2015-16 AFC North Preview

AFC North

This is the sixth of eight division previews for the 2015-16 NFL season.  You can view the previous five posts here:

NFC West  |  NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  AFC West

Once again, the data displayed comes from simulating the entire season 10,000 times.

In what was a highly competitive division last season, the Ravens lead us off in the AFC North:

2014 Record 10-6  |  Home Games: KC, SD, SEA, STL, JAX  |  Away Games: DEN, OAK, ARI, SF, MIA


The most likely result is a 9-7 season and the average number of wins came out to 9.02.  The chances of the Ravens winning 11 or more games (nearly a guaranteed playoff spot) are 22.0%.  Nine wins would normally be second or third best in a division, but it is enough to lead what is expected to be a crowded division.


Ravens O/UOver %Under %Implied Odds
8.5 wins60.8%39.2%-155 / +155
9 wins40.3%39.2%-103 / +103
9.5 wins40.3%59.7%+148 / -148

5Dimes is currently offering Ravens Under 9 at +125 which is a +EV bet since you would only need to get +103 for fair value. There would be a 20.5% chance that your bet would push when the Ravens go exactly 9-7.

With an average of 8.53 wins, the Bengals are next:

2014 Record 10-5-1  |  Home Games: KC, SD, SEA, STL, HOU  |  Away Games: DEN, OAK, ARI, SF, BUF


The Bengals finished 9-7 the most, but only in 19 more simulations than they finished 8-8.  The Bengals schedule ends with their three most volatile games in their last four overall. (Week 14 vs. PIT, Week 15 at SF, Week 17 vs. BAL.)  With Baltimore and Cincinnati’s projections so similar, there is a good chance that the division could be decided on that final game of the regular season.


Bengals O/UOver %Under %Implied Odds
8 wins50.6%30.5%-166 / +166
8.5 wins50.6%49.4%-102 / +102
9 wins31.6%49.4%+156 / -156

The market is mostly at 8.5 wins which mirrors what the simulation produced.  If you can get some decent “plus juice” on Bengals Under 8.5, then it would be worthy of a bet.

Not to be forgotten are the Pittsburgh Steelers:

2014 Record 11-5  |  Home Games: DEN, OAK, ARI, SF, IND  |  Away Games: KC, SD, SEA, STL, NE


The Steelers most likely result is also 9-7.  That’s right, the top three teams in the AFC North all have the same most likely result.  In 11.7% of simulations, all three teams ended up with winning records.  In 1.9% of simulations, all three teams were tied atop the AFC North standings.

This is another example of the 2-game difference in schedules making an impact.  Because the Steelers won the division last season, they will face division winners Indianapolis and New England.  Meanwhile, the Bengals instead play Houston and Buffalo while the Ravens face Jacksonville and Miami.


Bengals O/UOver %Under %Implied Odds
8 wins50.3%29.8%-169 / +169
8.5 wins50.3%49.7%-101 / +101
9 wins30.4%49.7%+164 / -164

Nearly a carbon copy of the Bengals table above, with the sportsbooks again setting the line at 8.5 wins which makes it a pass once again for me.

Bringing up the rear are the Cleveland Browns:

2014 Record 7-9  |  Home Games: DEN, OAK, ARI, SF, TEN  |  Away Games: KC, SD, SEA, STL, NYJ


The Browns finished 6-10 in 20.6% of simulations with their mean total at 5.84 wins.  Cleveland showed some signs of improvement last season by winning seven games (their most wins since 2007!).  Unfortunately for long-suffering fans, there doesn’t seem to be a massive improvement in sight.  Cleveland finished with 10+ wins in only 2.8% of simulations.


Browns O/UOver %Under %Implied Odds
6 wins35.5%43.9%+124 / -124
6.5 wins35.5%64.5%+182 / -182
7 wins18.4%64.5%+350 / -350

It’s a low number but Browns Under 6.5 is a play even with heavy juice (currently -145 at 5Dimes).


And below we have the divisional odds for all four teams:

TeamDivision %Implied Odds

Again, not much separation among the top three teams in the division.  It seems the AFC North has been that way for a few seasons and once again, it could come down to the final game of the season to determine the division winner.

Tomorrow will be the AFC South preview where we see just how big a favorite Andrew Luck and the Colts are over the rest of the division.  If you want to chime in on the data shown here or any of the NFL previews, head on over to our forum by clicking the link below.

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