NFL Betting 2023: Best division winners bets, including the Chargers to sit atop the AFC West

Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) in the huddle with teammates against the Jacksonville Jaguars during a wild card playoff game at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2023 NFL Draft and free agency now in the rearview, we have a better idea of how NFL rosters will look like heading into training camp. That presents a great opportunity to survey the futures betting market for value.

Note: Odds sourced from FanDuel Sportsbook


AFC

AFC NORTH

With news of Lamar Jackson re-signing on a record-breaking extension, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL, the odds in the North have seen a sizable shift. Baltimore moved back into the conversation, jumping from +325 odds amid Jackson trade rumors to +240 currently, second shortest in the division — behind only Cincinnati.

Although the Bengals still rightfully maintain the top spot, the Ravens obviously present significant value. This offense will be teeming with playmakers that could prove to be a potent combination. The additions of free agent Odell Beckham Jr. and first-round rookie Zay Flowers to the receiving corps will present Jackson with the most talented group he’s ever had to throw to. Pair that with the Ravens’ signature power run game, and this unit has all the makings of a top-five offense.

Pick: Baltimore Ravens (+240)


AFC EAST

Oddly enough, even after the Jets finalized the trade for Aaron Rodgers, their odds to win the division haven’t shortened. Previously listed around +210 after Rodgers announced his intentions to play for the Jets — but prior to the trade becoming official — they now find themselves at +250 (28% implied probability).

Although the Bills are undoubtedly the team to beat in the East, the Jets carry immense value. An already strong roster gaining a former back-to-back MVP should warrant more attention from public bettors as the season draws closer, which may bridge the gap between the top two spots. Although Rodgers may not be poised to challenge for another MVP, any upgrade under center will go a long way for this team.

Pick: New York Jets (+250)


AFC SOUTH

The South was very active during this year’s draft. The Texans, Colts and Titans all drafted quarterbacks early in C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis, respectively. That should put into perspective the expectations these franchises have for themselves heading into next season. Although each has a veteran signal-caller as of this writing, none really move the needle in the division. Questions at quarterback are already enough to derail even good rosters (e.g., the New York Jets), but these rosters have a number of questions throughout that could change further as camp cuts start flying.

Without a doubt, the division runs through Duval. Trevor Lawrence and company are poised to control this division after closing out the 2022 season on a strong note by winning six of their last seven, including their first playoff victory since 2017. The reinstatement of Calvin Ridley (84.9 PFF grade in his last full season) is sure to add some juice to this offense that will be tough to match for the rest of the South.

Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (-160)


AFC WEST

The AFC West, without a doubt, runs through Kansas City. After all, to be the best, you have to beat the best, and the Chiefs continue to assert their dominance over their competition. After winning the last seven division crowns in a row, it makes sense they’re heavy favorites to do it again, but oddsmakers may be undervaluing the rest of the division as a result.

The Chargers seem like a team to watch heading into every season. A roster overflowing with talent and promise that can’t manage to stay healthy. The same story played out this past season, to which they responded by making the playoffs anyway off an impressive late-season push. To help combat those injuries they’ve grown accustomed to, the Chargers drafted well to add depth to their strengths as an insurance plan should key players go down. With that foresight — and a bit of injury luck — Los Angeles could overtake the West.

Pick: Los Angeles Chargers (+300)


NFC

NFC NORTH

The NFC North has three teams separated by just 1 percentage point of implied probability to win the division crown. The Rodgers-less Packers, the one-score-win Vikings and the up-and-coming Bears all carry near-identical odds at the bottom of the board. These rosters do carry some talent, but outside of high hopes, none should have expectations to lead this division in 2023.

The Lions rightfully stand atop the North after a heartbreaking end to last season in which they just missed out on a playoff berth. They may have made some questionable moves in this year’s draft, but it was nothing to shake the confidence of oddsmakers. Powered by the league’s seventh-highest-graded offense (79.0 PFF grade), the Lions can boat race any team in this division. The questions revolve around a potentially upgraded defense that features a number of free agent and draft acquisitions, from C.J. Gardner-Johnson to Jack Campbell. If that group can mesh and play at a high level, this may be a contending roster out of the NFC.

Pick: Detroit Lions (+140)


NFC EAST

The top story coming out of draft weekend had to be the masterful performance put on by Howie Roseman, who selected two of the class’ top defensive prospects in Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith. Roseman continues to play chess while the rest of the league is playing checkers. The Eagles are in position to be the pace car for this division for years to come, behind Jalen Hurts and one of the most complete rosters in football.

The Cowboys are the clear next in line to push for the division crown. Even being without Dak Prescott for more than a month last season, Dallas still managed to rattle off wins with Cooper Rush under center. That’s impressive composure from this roster that resulted in a playoff berth. Although this is the Eagles' division to lose, the Cowboys won’t make it easy on them. But at the end of the day, not many rosters in the league possess as much talent as Philly’s.

Pick: Philadelphia Eagles (+110)


NFC SOUTH

The odds in the South have jostled around a bit following the draft. Even after selecting Bryce Young with the first overall pick, the Panthers slid down the divisional odds, now slotting in behind the Falcons. Meanwhile, Atlanta has moved up following the acquisition of phenom back Bijan Robinson to supplement one of the league’s strongest run games of last season.

It’s understandable why some like the Falcons' improved chance to be competitive in this division, but there may still be too many holes to overtake the Saints. New Orleans possesses the most polished passer in the division in Derek Carr, weapons to target on the outside in Chris Olave and Michael Thomas and a strong defense. That’s undoubtedly the most complete roster in the division.

Pick: New Orleans Saints (+125)


NFC WEST

With speculation swirling around the Niners possibly being interested in trading away Trey Lance, and starting Sam Darnold until Brock Purdy recovers from elbow surgery, it’s tough to understand why oddsmakers believe they have such a stranglehold on this division. Darnold didn’t do much in his last stop in Carolina to warrant this level of respect, compared to the rest of the division.

Prior to the draft, Seattle had the third-longest odds to win this division, at roughly 4-to-1. After an excellent draft that saw the Seahawks add the class' consensus top-ranked receiver and cornerback, they now find themselves at a solid +260. Pete Carroll and John Schneider are leaning into Geno Smith and giving him all the pieces to win. It was a surprise when this team exceeded expectations last season. There’s no excuse to not see them coming this season.

Pick: Seattle Seahawks (+260)

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