Before the NFL kicks its 2021 season off, there are still plenty of season-long props bets and NFL betting picks to be made. Using the Awesemo NFL Futures: Team Betting Odds & Optimizer, bettors can see which selections have the highest expected return on investment before choosing. Using this tool, three teams from the AFC have been identified as strong plays. Let’s see who will have the best chances of winning the AFC.
AFC Conference Championship NFL Futures Bets
Baltimore Ravens (+650)
According to the Awesemo NFL Futures: Team Betting Odds & Optimizer, the Ravens have the highest expected return on investment (19%). This is a familiar optimistic outlook for Baltimore considering it had lofty expectations not too long ago. The Ravens are just two seasons removed from going 14-2 in a year that Lamar Jackson won the NFL MVP award, and they won at least 10 games in each of the last three seasons.
Although the Ravens lost J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill to season-ending injuries during training camp, their roster is one of the few that can offer viable replacements. Look for Gus Edwards to have another productive season, and Ty’Son Williams could make a name for himself as well. Jackson should handle most of the total yardage, but all it takes is a 1-yard push for running backs to pay dividends in a high-powered offense.
While everyone is relying on the Chiefs to be one of the last two teams remaining, it should be noted that Super Bowl-losing teams usually do not fare well the next season. In fact, two of the last three Super Bowl losers have failed to make the playoffs. It is a stretch for the Chiefs to miss the playoffs, long playoff runs could take a toll on the league’s most dynamic offense. If things take a turn for the worst, look for the Ravens to fill in as the AFC representative in the Super Bowl.
Indianapolis Colts (+600)
The Colts have one of the best rosters in football, but things were starting to look bleak towards the end of training camp. Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson both went down in the preseason with fractured feet, leaving many to wonder where this season was going. However, Indianapolis should have four division wins given two games against each of the Texans and Jaguars. Those extra victories could propel the Colts to an AFC South title and possibly even get themselves an extra home game if their record is good enough. While the beginning of Indianapolis’ schedule is brutal, with matchups against the Seahawks, Rams and Titans in the first three weeks, the end of the season is much easier. The Colts get favorable matchups against the Texans, Cardinals, Raiders and Jaguars in four of their final five games.
The Colts defense is also underrated, ranking eighth best in total yards allowed per game (332.1). Darius Leonard anchors a talented unit alongside DeForest Buckner. Buckner had 9.5 sacks last season, which was the second-highest total of his five-year career.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2500)
Pittsburgh has adapted to more of a quick-pass offense with Ben Roethlisberger, prioritizing getting the football to its skill-position players off the snap. Adding running back Najee Harris to the mix only helps, giving the Steelers more of a diverse offensive game plan. However, the defense is where the heartbeat of this team resides. Last season Pittsburgh’s defense allowed the third-fewest total yards per game (305.8) and was one of only three NFL teams to allow under 200 yards passing per game. Defensively it is hard to top the trio of T.J. Watt, Devin Bush and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
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