AFC Betting Preview: Public Loves the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, and Buffalo Bills

Posted on: September 5, 2023, 10:04h. 

Last updated on: September 5, 2023, 10:42h.

The Kansas City Chiefs are the betting favorite, at +330 odds, to win the AFC Championship for a fourth time in the last five seasons.

Josh Allen Patrick Mahomes
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes are betting favorites to lead their teams to an AFC Championship and trip to the Super Bowl. (Image: Getty)

The Chiefs were AFC Champions three times since the 2019 season, with two Super Bowl victories.

The rise of the Chiefs coincided with the demise of the “Evil Empire” and the New England Patriots. The Patriots had won the AFC Championship four times in a five-season span between 2014 and 2018.

2023 AFC Championship Odds

AFC Team Odds
Kansas City Chiefs +330
Buffalo Bills +500
Cincinnati Bengals +550
Baltimore Ravens +1100
New York Jets +1100
Miami Dolphins +1100
LA Chargers +1200
Jacksonville Jaguars +1400
Cleveland Browns +2000
Pittsburgh Steelers +3000
Denver Broncos +3000
New England Patriots +5000
Tennessee Titans +5000
Las Vegas Raiders +6500
Indianapolis Colts +7000
Houston Texans +10000

The Cincinnati Bengals prevented the Chiefs from winning four straight AFC titles with a 27-24 upset in the 2021 season. The 2022 Bengals secured another spot in the AFC Championship. But the Chiefs enacted revenge with a 23-20 victory.

The Chiefs, Bengals, and Buffalo Bills are among the top teams in the NFL heading into the 2023 season, in addition to being the top trio in the AFC. The public has not been shy in backing the three AFC favorites on the top of DraftKings’ NFL futures board.

Contenders: Chiefs, Bills, Bengals

It’s nearly impossible to win a Super Bowl in consecutive seasons in the modern era, so history is against the Chiefs. They’re the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl at +600 odds, and the favorite to snag another AFC title at +330 odds.

The Bengals were talented enough to advance to the AFC title game in back-to-back seasons thanks to Joe Burrow and clutch kicking from Evan McPherson. Burrow enters the season with a calf injury, but bettors were not deterred by that minor setback. They seek a second trip to the Super Bowl in the last three seasons.

This is finally going to be the year that the Bills return to the Super Bowl and finally win a championship, right? The Bills Mafia have been going berserk the last few seasons with the possibility that quarterback Josh Allen will finally deliver Buffalo’s first championship. Despite their regular season success the last few seasons, the Bills ran out of gas in the postseason, and saw their championship hopes dashed by the Chiefs twice and the Bengals last season.

Hopefuls and Valuetown: Jaguars, Ravens, Jets, Chargers

The Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Lamar Jackson worked out a new contract and avoided a trade. The Ravens brought in offensive guru Todd Monken, who won two national titles at Georgia, to run the offense. The Ravens are +1100 odds to win the AFC title as the fourth cofavorites on the board with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.

The Chargers hired Kellen Moore as their new OC, and he’ll team up with quarterback Justin Herbert, who has recovered from a nagging rib cartilage injury from last season. The Chargers are +1200 odds to win the AFC. But they have the benefit of playing the Chiefs twice a season as an AFC West division rival, and could figure out a way to pick off the Chiefs if they meet a third time in the postseason.

The New York Jets are full of hope after they added Aaron Rodgers in a huge off-season trade with the Green Bay Packers. The Jets have a strong enough defense to make stops in crunch time, and now they have a supreme quarterback who can lead the team to a game-winning drive in the playoffs. The Jets are +1100 odds to win the AFC Championship, which is a tad inflated because of all the gamblers who jumped on the Gang Green bandwagon.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team on the rise, and they won a playoff game last season. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is poised to make a huge leap in this third season. The Jaguars are the betting favorite to win the AFC South title, and +1400 odds to pull off an upset and secure a trip to the Super Bowl.

Question Marks: Dolphins, Browns, Steelers

The health of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is what makes the Miami Dolphins a big question mark this season. He’s one more serious concussion away from ending his career. The Dolphins are +1100 odds to win the AFC Championship, which is really a bet on Tagovailoa staying healthy in January.

Success for the Cleveland Browns will be linked to quarterback Deshaun Watson. If he returns to his old form, the Browns could compete with the Bengals for an NFC North title. Bettors are cautious, which is why the Browns are +2000 odds to win the AFC Championship as the ninth favorite on the board.

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers always find a way to avoid a losing season. If quarterback Kenny Pickett can make a big step forward in his second season, then the Steelers could continue their streak of a non-losing season. They’re currently pegged to finish in last place in the “Smashmouth Division” in the AFC North, and +3000 odds to win the AFC title.

Another Losing Season: Patriots, Broncos, Titans

The Denver Broncos finally have an adult in the room when they hired Sean Payton as their head coach. If anyone can inspire quarterback Russell Wilson to reach his peak performance, it’s the no-nonsense Payton. The Broncos have a strong defense, but their wide receiver room is jinxed with multiple injuries. The Broncos are +3000 odds as a long shot to win the conference title, but they’ll be happy to even get close to eight or nine wins this season.

When the Spanish conquistador Cortes reached the shores of Latin America, he burned his ships to let his troops know there was no turning back. That’s what it felt like with the New England Patriots when Bill Belichick cut his backup quarterbacks. The Patriots will ride or die this season with Mac Jones at quarterback. At least the Patriots have former OC Bill O’Brien calling the plays. The Patriots are projected to finish in last place in the AFC East, and bookies gave them win total of 6.5 over/under, which indicates a losing season. The Patriots are a long shot to win the conference at +5000 odds.

The Tennessee Titans have a potential quarterback controversy looming if veteran Ryan Tannehill is not up to stuff. The Titans lost faith in backup Malik Willis and drafted Will Levis from Kentucky. They still have the human wrecking ball, Derrick Henry, as their running back. They also added DeAndre Hopkins in free agency. Even with a couple of big dogs in the lineup, they’re +5000 to win the AFC.

Pretenders: Colts, Texans, Raiders

There’s no shortage of sucker bets in Sin City, and you should avoid any NFL futures involving the Las Vegas Raiders. Jimmy Garoppolo has a strong record as a starting quarterback, but he’s injury prone, and apparently unable to remain healthy through a full season.

Indianapolis Colts team owner Jim Irsay has an affinity for rock ‘n roll nostalgia and pop culture artifacts like Jack Kerouac’s original scroll copy of On the Road, which he wrote in a speed bender in 1951. Irsay’s newest pastime is feuding with running back Jonathan Taylor, for whom he was unable to find a trade partner during the preseason. The big story heading into this season is if/when Taylor will get traded before the trade deadline on Halloween. Yeah, it’s bad vibes in Indy, which is why they’re a moonshot to win the AFC at +7000 odds.

New head coach DeMeco Ryans has his hands full trying to turn around a poorly-run Houston Texans franchise that last season won only three games. The Texans are heading in the right direction with the #2 pick C.J. Stoud at quarterback. Bettors tend to avoid big bets on rookie head coaches and rookie quarterbacks, which is why Texans are at the bottom of the NFL futures board at +10000 odds to win the AFC Championship.