The AFC North is always a dog fight with some of the biggest rivalries in the league and some of the hardest hitters on, going back nearly two decades.
Pittsburgh won the division last season, going undefeated for much of the year until they began a slide that ultimately saw them lose to Cleveland in the first round of the NFL Playoffs.
There is no firm favorite to take the AFC North in the 2021 season, but I think there is some value with divisional futures in the North.
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Odds To Win The AFC North In 2024
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NFL AFC North Division Predictions
Baltimore Ravens +120
The Ravens regressed last season from their 14 win campaign in 2019 to just 11 wins. However, they had a much more demanding schedule and regressed after putting up unsustainable offensive numbers in the 2021 season.
There are not a lot of negatives when it comes to Baltimore. Sammy Watkins is an excellent addition to a wide receiver corps that needed some serious help.
The offense line is mostly the same. Expect Lamar Jackson and company to continue steamrolling opponents with this elite offense.
The defense has seen even less turnover than the offense. They are returning almost all of their starters and have no significant weaknesses. This is likely a top-10 unit in the league and a nightmare for opposing passers.
Cleveland Browns +130
The Browns had an excellent season last year and were close to knocking off the Chiefs in the playoffs. They have a lot to be excited about in 2021.
Cleveland will return almost their starters from last season, including their stout offensive line. Thanks to improved play from Mayfield, their offense played much better in the second half of the season.
They return all offensive weapons from last season and get Odell Beckham Jr. healthy once again.
Defensively, it gets a bit murkier. Their pass rush will always be above-average with Myles Garrett out there, but the secondary has some question marks. They should be a better defensive team but far from elite.
Aside from the division, I do like the Browns to go over 10.5 wins, which is currently -125 at BetUS.
Pittsburgh Steelers +450
Last year, the Steelers went into Week 13 with an 11-0 record, but they crumbled down the stretch to finish at 12-4. Pittsburgh doesn’t look to be much improved from last season.
Offensively, they lost nearly their entire offensive line. Big Ben is also another year older and the offense, as a whole, had issues when throwing downfield.
Their reworked offensive line looks like one of the worst in the league, at least on paper.
The Steelers also lost two excellent cornerbacks last season to free agency in Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton. There is still a lot of talent in the secondary and upfront, but linebacker play behind TJ Watt is suspect.
Pittsburgh did not get better in the offseason, and their record against higher-level teams was poor last year. Things could change if their offensive line is better than what we see on paper, but right now, their outlook for 2021 looks poor.
Cincinnati Bengals +1800
The Bengals were a competitive team until Joe Burrow tore his ACL. After that, they were the awful team we expected them to be at the start of the year.
With Burrow back in the fold, the franchise should take some sort of step forward this season.
Offensively, they should be a lot better with Burrow back. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are both talented receivers. The Bengals tried to improve their offensive line, but it’s likely still a league-average unit.
Defensively is where Cincy will struggle. They had a poor pass rush last season and did little to improve their line. Their linebacking corps is also a mess.
They do have some players with some potential in the secondary, but without a pass rush, it’s tough to see this group progressing.
In a tough division, it’s tough to like them here, even at +1800.
AFC North Prediction
I love the value with the Ravens at +120. Baltimore is easily the best team in the AFC North, and they seemed to have gotten better in the offseason.
Baltimore easily dominates terrible teams and could have top-five units on both offense and defense in 2021.
I think there’s some clear distance between them and the Browns, especially how they match up against each other. The rest of the division is far behind these teams in terms of talent.