With the NFL’s mandatory minicamps ending this week, we’re inching closer to the start of the 2022 NFL regular season. Fans and bettors alike are making note of the preseason odds to win each division, not only to find potential value but also to just get a sense of how the upcoming season might go.
Below, we’ll highlight each division’s odds-on favorite and an intriguing sleeper who might end up having a better-than-expected 2022-23 campaign. As usual, these odds will fluctuate as the preseason and regular season progress.
AFC North odds: Favorite, sleeper to win division
All odds courtesy of Vegas Insider
Favorite: Cincinnati Bengals +200
The 2022 AFC North divisional odds pose a three-way-tie for the division favorite between the Bengals, Ravens, and Browns. Among those three teams, the Bengals (+200) are the chalky pick but are warranted as the team to beat.
Cincinnati was a 3rd-and-1 conversion away from likely sending Super Bowl LVI to overtime and looks to make amends this season. The Bengals had a great offseason, beefing up an offensive line that allowed the third-most sacks a season ago (55) by inking OG Alex Cappa (Buccaneers), OL Ted Karras (Patriots), and OL La’el Collins (Cowboys) to free-agent deals. Cincinnati also used a fourth-round draft pick on OT Cordell Volson (North Dakota State), who will provide depth to what should be a much more consistent group of blockers.
Joe Burrow showcased what he can do last season. He led the league in completion percentage above expectation (six percent) and ranked second in passer rating (108.3) trailing only MVP Aaron Rodgers. Burrow’s 34:14 TD-to-INT rate signifies his football high-IQ, one Cincinnati will need with a tougher schedule this year.
Sleeper: Pittsburgh Steelers +850
Given the Steelers’ current price to win the AFC North, they have the makings of a realistic sleeper who can contend for a division title. Mitchell Trubisky figures to win the starting QB job out the gates, but don’t be surprised to see Kenny Pickett, the No. 20 selection in this year’s draft, take meaningful snaps.
Pittsburgh’s defense will likely be the reason why the Steelers contend in a competitive AFC North, as it will need to stall drives and create turnovers to put the offense in favorable spots. The Steelers expended most of their offseason moves on the defensive side of the ball, extending 25-year-old safety Minkah Fitzpatrick for four more seasons and adding LB Myles Jack (Jaguars) and CB Levi Wallace (Bills).
The Steelers’ skill position players make for a fairly smooth transition for Trubisky and/or Pickett. Najee Harris has second-year-breakout written all over him, while the receiving corps of Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, rookie Calvin Austin III, rookie George Pickens, and Pat Freiermuth can take pressure off the man under center. There’s a reason Pittsburgh has the longest odds to win the AFC North, but don’t count out Mike Tomlin and company, especially now that they’re in the underdog role.
AFC South odds: Favorite, sleeper to win division
Favorite: Indianapolis Colts -105
After a disappointing 2021 that saw the Colts blow their playoff hopes in a disastrous 26-11 Week 18 loss in Jacksonville, GM Chris Ballard knew another significant change had to be made. Matt Ryan will be the Colts’ fifth different Week 1 QB in the past five seasons, but the former MVP should be a steady leader for this Super Bowl-caliber roster.
First-team All-Pro Jonathan Taylor looks to build on a dominant season that saw the second-year pro lead the league in rushing yards (1,811) and touchdowns (18) on 5.5 yards per cary. The Colts’ offensive line is a consistent unit that ranked within the top 10 in fewest sacks allowed (32) and run-block win rate (72 percent).
Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has since departed for Chicago, but Indianapolis gets a relatively manageable schedule of opposing offenses, making them the team to beat in the AFC South. The Colts also signed lockdown CB Stephon Gilmore, who, despite logging just eight games for Carolina in 2021, boasted the second-highest coverage grade per PFF (90.0) and allowed just 15 catches on the season. Indy looks legit this year.
