Getting to the Super Bowl is one thing, but winning the Big Game is the real challenge. As we’ve seen in recent years, anything can happen when the AFC and NFC champs collide on the grand stage. So rather than watch your futures bet go up in smoke on Super Bowl Sunday, why not focus on just picking the conference champions?
If you are out for value in the AFC Championship betting odds, the following live odds comparison on sleeper teams could through with a big payday and boost your bankroll right before Super Sunday.
Tennessee Titans (+1,100)
The Titans were a playoff team in 2017, picking up a Wild Card win over Kansas City and leading the Patriots for at least one quarter before getting blown out in the AFC Divisional Round. Mike Vrabel is the new head coach and should inject some energy into a young core of standouts, like Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry. Tennessee’s defense did a good job pressing passers last season but still gave up the 25th most yards through the air in the NFL, so there’s work to be done on that side of the football.
The Titans’ 2018 schedule is challenging at time, mostly because the AFC South could be the tightest division in all of football. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans should be in the postseason mix, and if Andrew Luck can return, so should the Indianapolis Colts. But outside of divisional games, Tennessee is set up well – given the 31st weakest schedule. Its first four weeks should tell the story for this team: opening at Miami but then hosting Houston, visiting Jacksonville, before welcoming the Super Bowl champion Eagles to the Music City.
Houston Texans (+700)
And while we’re in the AFC South, let’s look at the Texans and their promising second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson, who had his stellar rookie campaign interrupted by a knee injury. If Watson is back to 100 percent and picks up where he left off in 2017, Houston has a true winner on its hands. Comparisons are being made to Russell Wilson’s early success in Seattle (he led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl in Year 2), and the Texans have some great weapons around Watson. The other question for Houston is if its veteran defense can hold up after suffering a rash of injuries last year.
The Texans are gifted the softest schedule in the NFL but those AFC South battles are no joke. Houston will likely be fighting Tennessee for a wild card spot come December and has two tough games to end the schedule: at Philadelphia in Week 16 and hosting Jacksonville in the season finale. This 7/1 price tag is a bit low considering how good the division could be and the question marks surrounding the health of so many key players.
Denver Broncos (+1,700)
The Broncos defense couldn’t do it all in 2017, despite ranking among the elite stop units in the NFL. The offense couldn’t give them the support and turnover troubles and quick three-and-outs began to wear on Von Miller & Co. So, in order to fix that issue, Denver brought in the ultimate game manager in quarterback Case Keenum, who made Minnesota’s offense respectable and gave the Vikings a shot at the NFC title.
The AFC West is in flux. The Raiders still have work to do and a new head coach, the Chiefs are led by a first-year starter, and the Chargers still manage to lose games they have no business losing. That sets the Broncos up well for a run at the division crown and a playoff spot. Their schedule is tied for 29th-toughest, with a closing four-game slate that goes: at San Francisco, hosting Cleveland, at Oakland, and finally at home versus the Bolts in a game that could decide the division and maybe more.