The start of the new NFL league year is two weeks away, at which point the entire oddsboard could be in flux. Half the teams don't know who their starting quarterback will be in September, and a handful of them could make moves to answer that in the coming weeks.
Those types of moves always shuffle the odds, but now is as good a time as any to speculate on early values - including in the divisional markets. Here are the early odds for all eight NFL divisions and our favorite value in each.
The Ravens suffered a season from hell in 2020 - they sent 22 players to injured reserve or the NFI list over the course of the year, and a COVID-19 outbreak derailed their schedule right as they were catching steam. They still finished one game out of the division lead behind the Steelers, who enter 2021 with some serious offensive concerns.
Baltimore's roster still boasts a double-digit floor and 14-win upside if healthy, and while the Browns are a threat to win the division, they're also a bad Baker Mayfield season away from a losing record.
Pick: Ravens +110
|New England Patriots||+480|
|New York Jets||+1600|
Entering 2020, I was all over the Bills in every market, including to win the AFC East (+200). Much of that was based around two factors that books undervalued: the continuity on the roster and the potential growth of Josh Allen.
Buffalo now enters this summer with 15 unrestricted free agents, and Allen is a potential regression candidate after his superstar leap in 2020. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have built a strong foundation around second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who will be almost two years removed from his injury and should get a full offseason to prepare as the starter.
Pick: Dolphins +280
I loved the Colts entering 2020, and I'm backing them again this year. Indianapolis boasted an elite defense and a high-upside rushing attack last season, but Philip Rivers' serviceable play at QB wasn't enough to overtake the Titans atop the division.
Yes, Carson Wentz is a risk, but I'd expect head coach Frank Reich to reinforce positive habits in his former protege and not ask too much from the sixth-year passer. The Colts' roster is littered with 26-and-under stars, so there's plenty of room to grow for a team that already won 11 games last season.
Pick: Colts +110
|Kansas City Chiefs||-400|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+420|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+1400|
The right answer here is probably the Chiefs - they've won this division for five straight seasons and are title favorites once again. Still, I can't in good conscience lay this short a price this early, especially with some lingering issues with Kansas City's offensive line and defensive front seven.
Instead, give me the Chargers, who won seven games last year and seemingly found their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. Los Angeles' defense is more talented than it showed in 2020, and a healthier running back corps should help Herbert reach his full potential in his sophomore campaign.
Pick: Chargers +420
|Green Bay Packers||-210|
The Bears have almost all the ingredients for a division run in 2021. Their defense has been a top-10 unit for three straight years and is chock-full of young talent. There are attractive pieces on offense to support the right quarterback, which, obviously, is the one thing missing from this roster.
Chicago has already been linked to a host of big-name QBs. If the Bears can't upgrade from Mitchell Trubisky, this is probably a wasted ticket. If they can, you'll be glad you bought early.
Pick: Bears +550
|Washington Football Team||+300|
|New York Giants||+500|
I was banging the drum for Washington all season long in 2020 and happily cashed on my 14-1 divisional ticket at the end of the year. Getting 3-1 odds isn't quite as enticing, but there are still so many things to like about this roster.
Washington won this division a year ago behind a defense that finished in the top four in yards allowed (304.6), points allowed (20.6), and DVOA ranking (third). That performance wasn't a fluke, nor were the star-level showings from receiver Terry McLaurin and do-it-all back Antonio Gibson. Any improvement at QB should mean a winning record for Ron Rivera's group.
Pick: Washington +300
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-140|
|New Orleans Saints||+200|
I don't want to be forced to choose between paying a short price for a complete team in the Buccaneers or betting on the Saints, who will surely find a way to double-digit wins with the right QB. Instead, I'm taking my shot on the Panthers, who could sneak into the upper tier with the right moves.
Any team linked to Deshaun Watson piques my interest, but Carolina's offense finished eighth in yards per drive (36.9) without him in 2020 - and that was with just three games from Christian McCaffrey. Targeting impact defenders in free agency and addressing turnover woes on offense could be all this team needs to leap into the division's title race.
Pick: Panthers +850
|Los Angeles Rams||+175|
|San Francisco 49ers||+200|
I'm all-in on the Rams, who are following the Bucs' 2020 title script with potentially more skill. Los Angeles had the NFL's best defense a year ago and is bursting with young talent on offense, but years of Jared Goff's inability to create positive plays off-script held this team back.
Insert Matthew Stafford, who has one of the league's best arms and has never played with an offensive mind like Sean McVay, and suddenly a title run doesn't seem so murky for the 2018 NFC champions. The 49ers are a threat if healthy, but this is Los Angeles' division to lose.
Pick: Rams +175
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.