Sleeper: Jacksonville Jaguars +700
Jacksonville is the only true sleeper in the AFC South, as Tennessee’s odds (+135) make it more of a legit contender than a sleeper. The Jaguars hope to put 2021 in the rearview mirror after letting go of Urban Meyer in mid-December and giving Doug Pederson another chance at a head coaching gig.
Despite some criticism, Jacksonville laid out the bags in free agency, spending $259.5 million ($155.25 million guaranteed) to sign seven players, highlighted by WR Christian Kirk (four years, $72 million) and G Brandon Scherff (three years, $49.5 million ). Year two of the Trevor Lawrence era hopes to lead to increased production as the first-year signal-caller ranked third-lowest among qualified passers in passer rating (71.9) and completion percentage above expectation (-5.4 percent).
Jacksonville’s schedule isn’t too daunting, as its Week 15 home contest against Dallas figures to be its toughest cross-conference game. While it’s still unlikely the Jaguars end the season as the division winners, there’s a chance these odds decrease a bit during the regular season.
AFC East odds: Favorite, sleeper to win division
|New England Patriots||+400|
|New York Jets||+1800|
Favorite: Buffalo Bills -190
After a heartbreaking 42-36 overtime loss in the divisional round to Kansas City, 2023 feels like it will be Buffalo’s time. Not only is Buffalo the AFC East, but it’s also the Super Bowl favorite (+650).
Four-year play-caller Brian Daboll is gone, but first-year OC Ken Dorsey is ready to make the most out of his job promotion. Buffalo made some impactful free-agent additions on offense, signing WR Jamison Crowder and TE O.J. Howard to one-year deals. The Bills also drafted versatile Georgia RB James Cook in the second round. Buffalo’s offensive line held together soundly toward the end of 2021, as it allowed only one total sack in its past three regular-season games and a total of two sacks in the postseason.
The Bills’ most notable free-agent move was addingLB Von Miller to a championship-ready locker room. With few holes on the roster, the Bills are ready for a return to the big game and look poised to breeze through the AFC East.
Sleeper: Miami Dolphins +400
Outside of Buffalo, Miami hopes to be a legit contender for the AFC East crown in 2022. It’s now-or-never for third-year QB Tua Tagovailoa, who has no room for excuses following the additions of Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson, along with year two of the Jaylen Waddle experience.
Miami ended 2021 on a high note, winning eight of its past nine games, most notably notching a two-score victory over the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens on Thursday Night Football in Week 10. It’s still wild that the Dolphins let go of Brain Flores after two seasons when they entered the offseason as the hottest team to not make the playoffs.
Miami has a playoff-caliber roster with impactful skill position players and an above-average defense. Don’t be surprised to see Miami take a wild-card spot, and at +400 (implied probability 20 percent) they’re a worthwhile sleeper to sprinkle on to potentially win the AFC East.
AFC West odds: Favorite, sleeper to win division
|Kansas City Chiefs||+150|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+250|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+600|
Favorite: Kansas City Chiefs +150
The AFC West projects to be one of the closest division races, as every team now has a high-quality QB and an offensive-minded philosophy. Despite key pieces Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu from their near-dynastic core, oddsmakers are once again pegging the Chiefs as the team to beat.
Los Angeles’ and Denver’s odds aren’t that much higher, but Patrick Mahomes and the reigning six-time AFC West-champion Chiefs deserve to be the betting favorite. Kansas City was well on its way to a third-straight Super Bowl appearance, but a second-half collapse crushed their hopes of matching up with the Rams.
Despite trading Hill to Miami, Kansas City’s offense will still be one of the most potent units. The Chiefs hope to pick up the production lost from Hill with free-agent acquisitions JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Packers) and rookie Skyy Moore (Western Michigan), the No. 54 overall pick in the draft.
Sleeper: Las Vegas Raiders +600
If there’s a year for another team to at least temporarily take the AFC West crown away from the Chiefs, it will be this one. While any team could come out of this division, Las Vegas (+600) offers by far the best odds given the talent on the roster.
