The good news about playing in the AFC East is that, for the past 10 years, you’ve represented the AFC in the Super Bowl five times. The bad news is, unless you’re the Patriots, it wasn’t you. New England exudes excellence and has dominated the AFC East, having won the division every year since Tom Brady was inserted as the starter – save for 2002 and 2008 – while collecting six Super Bowls (nine appearances) along the way. Everyone else has just been along for the ride.
This page will provide information needed to successfully bet the new Brady-less AFC East in 2020, complete with a 2019 recap, a lookahead to 2020, and where to bet on the AFC East.
AFC East odds
2019 AFC East Results
It was rocky waters for New England in 2019 as Tom Brady’s frustration grew with Bill Belichick’s unwillingness to surround him with weapons. The storyline all season long was about Brady’s impending free agency, but the Patriots’ defense led them to another 12-4 record. The speculation really ramped up when red-hot Tennessee upended New England en route to a shocking AFC Championship appearance. The Pats’ defense was one of the most tenacious defenses in recent history, leading the league in almost every defensive category. Most impressive was their 13 passing touchdowns allowed and a staggering 25 interceptions. In the realm of fantasy football, the Patriots defense was a league-winner. The defending champions and preseason Super Bowl favorites held steady in the Divisional Round against Tennessee, but the offense stagnated and Brady looked the most frustrated of his career.
The Bills, meanwhile, were one of the year’s biggest surprises, exceeding Vegas’ expected win total (6.5) by three-and-a-half games, best in the NFL. Complementing an excellent defensive effort, Josh Allen showed some heroics, posting 29 total touchdowns despite only completing 59% of his passes. The Bills ranked second in the NFL in total defense, just behind division rival New England. Sean McDermott proved capable in his third season with Buffalo, leading them for the second time in his tenure (first appearances since 1999). The excellent regular season was completely derailed by a Wild Card meltdown against the Texans, where Allen looked like he was trying to play backyard football and cost his team the game on more than one occasion. The lasting sting was tough for Bills fans, but the future’s looking bright for Buffalo.
The year started off laughable for the Jets and Adam Gase looked like his tenure as head coach was over. Sam Darnold missed games due to mono and New York began the season 1-8. In those first nine games, their offense failed to score more than seven three times and more than 20 all but once; they didn’t score a single point against New England in Week 7. Then something flipped and the Jets finished the year 6-2. Darnold threw 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions down that stretch and New York finished a respectable 7-9. The story of the season finished with the Jets just meeting their expected win total (7.5) and still landing a top 10 draft pick to help for next season.
The 2019 season was supposed to be a year where the Dolphins were lifeless, hopeless, and tanking for Tua Tagovailoa. The entire league knew Miami was mailing it in, Brian Flores would be given a freebee, and Ryan Fitzpatrick would get some more reps in as his career seemingly draws to a close. But Flores and the Dolphins did not tank and even pulled off a Week 17 upset of the 12-3 Patriots. In fact, they showed composure and met their Vegas expected win total (5). Fitzpatrick started 13 games, where he tossed 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 62% completions. One downside was that the Dolphins lost their defensive star Minkah Fitzpatrick, who demanded a trade midseason.
2020 AFC East outlook and predictions
For the first time in 20 years, the New England Patriots have a question mark at quarterback. More most of the off-season the story was that Jarrett Stidham would win the starting job and the entire coaching staff was confident in him. Enter Cam Newton, who spent far longer unsigned than anyone expected. The faith in Belichick remains strong, as most sportsbooks have still awarded 8.5 wins to New England despite Brady and several other defensive piece’s departure. The Bills (+120) have a slight edge over the Patriots (+130) in odds to win the division, but the slim margin is telling in itself. As tradition tells, Belichick drafted a bunch of role players and versatile defenders over offensive weapons – the exact action that drove Brady to sign elsewhere in the offseason. For the first time well over a decade, the Patriots’ ability to make the playoffs might even be in question. If there’s one thing that’s been emphasized this offseason, though, it’s to never– ever– underestimate Belichick.
