There are plenty of ways to bet the NFL. Some enjoy placing wagers on certain teams to win it all with a Super Bowl futures ticket, while others bet on their squads to just make the playoffs. You can also bet on a team to win its respective division.
Last year, we saw the Jacksonville Jaguars go from worst to first in the AFC South, while the Kansas City Chiefs lived up to their status as favorites in the AFC West. What does Vegas think will happen in each of the eight NFL divisions in 2023?
Below, we will list the favorites to win each division in the NFL this upcoming season, per Caesars Sportsbook, and then list five underdogs you should consider placing money on to steal their respective divisions.
All odds come courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
Minnesota Vikings to win NFC North (+300)
SportsLine stats guru Stephen Oh's simulations show the Vikings win the division 26.5% of the time
It's the Lions who are now considered the favorites to win the NFC North after registering their first winning season since 2017 last year, and with the departure of Aaron Rodgers. It truly appears the Lions are finally on the right track, but can they secure a top-four seed in the NFC? That hasn't happened since 1993. Plus, there's some other team in the division that went 13-4 last year.
Minnesota did win 11 one-score games in 2022, which was an NFL record, and became the first team in NFL history with 12-plus wins and a negative point differential, but there's a difference between regression toward the mean and a complete collapse. Dalvin Cook was certainly a loss, but Alexander Mattison is not some scrub. He averaged 115.5 scrimmage yards per game in six career starts! Plus, it's fair to expect more from T.J. Hockenson in his first full season with Minnesota. Another addition that intrigues me is Jordan Addison. In 2021 with quarterback Kenny Pickett, he caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games played.
This season, I think it's fair to expect more from the Vikings defense -- which was very, very bad in 2022. The unit ranked in the bottom five in points allowed per game, yards allowed per game, passing yards allowed per game and yards allowed per play in 2022. With Brian Flores at the helm and a couple additions like pass rusher Marcus Davenport and third-round cornerback Mekhi Blackmon, I'm expecting some improvement.
A team that went 13-4 with a first-year head coach and terrible defense is +300 to repeat as division champions? I don't think the Vikings will win 13 games again, but there's clear value here.
Tennessee Titans to win AFC South (+340)
Oh's simulations show the Titans win the division 25.1% of the time
I'm fine with the Jaguars being the favorites to win the AFC South in 2023. Trevor Lawrence appears to be an emerging star and Doug Pederson is a head coach you want leading your squad. However, I do have some questions about the defense. When it comes to Tennessee, there was this weird narrative around the Titans potentially entering a rebuild this offseason with a new general manager, but their moves indicate otherwise. I mean, they just outbid the New England Patriots for three-time All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins. That's not a move a rebuilding team makes.
The Titans had injuries crush them yet again in 2022, but the difference was this year they couldn't rebound. After starting 7-3, Tennessee finished 7-10. Even with quarterback Ryan Tannehill missing five total starts, the Titans were sitting in a win-and-you're-in playoff situation in the regular-season finale. Even with a practice-squad quarterback from the Cleveland Browns that joined the team about two weeks prior, the Titans were in that game vs. the Jags until the end.
Apart from injuries, one of the biggest problems with the Titans in 2022 was the offense. Todd Downing led what was statistically the third-worst offense in the NFL, and fifth-worst scoring offense. He ran Derrick Henry into stacked boxes virtually every first down. He was fired this offseason and replaced by Tim Kelly, who worked with Hopkins in Houston. With him, the offense will be better. How much better is yet to be determined.
The Titans have always been a competitive team despite the perceived lack of talent on paper. Last year, a banged-up Titans team went into Arrowhead in prime time with a very raw rookie quarterback and took the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs to overtime. It's fair to say the Titans still have plenty of question marks, but Vrabel's squad has won the division two out of the last three years. There's value at +340.
Miami Dolphins to win AFC East +300
Oh's simulations show the Dolphins win the division 12.6% of the time
If you want to wager on Rodgers and the New York Jets to dethrone the Bills in the AFC East, I don't hate it. The thing is, New York is working in a new quarterback who didn't have a great season last year, installing a new offense and also has a tough schedule before it gets to that Week 7 bye. Now, the Dolphins don't have a cakewalk of a schedule by any means, but we at least know a little bit more about Tua Tagovailoa and Mike McDaniel.
