Bengals the only Threat to Ravens Winning the AFC North Title

Sportsbook
By Mike Rose

Regardless of the Cleveland Browns picking up an overtime win this past weekend, the AFC North is a two-horse race between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. The former remains the current odds-on favorite to win the division, but I got a feeling their days of being so are numbered with the latter getting healthy and looking primed to make a run. Let’s put the current futures odds over at PointsBet Sportsbook under the microscope and see if any of the offerings call for an add to the portfolio.

 

Bet AFC North Title Odds at PointsBet Sportsbook

 

Baltimore Ravens -250

 

OPEN

WEEK 1

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+145

+130

+100

-110

-145

-286

-500

-250

 

 

 

I was extremely confident that the Baltimore Ravens would have me in a position to cash futures tickets on them to win the AFC North, AFC, and possibly the Super Bowl a few weeks back. Heck, I thought it was a no-brainer that they’d surpass their 9.5-game season wins total! After watching John Harbaugh’s squad in action the last few weeks, I’m no longer sold.

 

It struggled to dispose of the Carolina Panthers out of the bye, and then allowed the Jacksonville Jaguars to claw back from a 19-10 early fourth quarter deficit to win the game at the gun. Not only by scoring the touchdown, but also converting the go-ahead 2-point conversion!

 

It’s gotten so bad that Lamar Jackson took to Twitter following the game to call out a fan that said he didn’t deserve to be paid. It wasn’t a good look. That being said, the schedule is laughable to say the least over the next five weeks with every opponent currently sporting a losing record. Should it fail to go into the Week 18 clash with the Bengals in the ‘Natti undefeated during that stretch, it’s on the Ravens. No excuses!

 

Points-Bet-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-54-PMCincinnati Bengals +200

 

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+175

+325

+320

+210

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+350

+425

+200

 

 

 

Last I reported on the Bengals, I was screaming from the roof tops to buy shares of Joey Brrrr and Co. Since then, the Cincinnati rattled off back-to-back road wins against the Steelers and Titans. In doing so, their odds to win the North were more than cut in half from +425 to +200 yet I still think there’s value supporting Zac Taylor’s troops with the offering still higher than it was at the season’s outset.

 

Cincy’s offense is leaps and bounds better than anything else the division currently offers up, and it’ll be getting the services of Ja’Marr Chase back into the fold as soon as this week’s home clash against the Kansas City Chiefs. On top of that, the defense has been playing a solid brand of ball now that it’s gotten healthier.

 

Though Joe Burrow and his mates have a much tougher path to navigate in hopes of catching the Ravens in the standings, they’ve already matched their overall record and get the benefit of taking Baltimore on at home in the season finale. A 2-1 rate of return offers up value in my book. So too does the team’s 9.5-game adjusted in-season wins total. I would prefer gross -185 chalk not being attached to the over though.

 

Cleveland Browns +3500

 

OPEN

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+375

+350

+350

+400

+800

+1400

+2800

+3500

 

 

 

I said it before and I’ll say it again, Deshaun Watson won’t be the saving grace for this team in 2022-23. Not with the porous excuse of a run defense Kevin Stefanski’s troops march out to the gridiron every passing week. Even in last week’s gifted overtime win over the Buccaneers mostly due to some of the most negligent coaching Tom Brady has ever witnessed, Cleveland still served up 96 yards and 4.8 yards per carry with a rookie running back leading the charge.

 

The offense is likely to build off what Jacoby Brissett was able to do under Watson’s watch, but his presence likely won’t do much to improve a Browns defense that sports an laughable 13.4 yard per point average; only the Arizona Cardinals have conceded more points over fewer yards gained! It also doesn’t help that four of the team’s final six games will be played away from FirstEnergy Stadium.

 

But if you feel like gambling, their odds of making the playoffs currently clock in at +800 over at PointsBet.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers +6000

 

OPEN

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+900

+550

+700

+2500

+2000

+6600

+3300

+6000

 

 

 

I’ve absolutely loved seeing the growth of Kenny Pickett and George Pickens ever since Mike Tomlin made the decision to go to his rookie back in Week 5. While it was a rough go of it early on, the move has started to bear fruit with the Steelers logging wins two of the last three weeks. They were also very competitive in that 37-30 loss to the Bengals.

 

All that said, it’s not about winning this division or going to the playoffs right now. The “No” for them to do so is currently -10000 for crying out loud! I’m just praying they can find a way to win four of their remaining six games to cash my over 7.5 ticket. Tough sell with @Atlanta, Baltimore, @Carolina, Las Vegas, @Baltimore, and Cleveland remaining on the docket.