Every season, unexpectedly-good teams fall off. In 2019, it was the Chargers and Rams. In 2018, it was the Jaguars and Panthers. Could 2020’s regression candidate be the Bills? Buffalo (+120) currently leads in odds to take the AFC East for the first time in over a decade. The Bills have a returning quarterback-coach duo, which might be the most important trait in a successful team in 2020. They also added star receiver Stefon Diggs, who was acquired in a trade with Minnesota in mid-March. The team will be without starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who was crucial in last year’s stifling rushing defense. Lotulelei was among the 67 players who opted out from the upcoming season due to COVID-19 concerns. McDermott has proven to be an outstanding young coach, and because of that, the Bills have an expected win total of 8.5 this coming season as most sportsbooks. If Allen can put his young mistakes behind him and play a bit more under control, the Bills could make a strong playoff push in 2020.
The “Tank for Tua” sweepstakes, fully expected to be won by the Dolphins, went better than any Dolphins fan could have hoped for. Not only did Miami not have to tank, but they also landed Tagovailoa without having to trade up in the draft. They also brought in a couple rookie offensive linemen and electric defensive backs in Noah Igbinoghene (Auburn) and Brandon Jones (Texas). The Dolphins had one of the highest-rated draft classes this season and seem to be building the right culture since parting ways with ex-head coach Adam Gase. Flores has proven to be competent and a budding star coach, Tua will be mentored by Fitzpatrick, and the Dolphins are seemingly headed in the right direction. Despite that, the lack of a regular preseason could hurt the young team, prompting most sportsbooks to give them a 6.5 expected win total and just +800 odds to win their division.
The Jets, who needed to have a stellar offseason, did everything but. They drafted high-risk, high-reward tackle prospect Mekhi Becton (Louisville) over some more sure-fire tackles and lost captain and All-Pro safety Jamal Adams after a very public breakup. Their biggest offseason acquisitions included the likes of Robby Anderson (acquired in a trade from Carolina), Breshad Perriman (average 309 receiving yards per season), and George Fant, who is projected to start. Otherwise, the Jets were good with what they have, leading them to an over/under win total of 6.5. No one catches a worse break than the Jets in scheduling– they face the second hardest schedule in the NFL and an opposing win percentage of 0.533 from 2019 (including stretches of at Buffalo, versus San Francisco, at Indianapolis, and versus Denver to begin the year; and playing at Kansas City and versus New England back-to-back).
With hype trains leaving the stations left, right, and center, the AFC East is rampant with bets. The Patriots– coming off 11 straight division titles and 17 of the last 19– sit second in total bets at 21% (Bills first with 60%) and last in total handle (10%). Confidence in the Pats is at its lowest point since the turn of the millennium. The Bills lead in both total bets and handle at 60% and 65% respectively, followed by the Jets (9% bets, 13% handle), and Miami (10% bets, 12% handle). As fun as the speculation is, this year very well could shape up to be Belichick’s finest of his coaching career– where he takes the division despite losing the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Past AFC East division winners
|2019||New England Patriots||12-4|
|2018||New England Patriots*||11-5|
|2017||New England Patriots||13-3|
|2016||New England Patriots*||14-2|
|2015||New England Patriots||12-4|
|2014||New England Patriots*||12-4|
|2013||New England Patriots||12-4|
|2012||New England Patriots||12-4|
|2011||New England Patriots||13-3|
|2010||New England Patriots||14-2|
*Super Bowl champion
How to bet on NFL division winners
To reiterate advice given here, shop around before diving headlong into the first bet you see; different outlets offer different odds and a minute or two of your time could result in some more money coming your way.
When reading an odds table, there’s several numbers of note. The first is the odds, which tells you who is favored (lower numbers are favored) and how much a successful bet would earn you. For example, a $100 bet on Buffalo (+120) would win you $120 with a total payout of $220. Next is the handle, which tells you what percentage of the total amount bet on the AFC North division winner each team commands. For example, the Dolphins have 12% of the handle– meaning 12% of all money bet on the AFC East winner has gone to the Dolphins. Last is the percentage of bets, which refers to the number of bets– not the amount– wagered on each team. The Jets have 9% of all bets, which doesn’t reflect how much was bet (the Jets have 12% of the handle, meaning larger betting amounts are being placed on the Jets).
NFL division betting previews
|AFC East||NFC East|
|AFC North||NFC North|
|AFC South||NFC South|
|AFC West||NFC West|