The New England Patriots have dominated the AFC East since the turn of the century. They have won the division in 11 straight years and 17 times in the last 20 years. However, the departure of Tom Brady has left the division as somewhat of a question mark for the first time since the Hall of Fame QB missed the 2008 season due to injury. Last season, even with Brady in the division, the Buffalo Bills came close, and this season the division could be even more wide open. Let’s take a look at the odds to win the AFC East in 2020, starting with a Miami Dolphins team who might be the best value in the entire league.
Miami Dolphins +1100 (Bet America)
The 2019 season was supposed to be a disaster for the Dolphins, but they proved a lot of people wrong. They may have only won five games, but given the expectations, and the way the season started, the five wins were actually quite promising. The Dolphins were projected to win 4.5 games last season but rallied after starting 0-7, including six double-digit losses.
However, in the second half of the season, the team came together for head coach Brian Flores. They won five of their last nine games, including victories over playoff teams in the form of the Philadelphia Eagles and Patriots. The players showed a lot of fight when, as a team, they could easily have given up. That says a lot about the team and the way their head coach brought the best out of them.
Entering 2020, the talent level of the Dolphins has improved significantly. Defensively they have added several pieces, including cornerback Byron Jones, as well as interesting options in their front seven, such as Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson. These additions, with the potential to add five contributors in the first two rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft, could mean the Dolphins become immediate contenders in the division this season. With odds varying from +800 to +1100, the Dolphins offer great value in a division with no clear dominant team for the first time in 10 years.
0.5u – Miami Dolphins to win the AFC East | +1100
Buffalo Bills +160 (DraftKings)
The Bills became one of the darlings of the NFL world last season as they went from a 6-10 team in 2018 to a 10 win unit in 2019. Until Week 16, the Bills still had an outside chance of winning the division. Unfortunately, they ended the season with three straight defeats and crashed out of the playoffs in the Wildcard round in Houston.
This offseason, the Bills bolstered their roster by adding former-Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Outside of that addition, the Bills have been quiet but will be looking to build on a 2019 season that demonstrated a massive amount of promise. This may be the best value you get this offseason in terms of the Bills odds to win the AFC East, as a strong draft could see them become the favorites. If you believe 2019 was the start of a strong run of form for the Bills, then now is the time to make this bet.
1u – Buffalo Bills to win the AFC East | +160
New England Patriots +120 (FanDuel)
So far, 2020 has not been good for the Patriots. They lost to the Tennessee Titans and just saw their six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback leave in free agency. This has left the Patriots with a huge question mark at the most crucial position in the sport. When you look down the roster, it is highly questionable whether they have the talent to elevate below-average quarterback play, especially on offense.
Additionally, the Patriots have just one pick in the first two rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft. Therefore, they will need to make the most of their three third-round selections if they are to give their roster the boost it needs to really challenge at the level these odds suggest.
This line is mainly reflective of the 20-year dominance the Patriots have had in the division and the respect that head coach Bill Belichick is correctly afforded. However, there is no value to be found here, and frankly, these odds would need to fall some distance before they offered any value given the current situation in New England.
New York Jets +800 (Bet America)
The Jets do offer value with their odds to win the AFC East simply because the division is such a mess right now. However, while the Dolphins have a head coach who has shown he can elevate the level of his team, the Jets appear to have quite the opposite. Surprisingly, Adam Gase got another head coaching role after being run out of Miami following the 2018 season. While the Jets managed to get to 7-9 in 2019, it was not without problems, many of which seemed to center around the team’s relationship with Gase.
What the Jets do have going for them is a young quarterback who has demonstrated signs of promise. Unfortunately, the rest of the roster lacks in high-end talent, and Sam Darnold is not talented enough to do it all on his own. Therefore, with both sides of the ball lacking playmakers, the Jets are not a team you should bet on, even given the question marks surrounding the division.