Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell
- The Pittsburgh Steelers are +280 to win the AFC North after starting the season 2-2-1.
- The Action Network ran 10,000 simulations of the 2018 NFL season.
- By comparing our projections to available betting lines, we found three teams worthy of a division bet.
Since Week 2, 19 teams have held or shared a division lead, and most divisions are still very much up in the air. However, one race appears to be decided.
In the NFC West the Los Angeles Rams are 5-0 and the only team at .500 or better. Oddsmakers list LA as a -5000 favorite, which translates to a 98.0% implied probability of winning.
According to The Action Network’s NFL model, Sean McVay’s team has a 98.7% chance of winning the NFC West. That means at -5000 odds there is value betting on Jared Goff and Todd Gurley to bring a division crown to Hollywood.
But who wants to wager $5,000 to win $100?
Instead of tying up your entire bankroll on the Rams, here are a few teams with value to win their division based on the difference in implied probability and projected chance according to our simulations.
The analysis below looks at the three best wagers bettors can place heading into Week 6 of the season.
- Current odds: +280, Implied Probability: 26.3%
- Steelers win AFC North 40.4% of the time
The path to an AFC North championship is pretty straightforward. It starts by winning in Cincinnati on Sunday. The Bengals are listed as 2.5-point favorites but our model favors the Steelers by 2.4 points.
A win over Cincy bumps Pittsburgh to 3-2-1 and gives the Steelers a tiebreaker in the division race.
Le’Veon Bell is expected to rejoin the Steelers during their bye week following the Cincinnati game. With one of the league’s best playmakers back in the fold, the Steelers will be heavy favorites over the Browns in Week 8 and are 50/50 to win in Baltimore the week after.
If Pittsburgh sweeps all three division games it will be a clear favorite to win the AFC North. Our simulations give Pittsburgh a 40.4% chance to win the division. More times than not the Steelers come up short, but at +280 odds there is value.