The NFL playoffs begin this weekend, and the AFC side of the postseason bracket looks much stronger than the NFC side. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are the favorite to win the AFC Championship at -115 odds, while the Buffalo Bills (+350) and Baltimore Ravens (+600) are the other favorites on the futures board.
This expanded postseason includes a third wild-card team. Only the top seed in each conference earns a bye, while the other division winners host one of the three wild-card teams. In the AFC postseason, the Kansas City Chiefs secured home-field advantage and the #1 seed.
The Buffalo Bills were awarded the #2 seed in the AFC. The Bills won their division and finally ended the New England Patriots’ domination of the AFC East.
|AFC CHAMPIONSHIP FUTURES & ODDS|
- Kansas City Chiefs -115
- Buffalo Bills +350
- Baltimore Ravens +600
- Pittsburgh Steelers +1000
- Tennessee Titans +1400
- Indianapolis Colts +2000
- Cleveland Browns +2200
Odds via DraftKings
Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers won the gritty AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens come into the postseason as the third-best favorite on the AFC Conference futures board. The Ravens are +600, compared to the Steelers at +1000.
The Cleveland Browns ended the longest postseason drought in the NFL by snagging the final AFC wild-card spot. The Browns are the biggest long shot on the futures board at +2200.
Top 3 in AFC: Will Buffalo or Baltimore KO KC?
The Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) became one of the favorites to win Super Bowl 55 the moment that Super Bowl 54 ended. They’re the favorites at -115 odds, but will face a tough batch of teams that could derail their hopes for a rare back-to-back Super Bowl win.
The Buffalo Bills (13-3) are the logical choice to pick off Kansas City. Buffalo is the second-highest team on the AFC futures board at +350 odds. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have become one of the most dangerous QB/WR tandems this season. The Bills Mafia is also pumped that they get to host at least two home playoff games. No one parties harder in the NFL, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the Bills Mafia attempts to partake in a socially distanced pregame throwdown.
If you like to back the “hot team,” then you should be on the Baltimore Ravens (11-5). They’re good value at +600 because they’re peaking at the right time. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens survived their midseason doldrums and finished out December on a strong note with a five-game winning streak. Only the Bills and Packers ended the season on a better note than the Ravens.
Any Value in Betting Steelers or Titans?
The Steelers (12-4) started the season 11-0, much to the surprise of everyone in the league. The last five games exposed the Steelers’ slacking offense, and they went 1-4 to end the season. The lack of a running game is a point of concern, but Big Ben loves throwing to rookie Chase Claypool, who gets his first taste of the postseason. The Steelers have the best defense in the AFC and third-best in the league, allowing only 19.5 ppg. Still, their linebackers are all dinged up.
The Tennessee Titans (11-5) were the “hot team” in last year’s postseason, but their epic run fell short in the 2020 AFC title game. Can they make it back to the conference championship, and will they be able to beat the Chiefs in a shootout? That’s the only way the Titans can expect to survive and advance — by sheer scoring volume. The Titans and Ravens game on Sunday is one of those must-see matchups.
The Titans won the AFC South, but a shoddy defense makes them extremely vulnerable. Derrick Henry rushed for 2,000 yards this season, and he’s ready to put the Titans on his back for the second January in a row in an effort to return to the AFC title game.
AFC Futures: Colts and Browns Long Shots
Philip Rivers led the Indianapolis Colts (11-5) to the postseason in his first year playing for a team that wasn’t the Chargers. The Colts have the third-best defense in the AFC, allowing only 22.6 points per game (that includes two games against the high-octane Titans). The Colts head to Buffalo to face the Bills and kick off the playoffs on Saturday.
The Cleveland Browns (11-5) face the Pittsburgh Steelers in back-to-back weeks. The Browns narrowly defeated their division rival 24-22 to secure a wild-card berth. However, the Steelers rested many of their starters, including Big Ben. They’re long shots at +2200, but it’s an uphill battle without the coaching staff, who will miss the wild-card weekend due to COVID-19.