Remember, Miami started the season 8-3 last year. Tagovailoa missed the majority of all of those three losses due to concussions. A five-game losing streak at the end of the year ended their hopes for a division title, but the Dolphins had a legitimate shot to win the division. In Year 3, Tagovailoa had a career year despite missing what was virtually five regular-season starts. He became the first Dolphins quarterback to lead the NFL in passer rating since Dan Marino in 1984, and Miami averaged 6.5 yards per play with Tagovailoa as the starter, which were the most by any starting quarterback in the league last season (min. 10 starts). He led the league with 8.9 yards per attempt, and was third in QBR (68.8) behind Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
We know what Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle bring to this offense, but I'm intrigued to see what the run game looks like in 2023. Remember, McDaniel was a successful run-game coordinator with the 49ers. In his first season with Miami (and with a not great offensive line), the Dolphins were tied in having the seventh-worst rushing offense. I expect the Dolphins to be better on the ground this year, and rookie Devon Achane could play a large role in that.
Defensively, there's no doubt Miami has some playmakers in Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, Xavien Howard and Jevon Holland. You hope to see more consistency from this unit, and it's exciting that the Dolphins went out and got Vic Fangio to lead that side of the ball. Remaining healthy is going to be important for the Dolphins -- and they have already with the loss of Jalen Ramsey. But this is an exciting team that has a chance at the division.
SportsLine's R.J. White agrees that the Dolphins are the best value to win the AFC East; click here to see all SportsLine's division picks, and be sure to check out their comprehensive NFL futures betting guide.
Seattle Seahawks to win NFC West (+220)
Oh's simulations show the Seahawks win the division 14.5% of the time
The largest favorite to win their respective division this year is currently the 49ers (-200). You can understand why with their elite defense and an offense led by Christian McCaffrey and Kyle Shanahan. They put the very last player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft under center and made it to the NFC Championship. Brock Purdy undoubtedly played a huge role in San Francisco's success, because remember, the 49ers started the year 5-4. The Seahawks on the other hand started 6-3 in 2022. We haven't seen back-to-back NFC West champions since 2017-18. If there were to be an NFC West team that moved past the 49ers this season, I say it's the Seahawks.
You're probably expecting me to build my argument on Seattle's offense. DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba appear to be a pretty solid wide receiving corps, Kenneth Walker III showed some star potential in Year 1, the offensive line has two franchise tackles in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas and the quarterback is the reigning Comeback Player of the Year. Yes, the offense is a reason why I like the Seahawks. But let's talk about the defense.
Seattle's defense was not good in 2022. This unit ranked No. 25 in points allowed per game (23.6), No. 30 in rushing yards per game (150.2) and No. 27 in third-down percentage (42%), but I think this side of the ball is primed for big-time improvement. Not only is franchise legend Bobby Wagner back, but the Seahawks may have an epic secondary in the making with Tariq Woolen, Devon Witherspoon, Julian Love and Quandre Diggs. We'll see what happens with Jamal Adams. Uchenna Nwosu, Derick Hall, Boye Mafe and Darrell Taylor are the edge rushers, and Jarran Reed plus Dre'Mont Jones headline the defensive line. I'm excited to see what this defense can do -- if the unit can stay healthy.
When it comes to the NFC West, if Purdy isn't healthy or gets injured again, how will this team fare under Trey Lance or Sam Darnold? The 49ers should be a solid team, but what if the Seahawks take another leap forward? Seattle's epic draft class helped it make the playoffs in 2022. The Seahawks had the NFL rookie leaders in starts, snaps, rushing yards, forced fumbles and interceptions last year. What if the front office knocked it out of the park again this offseason?
Carolina Panthers to win NFC South (+400)
Oh's simulations show the Panthers win the division 29.5% of the time
The NFC South is wiiiiiide open with Tom Brady no longer in the fold. The Saints are the favorites to win the division this year and the Atlanta Falcons are behind them. I understand that logic with Bijan Robinson and the additions made on Atlanta's defense, but is Desmond Ridder going to be able to prove he's the future at QB? Will Derek Carr have a Matthew Stafford-like impact under Dennis Allen? I think the Panthers could be the forgotten team in this big question mark of a division.
Remember, the Panthers were neck and neck with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the division title last year despite having to fire their head coach midseason and start three different quarterbacks. I think Carolina may now have some stability with the hiring of Frank Reich and the selection of No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young.
Yes, Young has some questions regarding his frame, but if this offensive line can keep him upright, he should be good enough to make an impact Year 1. The additions of weapons like Miles Sanders, D.J. Chark, Adam Thielen, Jonathan Mingo and Hayden Hurst should help as well. I'm more high on the Panthers defense, however. If this unit can stay healthy, it has potential to serve as the backbone for this squad. Carolina is the biggest long shot on this list, but what's even a "long shot" when it comes to this division? Plus, compare those simulation numbers above to the other teams on this list.