NFL: AFC Playoff Odds: Who is Going to Emerge from a Deep Field?

After a highly eventful offseason, expect some changes among a deep field of contenders in the 2022 AFC Playoffs.

AFC Playoff Odds - Recommended Bets:

AFC Playoff Odds Summary

Team


Make the Playoffs?

 

%

Yes

No

Baltimore Ravens 

62.3%

-165 at Caesars

+140 at Caesars

Buffalo Bills 

84.6%

-550 at PointsBet

+430 at Caesars

Cincinnati Bengals   

57.4%

-135 at PointsBet

+122 at Caesars

Cleveland Browns   

36.4%

+175 at PointsBet

-250 at PointsBet

Denver Broncos  

59.2%

-145 at PointsBet

+130 at Caesars

Houston Texans  

6.3%

+1500 at FanDuel 

-2000 at Caesars

Indianapolis Colts 

62.3%

-165 at Caesars

+140 at Caesars

Jacksonville Jaguars  

18.2%

+450 at FanDuel

-550 at PointsBet

Kansas City Chiefs  

69.2%

-225 at FanDuel

+180 at FanDuel

Las Vegas Raiders  

37%

+170 at FanDuel

-210 at FanDuel

Los Angeles Chargers 

61.8%

-162 at FanDuel

+143 at Caesars

Miami Dolphins

40%

+150 at PointsBet

-165 at Caesars

New England Patriots   

40%

+150 at PointsBet

-165 at Caesars

New York Jets   

12.3%

+710 at FanDuel

-800 at PointsBet

Pittsburgh Steelers  

23.3%

+330 at FanDuel

-360 at Caesars

Tennessee Titans 

50%

+100 at PointsBet

+105 at Caesars

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AFC: Swimming in Deep Waters

Compared to the NFC, the AFC is by far the deeper conference.  Naturally, therefore, this makes it more difficult for teams in the AFC to qualify for the playoffs but also provides some great AFC playoff odds. A year ago, the conference had three teams with winning records miss the playoffs, while the NFC had only one. Conversely, the NFC had seven teams lose at least 10 games in 2021, while the AFC only had four.

The balance of power shifted further this offseason with the trades of Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan from the NFC’s Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons to the AFC’s Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, respectively. While the NFC is still home to two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, the lion’s share of the league’s elite young quarterbacks - led by Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert - reside in the AFC.

The AFC playoff odds also reflect more strength in the division. Of the 22 teams with +170 odds to make the playoffs or better (according to FanDuel), 13 are from the AFC, while only nine are from the NFC. Also, six of the eight teams with the shortest NFL playoff odds are from the NFC, indicating more depth and competition within the AFC.

The Wild AFC West

The AFC West is a huge reason this conference is so strong, and why the AFC playoff odds are so tight. If the Raiders and Chargers had tied their regular-season finale last season, the division would have sent three teams to the playoffs. Expect both teams to improve upon last year’s season showings, with Justin Herbert taking another step forward and the Raiders adding a top-three receiver, Davante Adams, to an offensive unit that lacked an elite downfield threat.

Meanwhile, Wilson’s arrival makes the Broncos one of the most intriguing teams in the NFL. Denver’s defense allowed the third-fewest points in the NFL last season, and the Broncos should remain in good shape on that side of the ball. If Wilson can take the Denver offense to the next level, they will be poised to snap their five-year playoff drought and break Kansas City’s six straight AFC West titles. Remember that in recent years, Wilson has had to play beyond a porous Seattle offensive line. That won’t be a problem in Denver, allowing him to perform at an MVP level.

AFC Playoff Odds - Recommended Bets: 

Building a Mystery

While it’s easy to pick out the elite teams in the AFC like the Chiefs and Bills (reflected in the AFC playoff odds), there is a lot we don’t know about the conference. For example, are the Steelers good enough to be a playoff team without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback? Just how much of an impact can Ryan make with the Colts? Can young quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence, or Zach Wilson turn their teams into playoff contenders? 

Of those young quarterbacks, Tagovailoa in Miami should have the best supporting cast around him, with the addition of an elite receiver in Tyreek Hill. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have revamped their backfield with Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and Sony Michelle, turning a weakness into strength after ranking 30th in rushing last season. But the biggest mystery team might be the Browns. They took a risk by ditching Baker Mayfield and trading for Deshaun Watson, who didn’t play last season and will miss the first 11 games. 

Despite having a top-5 rushing attack, the Browns were rough around the edges last season. Given the uncertainty at quarterback, they could be in for a significant drop-off from last year’s 8-9 record. The Cleveland offense will likely struggle with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, and Watson may not provide an immediate solution when he returns since he hasn’t played since the 2020 season.

AFC Playoff Odds - Recommended Bets: 

Changing of the Guard

The most important question when looking at the AFC playoff odds is what teams that made the playoffs last year will miss out in 2022, and which teams will replace them? The Steelers could be the most vulnerable, with either Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett starting at quarterback. The Raiders are also at risk, given the strength of the AFC West. However, the AFC’s #1 seed a year ago, the Titans, could be a surprising absentee from this season’s playoffs. Tennessee traded away star receiver A.J. Brown has some question marks on the offensive line and just lost star pass rusher Harold Landry for the season with a torn ACL. There are also some questions about the offensive line, potentially holding back the Tennessee offense further. Given the strength elsewhere in the AFC, the South division could only send one team to the playoffs. With the way the Colts have improved themselves this offseason with Matt Ryan, Indy looks like the team to beat in the AFC South.

Meanwhile, the team to watch that missed the playoffs last year could be the Ravens. Baltimore finished last season 8-9, losing six in a row to close the season as Lamar Jackson battled injuries. However, five of those six losses were by three points or less, so this team wasn’t far from the playoffs, even in a down year. With a healthy Jackson, and the always reliable Baltimore defense, which should be better with the addition of safety Marcus Williams, the Ravens should be closer to the team we saw in 2019, which went 14-2 and was the class of the AFC.

AFC Playoff Odds - Recommended Bets: 


Conclusion

Which teams are you backing from the AFC division to make the playoffs? Interested in more football content? Be sure to read our guide: How To Bet on American Football or check out our picks for the NFL Win Totals and NFC Win Totals and visit our odds comparison tool to compare the latest odds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many teams make the NFL playoffs? 

A total of 14 teams make the NFL playoffs comprising seven teams from each conference. The NFL increased the number of playoff teams from 12 to 14 in 2021, which led to the Super Wild Card Weekend creation.

The AFC playoff odds show the Buffalo Bills as the most favored team at -600 to make the playoffs with FanDuel.

When do the NFL playoffs start?

The NFL playoffs begin on Saturday, January 14, 2023.

 

Written by Bryan Zarpentine

Bryan has been a sports and sports betting writer for over 12 years. When he's not writing about sports, he's usually watching sports, attending sporting events, or on road trips on his way to sporting events.  

Bryan is an NCAA football and basketball specialist who gives excellent insight into MLB and the NFL worlds.