2023 NFL Betting: 3 Potential Division Winners With Value

With free agency acquisitions and draft selections completed, teams’ rosters will stay relatively intact until the start of the season. This roster clarity allows bettors to wager with more certainty. While some odds have significantly shifted, three division winners still have value.

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>> READ: Projecting Win Totals for Every Team

Division Bets to Make

Miami Dolphins

Odds: +320 (23.8% Implied Odds) Caesars

The Miami Dolphins had the league’s most impressive, under-the-radar offseason. The Dolphins made a meaningful coaching change when they added Vic Fangio to helm their defense.

Their offense stays intact, with slightly worse tight end depth (a position they rarely utilized) and an improved offensive line via Isaiah Wynn and Cedric Ogbuehi. Devon Achane, the speedy third-round running back out of Texas A&M, strengthens their rushing attack.

This fails to mention their most important personnel move: adding Jalen Ramsey. The Dolphins’ secondary should be one of the league’s best, and their defense could enter the NFL’s upper echelon. Mike White provides injury insurance if Tua Tagovailoa misses time, raising the team’s floor in even a downside scenario.

Context around the rest of the division is also integral. While the New England Patriots, now with a proper offensive coordinator, must stay in the conversation. Their roster deficiencies should keep them out of contention, as suggested by their long odds to win the division.

The New York Jets’ outlook projects similarly to the Dolphins, yet a bet on the Jets to win the division returns less than the Dolphins. If the Dolphins had the same price as the Jets, they would not be worth betting.

The Buffalo Bills, a nearly 50 percent implied favorite, seem mispriced. While they were among the Super Bowl favorites last year, their aging roster should warrant concerns. Banking on development from 2021 first-round edge rusher Greg Rousseau and 2022 first-round cornerback Kaiir Elam is reasonable.

Still, Buffalo’s aging defense, including Von Miller coming off a torn ACL, may hold them back. Buffalo should have the best odds to win the division, but it should have, at most, a 40 percent implied chance, with the Jets and Dolphins nearing 30 percent in a more efficient market.

Green Bay Packers

Odds: +500 (16.7% implied odds) Draftkings, Caesars

The Green Bay Packers’ roster, aside from moving on from Aaron Rodgers and transitioning to Jordan Love, remains largely intact. A bet on the Packers is simply a bet on the stability the Matt LaFleur regime will bring and competent quarterback play.

While the Packers’ win total sits at 7.5, the Detroit Lions have the division’s highest total at 9.5. The market assumes the Packers are least likely to win the division, but every team has a similar enough win total, suggesting relative parity.

Yet, the Lions’ odds of winning the division range from 40 to 46 percent. Though they made meaningful secondary additions in free agency — including Cam Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson — the rest of their offseason failed to inspire confidence. Their young pass rush — with Aidan Hutchinson, Josh Paschal and James Houston — needs to develop.

The Lions fortified their running back room by adding David Montgomery (free agency) and Jahmyr Gibbs (draft). Still, their impact on overall team success will likely fail to justify the capital spent on their acquisitions.

The Minnesota Vikings’ win total appropriately sits at 8.5, and they have a roughly 25 percent implied chance to win the division. The Vikings acquired Jordan Addison, Byron Murphy and Marcus Davenport, though not much else in the offseason, keeping their roster competent but not extraordinary.

>>READ: Win Total, Division Bets to Take

The Chicago Bears, mirroring the Packers’ win total of 7.5, clearly have an ascending roster. DJ Moore, Darnell Wright, Tremaine Edmunds and a plethora of other additions should inspire confidence in the Bears’ future. Their implied odds to win the division sit at 21 percent.

There are arguments the market has slightly underpriced the Bears and Vikings due to a significant over-pricing of the Lions, but nothing there merits a bet. However, the Packers’ odds sitting significantly below 20 percent should shift, with an estimation of fair odds for the Packers closer to 25 percent.

Baltimore Ravens

Odds: +275 (26.7 percent implied odds, Caesars)

Like the Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens had a strong offseason despite limited resources. Lamar Jackson’s extension ensures that barring an injury, a top-five quarterback will command their offense. Though the Ravens traded their 2023 second-round pick for Roquan Smith, they gained 2022 second-round pass rusher David Ojabo after he tore his Achilles and scarcely played last year.

Ojabo would have gone in the middle of the first round without the injury. The Ravens also strengthened their passing game by drafting Zay Flowers with the 22nd pick and signing Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency. The Ravens hired Georgia’s offensive coordinator Todd Monken to modernize their passing game.

J.K. Dobbins, now finally recovered from his torn ACL, should return to being an above-average running back and may see added work in the passing game. Rock Ya-Sin currently holds the Ravens’ outside cornerback spot opposite Marlon Humphrey, which is functional but not ideal. The Ravens should have at least a 30 percent implied chance to win the division but currently sit below 27 percent.

Similar to the Bills, the Cincinnati Bengals have around a 45 percent chance of winning the division. The Bengals should be the favorites to win the division, but the division’s strength and their free agency losses on defense should shift their implied odds toward 40 percent.

With the recently added presence of Za’Darius Smith, the Cleveland Browns’ roster will compete for the division. However, Deshaun Watson’s dreadful 2022 season produces a team with a wide range of outcomes. A roughly 20 percent chance to win the division seems correct, and it’s undoubtedly possible their defensive acquisitions bring their odds closer to 25 percent, creating more value for the Ravens.

While the Pittsburgh Steelers should have a floor of seven or eight wins, their divisional competitors have higher ceilings. Kenny Pickett’s adequate rookie year does not create optimism, even with projected development. The Steelers sit at slightly below a 20 percent implied chance to win the division. In truth, their odds should fall closer to 10 percent.

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