Ex-Packer WR Davante Adams is arguably the most-impactful offseason addition, as he and Derek Carr will lineup on the same side for the first time since playing together at Fresno State in 2013. During their final collegiate season together, Adams racked up 1,719 yards on 131 receptions and 24 scores. Now with long-time Patriots OC Josh McDaniels in the fold, expect a big year from the QB-WR duo even with all the attention they will command from defensive backfields.
Las Vegas’ pass-rush ability was among the best in the NFL last year, as the Raiders sported the eighth-highest pass-rush win rate (44 percent). The Raiders’ defense was also efficient against the run, ranking ninth in run-stop win rate (32 percent). Don’t be surprised to see Las Vegas in the thick of the AFC West race, even with the longest odds to win the division.
NFC North odds: Favorite, sleeper to win division
|Green Bay Packers||-185|
Favorite: Green Bay Packers -185
Green Bay is worthy of being the odds-on favorite in 2022, but don’t expect things to be as easy for the Pack. Frankly, Green Bay’s division odds are overpriced, as Minnesota (+275) has a better ROI for futures bettors.
Green Bay has a tough schedule, as it’s unlikely to end the season with 13 regular-season wins as it has in the past three years. The loss of WR Davante Adams forces Aaron Rodgers to find a new go-to option in the passing game. Is second-round rookie Christian Watson (North Dakota State) ready in year one?
The Packers retain much of last year’s defense that ranked ninth in yards allowed. Despite that top-10 ranking, Green Bay sat in the bottom half of the league in both pass-rush win rate (35 percent) and run-stop win rate (30 percent). Green Bay’s personnel is capable of putting forth a more efficient season in DC Joe Barry’s second year.
Sleeper: Detroit Lions +1000
Relative to other divisions, the NFC North is more wide open than the betting odds suggest they are. With Detroit’s price to win the division sitting at +1000 (implied probability 9.09 percent), it’s the only team in the league with division odds north of 10-1 that has a slim-but-real chance to shock the world.
Lions fans are hopeful Jared Goff improves on his completed air yards/attempt ranking (4.3, second-worst among qualified passers) with the additions of field stretchers DJ Chark (Jaguars) and first-round rookie Jameson Williams (Alabama). RB D’Andre Swift’s effectiveness in the rushing and receiving game gives Detroit another skill-position weapon alongside second-year WR Amon-Ra St. Brown and rising TE T.J. Hockenson.
There’s no denying that coach Dan Campbell had his players motivated and playing their best football as the season progressed. The Lions are a sleeper for a reason, and they might end up turning some heads this year for the right reasons.
NFC South odds: Favorite, sleeper to win division
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-300|
Favorite: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -300
Tampa Bay is the biggest divisional favorite in the NFL, but the NFC South race will still be a competitive one. Tampa Bay’s path to their second straight divisional crown won’t be as easy as the odds suggest.
A Tampa offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks a season ago (23) won’t have the same continuity after losing guards Ali Marpet to retirement and Alex Cappa in free agency. WR Chris Godwin won’t be back on the field for at least the first few weeks, as he’s still recovering from a right ACL tear sustained last December. TE Rob Gronkowski also hasn’t officially decided if he’s coming back. Tampa did sign WR Russell Gage (Falcons) in free agency and still has ample depth in its receiving room, though.
Even with some key departures, Tampa has the best roster in the NFC South. As long as Tom Brady is taking snaps behind center, the Bucs will compete for another Super Bowl ring. Laying some action on them right now to win the division isn’t the best way to manage your bankroll, though, so maybe look to bet them during the regular season if their odds drop.
Sleeper: New Orleans Saints +375
The post-Sean Payton era begins with long-time defensive coordinator Dennis Allen making the move to head coaching duties. New Orleans will compete for a wild-card spot, and an NFC South title isn’t too far-fetched.
