NFL Betting: Making Sense of How To Pick a Winner in a Confusing AFC North

Football news


  • The Ravens lost running back JK Dobbins to a season-ending Achilles injury
  • Joe Burrow’s calf injury may require a stint on the IR to heal
  • Nick Chubb will miss the remainder of the season after a brutal knee injury in Week 2

The AFC North was expected to be one of the best divisions in the league, but a slew of injuries and surprising losses have left many bettors suddenly unsure of which team will overcome early adversity to win it.

We have gone through each team to identify their biggest issues, current odds, and what to expect going forward for each. This will help give you all the information you need to win big at NFL betting sites ahead of Week 3.

Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

Odds to win the AFC North: +100 at DraftKings Sportsbook

While the Ravens are the only AFC North to start the season 2-0, they lost starting running back JK Dobbins to an Achilles tear. He will miss the remainder of the season, meaning the Ravens need to find a way to fix it. While they got through Week 2 well without Dobbins, we aren't sold on Gus Edwards and Justice Hill being long-term replacements.

Losing a starting running back would hurt any team, but it is especially bad for Baltimore. They are attempting to protect quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has missed significant time with injuries over the last two seasons. The Ravens were going to limit his carriers to help, but that may no longer be an option, as he was a big part of their ground success in Week 2.

The good news is that the Ravens' schedule is relatively soft, especially given the struggles of their division rivals. They must capitalize on it early as they finish the season with games against the Jags, Niners, and Dolphins.

Cleveland Browns (1-1)

Odds to win AFC North: +330 at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Browns lost a heartbreaker to the Steelers in Week 2, in addition to losing their top running back for the season. Nick Chubb is arguably the league's best back, but a brutal knee injury means he will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. That means they will need Jerome Ford and newly-signed Kareem Hunt to step up.

The Browns' defense is elite, but their offense has a big problem at quarterback. Deshaun Watson has been awful, with a 69.1 passer rating, two interceptions, two lost fumbles, nine sacks, and some senseless penalties that cost them last week's game. They have some talented receivers, but the Browns won't be a threat to win anything if they can't fix their quarterback position.

Cleveland must find a fix fast as they face the Titans, Ravens, and Niners over the next three weeks. The rest of their schedule is easier, but that may not matter if they can't fix their offense.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)

Odds to win AFC North: +475 at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Bengals may have the most severe problem of these four teams, as quarterback Joe Burrow may require a trip to the IR. A calf injury has hobbled him through the first two weeks, leading to two losses. That isn't an injury that will get better without rest, which could lead the team to shut him down soon. If not, they could risk an ugly season from their franchise quarterback.

Burrow's poor play has taken away the advantage their elite receiving corps gave them. Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase have under 90 yards through the first two weeks, a stunning drop off from their 2023 production. This puts more pressure on an aging Joe Mixon and the Bengal's backfield, who looked awful in 2022.

There is still a chance Burrow can learn to play with the injury and the Bengals turn things around, but we find it hard to believe they can keep pace with the 2-0 Ravens this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)

Odds to win AFC North: +550 at DraftKings Sportsbook

The Steelers are the healthiest team in the division, but their offense is not where it needs to be. Pickett has underwhelmed through the first two weeks despite expectations that he would break out in 2023. Najee Harris and the run game isn't great, and the Pittsburgh defense isn't good enough to compensate for those shortcomings.

While the Steelers could surprise some people this season, it is hard to see them as serious contenders to win the AFC North.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.