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Top Pick to Win the AFC East

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Top Pick to Win the AFC East
Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots. Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images/AFP

The New England Patriots won the AFC East division in 2019 but will they repeat in 2020?

NFL Betting Odds to Win the AFC East

By the NFL odds, the best bet to win the AFC East in 2020-21 – the team that is touted as the favourite with most top-rated sportsbooks – is…drumroll…wait for it…Buffalo Bills. At the time of writing, Sportsbook Review and Sportsbook Review serve up Buffalo Bills as the odds-on favourite, priced of +110 to win the AFC East.

In the meanwhile, defending AFC East champions, New England Patriots, appear to be the second-best bet across sportsbook platforms. That is the case with MOST sportsbooks. 

In some cases, New England Patriots look to be on the move, making significant strides towards narrowing the betting for AFC East winner. At the time of writing, Sportsbook Review tips the Patriots at +110 to win the AFC East division, ahead of the Buffalo Bills at +125. As well, Jazz Sportsbook tips the Patriots at +105, slightly ahead of Bills at +110. 

At all sportsbooks, the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets prop up the division, jointly tipped as the longshot NFL wagers in the section.

AFC East Odds Courtesy of Sportsbook Review

  • Buffalo Bills +110
  • New England Patriots +150
  • Miami Dolphins +700
  • New York Jets +850

Are the Buffalo Bills the Team to Beat?

Based on the previous season, Sean McDermott’s Buffalo Bills were the only outfit to give the Patriots a serious run for their money in the AFC East. As a consequence, bookmakers looked favourably upon Josh Allen and Co., deeming the Bills as the team best situated to end New England’s dominance in the post-TB12 era. 

In the offseason, the Bills acquired Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings, along with Vernon Butler and Mario Addison (both from Carolina Panthers) and Quinton Jefferson (Seattle Seahawks). 

It’s worth mentioning, the Bills haven’t won the AFC East since 1995. That’s a 25-year-long drought and a whole lot of expectation on the broad, largely inexperienced shoulders of Josh Allen. Although the young quarterback did show positive development and maturation in his sophomore year, continuing on that trajectory in 2020 is not a given. 

Cam Newton X-Factor in New England

New England is the proven gold-standard of the AFC East this century. Since 2001, Patriots only missed out on the AFC East title twice: 2002 and 2008.

On the heels of Tom Brady’s departure, New England’s stock understandably fell in NFL betting markets. He left big shoes to fill. With only 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham and veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer riding roughshod atop New England’s depth chart, the Patriots struck a less than convincing pose. It would have been a real stretch of the imagination to expect either Stidham or Hoyer to achieve even a measure of the success New England has become accustomed to, never mind carry the team all the way to the divisional title. And beyond.

The advent of Cam Newton changes everything. Well, on paper, he does. And in theory as well, given the career he had with Carolina Panthers that is highlighted by winning the league MVP and reaching Super Bowl 50.

Indeed, signing Carolina’s cast-off quarterback had an immediate impact on NFL betting markets, shorting Patriots’ NFL odds across the NFL odds board. The wealth of experience Newton brings is undeniable but he also brings an intangible that can’t be quantified: pride. 

The manner in which the Panthers organisation bid adieu to Cam Newton – to put it politely – didn’t feature the kind of respect and deference one would expect is his due; after so many years in Charlotte, playing a significant role in the franchise’s growth and development into a desirable football destination, he was callously dismissed. Hence, the boulder-sized chip on his shoulder. Numerous social media posts laden with pride, inspiration and a motivation to prove himself with his new team, the Patriots.  

NFL Betting Verdict and Picks

Fans of the Bills – even Dolphins and Jets alike – may well be optimistic going into the 2020-21 NFL season. Philosophically, the best crack at wrestling divisional glory away from New England is before them collectively now that Brady is catching rays and working on his tan in Tampa Bay. 

The title is up for grabs and, by that same token, each can rightfully claim that this is their year. And yet the Patriots feel the same way too: That this is their year. Again. 

The Patriots have a tradition of success in the AFC East and while they’ve lost Tom Brady – along with a string of defensive players during the offseason and through the opt-out clause – there remains one constant: Bill Belichick. It’ll require his best coaching job yet, make no mistake. But Belichick has as much to prove on the side-lines as the players have on the field. 

Belichick’s knowledge and coaching nous along with Cam Newton’s leadership and experience at quarterback sets up the pair advantageously against a field largely comprised of young talent and newish coaching staffs. 

It’s a fledgling relationship but it wouldn’t be shocking if Belichick-Newton proved to be a solid coach-quarterback partnership. Perhaps, even, the best-equipped tandem with their wealth of individual experience to deal with the most extraordinary circumstances and challenges facing the 2020-21 NFL season because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

My Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)