600
- It’s pretty impossible to bet against the Patriots here. Not only do they dominate the AFC East, but the entire league. If you can get them at -350, it’s a steal. By the time you read this, those odds will probably reach -500 or higher. While it’s always a good bet to take the Patriots, these are heavy odds to wager on in May. Anything can happen from now until September (injuries), so I would stay away from this division completely.
AFC North: Steelers +125, Ravens +175, Bengals +210, Browns +4000
- The AFC North is essentially a crapshoot. I think each team got better after their respective 2017 draft haul, and this division should be a lot more competitive than it was last year. I think the Ravens did enough to compete at the top of the division, while the Bengals should poise some serious threat as well. This is another stay-away for me considering how good each team (besides the Browns) should be, but I’m interested in the Ravens if they reach 2/1 before the season starts.
AFC South: Texans +180, Colts +200, Titans +220, Jaguars +550
- The AFC South is interesting to me. I think each team had a solid draft, and I’m not sure nine wins is enough to steal the division this year. The Colts are always attractive because of Andrew Luck, and they’re really due for a good season. But I like the Titans at +220; they have a complete offense, and I think it’s their year to win 10 games and take this division. They run the football, protect the quarterback, and control the pace of the game. I think we’ll see the best of Marcus Mariota and an improved defense should help them win more games this season, especially within their own division.
AFC West: Raiders +180, Broncos +190, Chiefs +230, Chargers +550
- Make no mistake about it, this is one of the best divisions in football. The Raiders are a legit threat again, the Broncos defense is still great, and the Chiefs are a complete, well-coached team that can quietly rattle off nine straight wins out of nowhere. But what about the Chargers? The Los Angeles Chargers will have a good season, and +550 is attractive to me. They were a few plays away from being serious playoff contenders last year, and if they stay healthy in 2017 they should have a serious chance of stealing this loaded division. They’re never an easy out, and if the ball finally starts to bounce their way, they can win the West for the first time since 2009.
NFC East: Cowboys +120, Giants +260, Eagles +340, Redskins +400
- This division is always unpredictable. The Cowboys are coming off an outstanding season led by a rookie backfield, and hopes are they take another step toward greatness. It’s tough to improve on a 12-4 season, especially with their schedule. I think the Giants at +260 are great odds; they have the most veteran quarterback, arguably an even-scarier offense than the Cowboys, and the most complete defense in the division. This division is a stay-away for me, but the Giants’ odds are certainly attractive.
NFC North: Packers -130, Vikings +220, Lions +400, Bears +1100
- The Packers are the odds-on favorite for a reason. They underperformed until the latter half of the season last year, and I expect them to come out hotter this season. The Vikings, however, had a solid offseason and started 5-0 last season; it’s tough to completely write them off. If I were to wager on this division, my pick would be the Packers. But if the Vikings find a way to protect Bradford, and maybe the Dalvin Cook draft selection will help that cause, I think they can have a playoff-caliber season.
NFC South: Falcons +150, Panthers +270, Bucs +280, Saints +350
- The Falcons completely blew a golden opportunity to win their first-ever Super Bowl, but I don’t think that drags them down in 2017. This team is still stacked, and that’s the reason they are the clear favorites in a scary division. But what about the Panthers, who the year prior lost the Super Bowl and couldn’t rebound last season. I think they get back on track this year, and I love their odds to win this division at +270. The Bucs aren’t far behind, but I still think they are a year or two away, and I don’t have enough confidence in Jameis Winston to protect the football. I like the Panthers’ odds, but I expect both them and the Falcons to return to the postseason in 2017.
NFC West: Seahawks -300, Cardinals +250, Rams +1400, 49ers +1600
- The Cardinals had a nightmare season in 2016, and while I think they will be better, I think this is the Seahawks division to lose. So does Vegas. The Seahawks are the heaviest favorite to win a division after the mighty Patriots. There’s a valid reason why, and I think they will win comfortably. There the most complete team, and they won the division last year despite having a “down year” by their recent standards. I think they return to being serious Super Bowl contenders in 2017, and the only competition they will have is the Cardinals who are led by Carson Palmer and a mediocre offensive line.