The NFL is months away from kicking off, but the early bird gets the betting worm, so let's take a look at three division winner values on BetMGM before the odds wriggle away from us. All three teams are priced above +200, so if just one of them hits, you'll make money if you're wagering the same amount on each bet.
Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North (+210)
The only possible explanation for the Ravens' horrific injury luck in 2021 is that owner Stephen Bisciotti must have dropped a mirror while walking underneath a ladder while opening some cursed tomb before the season started. Quarterback Lamar Jackson and cornerback Marlon Humphrey missed five games each, offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley missed virtually the entire year, cornerback Marcus Peters did miss the entire year, and Baltimore was down to their third-string running back by the time the season started, in the wake of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards both suffering season-ending injuries in the preseason.
Baltimore has 10 picks in the 2022 draft, including the 14th overall pick. If you take a look at their draft history, you'll notice that the Ravens rarely miss. The current talent on Baltimore's roster is on par with the 2019 team that went 14-2 and won the AFC North by six games. Jackson's MVP campaign that season was no fluke. He's still one of the most difficult quarterbacks to gameplan for and play against. With Dobbins and Edwards healthy, the Ravens rushing attack will be back in a big way. Their defense will be, as well. Last year's disappointing finish is this year's recency bias-fueled value.
As for the other teams in the division, the Steelers (+900) will be better than people expect, but their offensive line remains a glaring problem. Cincinnati (+240) shored up in that area, but they enjoyed the third-easiest schedule last year and a bit of luck, finishing with 1.6 more wins than their expected 8.4 wins. Cleveland (+160) is favored to win the AFC North and could be Baltimore's toughest competition, but they could also end up at the bottom of the division, depending on what ends up happening in regards to a Deshaun Watson suspension. If Watson gets suspended for 6-plus games, Baltimore suddenly becomes the favorite to win the AFC North.
Los Angeles Chargers to win the AFC West (+270)
The AFC West is loaded with more stars than the Oscars, and Chris Rock hasn't seen anything like the slugfest we're about to witness in the division. Kansas City, a +135 favorite to win the AFC West, has had a stranglehold on it for the past six seasons, but that began to crack last season. Now, Tyreek Hill is gone, Travis Kelce has a 33rd birthday creeping up, and the Chiefs no longer have the luxury of a stud quarterback who's playing on his rookie contract.
The Chargers do have that luxury, however. In fact, they're the only ones in the division with it. I wrote back in February how Los Angeles was in a perfect position to go all-in on a Super Bowl run behind QB Justin Herbert, and boy did they start making moves in free agency. Nose tackles Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day and linebacker Khalil Mack were brought in to address the Chargers' inability to stop the run, and ball-hawking cornerback J.C. Jackson was signed to shut down opposing passing games. Since he's been in the NFL, no cornerback has allowed a lower passer rating than Jackson (45.7). Los Angeles still has nearly $19 million in cap space and the 17th pick in the draft to upgrade the right side of their offensive line and add some depth on defense.
The Broncos (+280) are instant contenders after the addition of QB Russell Wilson, and the Raiders (+600) will be equally tough with newcomers Davante Adams and Chandler Jones and the return of a healthy Darren Waller. Los Angeles has the fewest weaknesses in the division following their free agent shopping spree and I think their push towards the Super Bowl pays off this season with at least an AFC West crown.
Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East (+300)
The Eagles' offense was painful to watch early in the 2021 season. QB Jalen Hurts wasn't clicking with what passes in Philadelphia for a wide receiver room, as his team started 3-6. First-year head coach Nick Sirianni righted the ship by doing what his roster was built to do — run the ball. The Eagles won six of their final eight games, rushing for 200-plus yards four times, and snuck into the playoffs after leading the league in rushing yards.
Philly will be even better this year. They still have a mauling offensive line, Hurts and Sirianni both have a full season of action under their belts, the Eagles own three of the top 19 picks in the 2022 draft, and they signed backfield-wrecker Haason Reddick to pair with defensive lineman Fletcher Cox. If they can just find another solid receiver to line up with DeVonta Smith, this is going to be a fun team to watch.
Their biggest obstacle will be last year's NFC East champ, the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is a -120 favorite to repeat the feat. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn turned the Cowboys D around in 2021, but they were also the beneficiary of the second-highest fumble recovery luck, which tends to regress. The offense shipped off Amari Cooper and continues to be weighed down by Ezekiel Elliott's albatross of a contract. If there's any opportunity for Mike McCarthy to mess this season up, he will.
Washington (+450) is hypothetically in play, but their defense was an absolute zero last season and I'm very comfortable fading QB Carson Wentz. The Giants (+700) have a new head coach who's a brilliant offensive mind, but Brian Daboll isn't a magician, and New York needs David Copperfield if they want to appear at the top of the division standings when the season is complete.
Stats provided by PFF, teamrankings.com, and nfl.com.