We’re getting deeper and deeper into the NFL season, with Week 11 rapidly approaching. While betting on games is a great way to make some money, futures are a decent way to make a profit, too. Over in the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens are on top with a 7-3 record but do face a division rival in the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns are right on their heels at 6-3 though, while the Bengals can never be counted out and currently sit at 5-4. Below, we’ll discuss the AFC North futures.
By no surprise, the Ravens are the clear-cut favorite to win the division with odds as low as -140. After that, it’s a bit of a toss-up. The Bengals have better odds at one sportsbook (+400 at BetOnline) despite being last in the AFC North, but at others, Cincy, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland are all in the same ballpark in terms of odds. Things are still relatively wide open in one of the most competitive divisions in the league.
While Baltimore just saw their four-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Browns, many still expect them to take home the AFC North title. Lamar Jackson is playing like the player we all know he can be, dominating opposing defenses with his strong arm and impressive running abilities with the football. There’s a reason the Ravens have the best rushing attack in the NFL. However, Baltimore must win on Sunday against Cincinnati, who also desperately need a victory. The outcome of this game could set the tone for how this division could play out. The Ravens’ remaining schedule isn’t all that difficult after Cincy either, with the exception of back-to-back meetings with the 49ers and Dolphins.
It’s actually quite interesting the Bengals have the second-best AFC North futures odds at BetOnline despite barely hovering over .500. But, that’s simply due to how good Cincinnati has been in the past with Joe Burrow under center. Although they’ve been inconsistent at times, this is a playoff team. However, as previously mentioned, beating the Ravens in Week 11 is basically a must. The rest of their schedule is rather manageable as well. We’ll see if the Bengals can make the postseason again.
It’s difficult to figure out how the Steelers are 6-3. Their offense ranks 30th in total yards, 6th in points, and 29th in passing yards. Defensively, they’re bottom five in most yards allowed. Kenny Pickett has thrown for just six touchdowns against four interceptions. Not good enough. Pittsburgh is doing just enough to win, taking home victories in several close ball games. They’re riding a two-game winning streak heading into Sunday against the Browns in another important divisional showdown. It’s just hard to imagine Pickett will suddenly start playing well enough to lead the Steelers to a title.
Honestly, the Browns deserved a look to win the AFC North before Deshaun Watson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in last Sunday’s win over the Ravens. Yes, Watson wasn’t playing great, but they don’t exactly have any better options. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is reportedly set to start this weekend, who has thrown three picks and no TDs in limited action. This defense is top in the NFL in numerous categories, but it’s hard to imagine them keeping Cleveland afloat enough to win the division. The Steelers are up next.
AFC North Futures Picks
I honestly wouldn’t hang my hat on the Steelers under Pickett. The Browns are in trouble without Watson and the Bengals offense is not what it was. The Ravens look like the best pick at this point, as long as Jackson remains healthy. As we saw last year, that didn’t happen and Baltimore deteriorated. But if he’s on the field doing this thing, I do see the Ravens cruising to the AFC North title and rolling into the playoffs as a legitimate contender.