Jameis Winston is back healthy, and after posting an impressive 14:3 TD-to-INT ratio a season ago (seven games), he’ll look to assert himself within the top half of NFL starting QBs in production and efficiency. With Michael Thomas (left ankle), who missed all of 2021, and first-round rookie Chris Olave hopefully taking the field together, New Orleans’ passing game could be the most improved in the NFL.
Safety Tryann Mathieu (three years, $33 million) and WR Jarvis Landry (one year, $3 million) were their most notable free-agent acquisitions, as the former-LSU Tigers are back in the bayou. Safety Marcus Maye (three years, $28.5 million) was New Orleans’ other impactful free-agent add. At +375 the Saints are a well-rounded roster with upside.
NFC East odds: Favorite, sleeper to win division
|New York Giants||+700|
Favorite: Dallas Cowboys +110
After a frustrating 23-17 home loss to the 49ers in the wild-card round, Dallas begins the season as the odds-on favorite in the NFC East. Mike McCarthy’s third season at the helm of the Cowboys is a make-or-break year, as the franchise is once again in Super Bowl-or-bust mode.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper has since departed for Cleveland, but the Cowboys’ skill position players run deep. Ezekiel Elliott is said to be having a solid offseason, and rookie WR Jalen Tolbert’s impressive run-after-catch skills can lead him to Week-1 starting duties with Michael Gallup recovering from a torn left ACL.
There’s a chance Dallas’ odds to win the NFC East increase with the Cowboys opening the season against the Buccaneers and Bengals. An 0-2 or even 1-1 start will lead to higher plus money on Dallas to win its second-straight NFC East title.
Sleeper: New York Giants +700
Brian Daboll will attempt to shift the locker room culture following the exit of two-year head coach Joe Judge. The Giants have a manageable schedule that should allow the G-men to stay alive into December.
With the Giants’ odds sitting at +700, they’re a worthwhile sleeper in the annually wide-open NFC East. This could be the last year Daniel Jones is a Giant after New York declined to pick up his fifth-year option ahead of what projects to be a loaded 2023 QB draft class. Jones has a formidable supporting cast, and as long as Saquon Barkley can stay healthy, this team can outperform the betting markets.
Like most sleepers on this list, there’s a chance these odds decrease as the season progresses if the Giants get off to a solid start. Similar to Detroit, the Giants are the other projected bottom-feeder with an actual shot to contend.
NFC West odds: Favorite, sleeper to win division
|Los Angeles Rams||+140|
|San Francisco 49ers||+190|
Favorite: Los Angeles Rams +140
Even with a tougher 2022 slate, Los Angeles’ stability on both sides of the ball lands them as the betting favorite.
San Francisco is still a legit contender, but Trey Lance still needs to sell people on his ability to win games at the highest level. The restructuring of Aaron Donald’s contract helps fortify L.A.’s front-seven despite the departure of Von Miller.
Year two of Matthew Stafford in Sean McVay’s offense will likely lead to more efficient play from the 34-year-old gunslinger. Stafford led the league in interceptions a season ago (17), tying rookie Trevor Lawrence, but who cares because Stafford stepped up when it mattered most. With the Rams getting plus-money to win the division, they are an enticing chalk bet.
Sleeper: Arizona Cardinals +300
It’s tough to pick a sleeper team in this division, as the NFC West will likely come down to the Rams and 49ers, but at +300 Arizona could make things interesting.
It’s almost a certainty that Kliff Kingsbury’s team will fade down the stretch, but if the Cardinals get some one-score game luck, they very well could compete for a division crown. J.J. Watt will be back healthy for the start of the season, and the addition of Hollywood Brown (Ravens) gives Kyler Murray another field-stretcher, which will be sorely needed early in the year while DeAndre Hopkins serves his six-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.
Arizona’s inconsistency and undisciplined play (114 penalties in ‘21) is a cause for concern, but their skill position players provide a safety blanket for Murray. Don’t bank on them to perform when it matters most, but Arizona is a legit sleeper in the NFC West.