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Betting Odds: Biggest NFL Sleeper in the AFC

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There is absolutely no question what team is the betting odds favorite to win the AFC title. It’s the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs return the bulk of their roster including Super Bowl LIV MVP QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill, and more.

Baltimore returns NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and looks to build on its 14-2 season from a year ago. It would be no surprise if the Ravens captured the 2020 AFC championship.

It would be a surprise if a time Denver or Pittsburgh won the AFC title. It could happen.

DENVER

The Broncos have kind of fallen apart since the Super Bowl 50 championship and the retirement of QB Peyton Manning. Denver has been searching long and hard for his replacement. They may finally have their guy.

Drew Lock started five games last season and went 4-1. He completed 64.1 percent of his passes and threw for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns. Lock threw only three interceptions. If he stays healthy, Lock should lead a very good Denver offense.

VP John Elway got Lock some help in the 2020 NFL Draft picking up WR Jerry Jeudy, WR K.J. Hamler, and TE Albert Okwuegbunam. The Broncos also signed former Chargers RB Melvin Gordon.

While the offense will be improved, the defense will get back a healthy Bradley Chubb. Last year, Chubb missed 12 games and Denver still recorded 40 sacks and allowed just 19.8 points per game. Chubb and Von Miller create one of the most feared pass-rushing tandems in the NFL.

Considering the Broncos went 3-3 in their division and lost four games by four points or less, there is reason to believe that Denver could be a playoff team in 2020. The Broncos are a longshot at +2000 betting odds to win the AFC title and an even longer shot to with Lombardi Trophy (+4500).

PITTSBURGH

The word “sleeper” is normally never used to describe the Pittsburgh Steelers. After two seasons of missing the postseason, the 2020 Steelers just might sneak up on the competition and surprise the conference.

Last year, the Steelers lost veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger to an elbow injury and suffered through Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges under center. Despite the problems at quarterback, the Steelers were in a position to make the playoffs until Week 17.

The big difference for Pittsburgh in 2019 came when the team went out and traded for FS Minkah Fitzpatrick. The deal helped Pittsburgh become one of the better defenses in the NFL over the second half of the season.

With Roethlisberger back as well as RB James Conner and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, the offense should be much improved. Pittsburgh always plays Baltimore tough and could even win the AFC North.

The Steelers are given +1100 betting odds to win the AFC and bettors that should take note. If healthy, the Steelers will have exactly what other contenders possess – a top tier defense and a potent passing game.

HOUSTON

Some might wonder how a 2019 playoff team becomes a sleeper. Great question. It happens when you all-of-a-sudden trade away your best wide receiver (DeAndre Hopkins) who just happens to be one of the best four or five at his position in the NFL.

Now, trading away a great player can normally have its benefits. The problem is that in return for Hopkins the Texans got what amounted to a worn-out running back, a second-round draft pick, and a couple of leftover betting slips.

How exactly then will the Texans win the AFC? Well, at +2300 betting odds to do so, they are a big longshot but consider what they do have. Deshaun Watson is a very capable quarterback.

The running game is always outstanding. Instead of Hopkins, Watson will have veterans Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks who were added in the offseason. They should go along well with Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills.

Houston’s defense still has former three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and LB Whitney Mercilus. the Texans have to keep both of them healthy if they are going to have a shot at repeating as AFC South champs.

While O’Brien has made some interesting personnel moves, one thing he has done is win. In six seasons with Houston, O’Brien has won four division titles. The Texans have won nine or more games in all but one season (2017).

If Houston can stay healthy, O’Brien would love a chance to get to an AFC title game. Bettors would love it even more if the Texans won the AFC.

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