The 2017 National Football League (NFL) kicks off on 7 September so now’s the time to analyse the teams for best betting odds. For those who are new to the sport, the NFL consists of 32 American Football teams with 16 making up the National Football Conference (NFC) and 16 making up the American Football Conference (AFC). The two division winners eventually go head-to-head in one of America’s most watched television events, the Super Bowl, which traditionally takes place on the first Sunday in February. Here is a look at the top five AFC teams to put your money on this season.
1. New England Patriots
The outright favourites are, without a doubt, the New England Patriots. This stellar team has won the division 14 out of the last 16 seasons, with much credit given to their full-time starting quarterback, Tom Brady. So convinced are they of their chances, the Patriots have already sent out the AFC Championship tickets – before the season has even started! That’s pretty bold. They have had to rule out Julian Edelman from this year’s season after he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a pre-season game at Detroit, but the Super Bowl defending champions are still ready to get the season started with the first game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Current betting odds 19/10
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
The oldest franchise within the AFC, the Pennsylvania-based Pittsburgh Steelers will be starting the season on 10 September when they take on the Cleveland Browns. They’re definitely looking at a more optimistic season having radically adjusted their defence to make it to the Super Bowl.
Since the NFL merger in 1970, the Pittsburgh Steelers have reached the playoffs 30 times, won their division 22 times, played in 16 AFC championship games, and won six of eight Super Bowls. Not a bad record. This year they’re scheduled to face just three teams with winning records from last year in the first half of this season, which should give them a good early boost.
Current betting odds: 5/1
3. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are known for their extensive – sometimes terrifying – fan base and distinctive team culture, although fans are not impressed by the announcement that their beloved team will move to Las Vegas after the 2018 season. However, this shouldn’t affect the players on the field. The team has an impressive track record with 15 division titles, four AFC Championships, one AFL Championship and three Super Bowls since 1963. Unfortunately, this year’s season will see them open with three of the first four games on the road with three of the last four also on the road – plus a home date against biggest rival, the New England Patriots, was sacrificed – meaning they won’t be able to rely on home turf and the big fan base. But, they’ve spent most of the off-season building on their strengths while also extending quarterback, Derek Carr, and offensive guard Gabe Jackson, to long-term deals. A number of new playmakers are also set to make this team’s offense even more dynamic.
Current betting odds: 8/1
4. Kansas City Chiefs
This team has been strengthened by the recent acquisition of linebacker, Reggie Ragland, from the Buffalo Bills. This should give fans hope following a disappointing finish in the NFL playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers after what had been an incredible season with the Chiefs winning 12 of their 16 regular season games. They’re facing a tough NFL schedule this year but the Chiefs have impact players on both sides of the ball, and developmental talent that should enjoy breakout performances.
Current betting odds: 10/1
5. Denver Broncos
Having missed the 2016 playoffs, the Denver Broncos have been working hard to make their way back this season, which will hopefully pay off. Unfortunately, Bronco’s rookie coach, Vance Joseph, is facing the most difficult schedule for 2017. Not only do the Broncos have zero games against any of the poorer sides, they play eight teams that won 10 or more games in 2016. But, Joseph is a tough guy looking to improve the team’s offense and strengthen on-field mentality. He’s not afraid to hold players accountable. Historically, the Denver Broncos have also had a good run, winning 15 division titles – since 1970 – and winning three of the eight Super Bowls, including the 2016 cup.
Current betting odds: 11/1
Place your NFL bets today
Betting odds are correct at time of publishing however they are subject to change on an ongoing basis. Please check current betting odds here, before placing a bet.
Keith Ho BetXchange is a leading online sports betting website and offers the latest betting odds and major sports and other events around the globe. Visit www.betxchange.co.za for the latest events and betting odds.