Week 7 of the NFL season was a statement game for the Cincinnati Bengals who went into Baltimore and destroyed the Ravens by the score of 41-17.
Yet, despite the massive victory and being in first place for the AFC North, NFL betting sites still have the Baltimore Ravens listed as the betting favorite to win the division by time it’s all said and done.
If you’re like me then you might be slightly surprised with this football prop bet. And, if you are also like me then you might be sitting here thinking that the Bengals’ odds do offer value and this could be the time to hop on the Cincy bandwagon.
So, let’s huddle up to examine this NFL futures bet and see where we should place our wager as we close in on the midpoint of the 2021 regular season.
Currently, the AFC North standings sees both the Ravens and Bengals tied atop with a 5-2 record. Yet, it’s Cincy who gets the pole position since they beat Baltimore and also have a 2-0 record within the division.
The Cleveland Browns are in 3rd place just one game back at 4-3 and the Steelers bring up the rear with a 3-3 record.
Let’s take a closer look at each team’s chances of winning the AFC North division.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2000)
The Steelers aren’t the same team they used to be when they ruled the AFC North. Since 2002, when the NFL went to the current eight division alignment, the Steelers have won the North nine times including last year.
However, this team is clearly a notch below the rest of the AFC North as their offensive line is subpar, Big Ben has one foot in retirement, and their secondary lacks true game changers other than Fitzpatrick.
Although they’re 3-3 on the year, this team will be lucky to finish 9-8.
Pittsburgh still plays the Browns and Ravens twice each. Additionally, they also have to play the Chargers, Titans, Chiefs and the Bengals one more time. Cincy already defeated Pittsburgh this season.
Cleveland Browns (+325)
Before the season started, the Browns were not only the pick to win the AFC North, but they also were a trendy choice to dethrone the Chiefs in the AFC.
After seven games, the Browns seem more like a Wild Card team at best rather than a Conference favorite.
The Browns can beat the bad teams (Texans, Bears, Vikings, Broncos), but they have struggled against the good teams with losses to the Chiefs, Chargers and Cardinals.
Through 7 weeks the Cleveland Browns are averaging 170 rushing yards per game.
Another factor working against Cleveland is that many of their star players are hurt and have already missed games. QB Baker Mayfield will need shoulder surgery at the end of the season and it remains unclear how effective he will be the rest of the year.
The team’s top two running backs Hunt and Chubb are both out due to injuries. Star receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham have also missed multiple games and are dealing with nagging injuries.
The defense has kept them above .500, but that can only last for so long. Cleveland has one of the best run games in the league, but their QB will continue to be the weak link and one that might be too hard to overcome when we enter the final few weeks of the season.
Cincinnati Bengals (+200)
The Bengals have been quite the revelation so far this season. They’ve beaten the Vikings, Steelers, Jaguars, Lions and Ravens while losing to the Bears and Packers by six total points. In fact, Cincy had multiple chances to beat the Packers, but missed field goals that would’ve won the game.
Not only has the Cincy defense improved dramatically, the offense has become a dangerous unit led by second year QB Joe Burrow and rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase.
Bengals take 1st place in the AFC North after beating the Ravens 41-17 💪
Burrow already has 1,956 yards and 17 TDs in seven games which puts him near the top of Cincy record books. Chase already has 35 receptions for 754 yards and 6 TDs. His yardage is the most by a rookie over the first seven games in NFL history.
Burrow threw for a career-high 416 yards against the Ravens in Week 7 and Chase finished with 8 receptions for 201 yards and a TD.
This dynamic duo is becoming one of the best in the league and definitely making this Cincy offense one of the scariest in the NFL.
Baltimore Ravens (+105)
The Baltimore Ravens are led by perennial NFL MVP candidate Lamar Jackson. There has never been an NFL player like Jackson before and he could definitely carry this team to a divisional crown. Baltimore does have six AFC North titles including two in the last three seasons.
However, their defense is a liability right now as they give up way too many big plays. When was the last time a Baltimore defense ranked 24th in total yards and 29th in passing yards?
That’s definitely not the Ravens defense that we’re accustomed to seeing. One factor for this has been injuries which has ravaged the secondary.
Additionally, injuries to their Top 3 running backs have made this backfield a throwback committee with Murray, Freeman, and Bell all trying to keep the offense afloat.
The Ravens do have a shot at reclaiming the top seed. However, they will need to overcome two games against Cleveland and other matchups against the Packers, Rams, two against the Steelers and one more against Cincy.
Who Should We Bet on to Win the AFC North?
Right now, as of this writing, I would go with the Bengals to win the division. Not only is their defense in the Top 15 for many key categories, but the offense is getting better with each week. The duo of Burrow and Chase is right up there with any other duo in the league.
The Steelers are not a good football team and will struggle to finish above .500 on the season. The Browns have not won the AFC North since the 2002 realignment. I don’t see either team beating out the Bengals or the Ravens for the divisional crown.
Baltimore can win this division and will be battling Cincy for the rest of the season, but the value is with the Bengals who can be found at online betting sites with odds ranging from +200 to +300. The Ravens are listed at a range of -110 to +110.
With how great the Bengals are playing, and what they just did to the Ravens, I would take Cincy and their juicy odds right now before they lower. The Bengals will win the AFC North for the 5th time since 2002.
AFC North Best Bet –Cincinnati Bengals (+200)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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