AFC North Win Totals: How Many Victories Will Each Team Have in 2020?

Win totals for the 2020 NFL season have been released. How many wins will the Ravens, Steelers, Browns and Bengals have?
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The 2020 NFL Draft is next month and the regular season is slated to kick off a little less than six months from now. However, that hasn’t prevented oddsmakers, like William Hill, from setting season win totals for all 32 teams. These numbers will certainly change following the draft, so it’s often prudent for bettors to get down on any team where there is expected value that may not be there come September.

Betting 101:

If you think Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are going to win 12 or more games, you would bet the ‘Over’. Conversely, if you think they’ll regress from last season when they went 14-2 and win 11 or fewer games in 2020, you would bet the ‘Under’. The numbers in brackets are the actual odds. For instance, to win $100 you need to lay down $130 on the ‘Over’ at -130. If Baltimore wins 12 games or more, you’d get a potential payout of $230 (your original stake is returned along with your winnings of $100).

Baltimore Ravens - 11.5 Wins (Over -130; Under +110)

Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are tied with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs with the highest posted win total (11.5) of any team on the board.

Biggest Addition in Free Agency:

Calais Campbell, Defensive Lineman (via trade)

One of the league’s best defensive units became even stronger following a trade with Jacksonville to acquire the Pro Bowl lineman. The 33-year-old Campbell has 88 sacks during his 12-year career, including a career-high 14.5 sacks in 2017. His 31.5 sacks since 2017 are the seventh-most in the NFL over the past three seasons.

Draft Outlook:

The Ravens have five picks in the first three rounds (among the top 106). The team picks No. 28 in the first round and many mock drafts are projecting they will address their need for an inside ‘backer.

2020 Schedule:

HOME: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

AWAY: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Betting Advice:

The Ravens are among the favorites to win Super Bowl LV and rightfully so. Baltimore won 14 games last season thanks to an MVP season from Jackson. After breaking down their opponents, my model projects the Ravens winning 12 games. I would lay the -130 here and back the over.

Play: Over 11.5 wins (-130)

Pittsburgh Steelers - 9 Wins (Over -125; Under +105)

What’s your confidence level in Ben Roethlisberger returning to elite form for this coming season? There is no guarantee the Steelers quarterback will be the same after suffering an elbow injury that ended his season with zero touchdown passes.

Biggest Addition in Free Agency:

Eric Ebron, Tight End

Ebron is a solid addition and a proven red-zone target who has hauled in 27 career touchdown passes. The risk is that Ebron has missed 13 games in his six NFL seasons and was shut down last year due to the need for surgery on both ankles. When healthy, he is capable of posting superior numbers like he did in 2018 when he hauled in 66 catches for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Draft Outlook:

The Steelers, after trades highlighted by the acquisition of Minkah Fitzptarick, only have one pick (No. 49) within the first 100 selections.

2020 Schedule:

HOME: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns

AWAY: Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns

Betting Advice:

At first glance, the posted total of nine wins appears to be high. However, Pittsburgh has an elite coach in Mike Tomlin that was able to guide the club to an 8-8 record despite being forced to employ a carousel of quarterbacks. After breaking down their opponents, my model projects the Steelers winning nine games. I think this posted total, solely with a healthy Rothlisberger under center, is spot on.

Play: Pass

Cleveland Browns - 8 Wins (Over -110; Under -110)

What’s your confidence level in Baker Mayfield and the dysfunctional Browns who disappointed the ‘Dawg Pound faithful yet again with a 6-10 campaign in 2019? The Browns have an impressive offensive group on paper with quarterback Baker Mayfield, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and stud wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Mayfield will have significantly better protection with two new bookend tackles that should also limit eight-man boxes with a potentially more dominant run game.

Biggest Addition in Free Agency:

Austin Hooper, Tight End & Jack Conklin, Offensive Tackle

The moves the Browns have made in free agency so far should help Mayfield immensely. Conklin is a huge upgrade for Cleveland, helping to solidify the right tackle position. Conklin was instrumental in the success of Derrick Henry earning the rushing title in Tennessee last season and now he will be blocking for the running back who finished just behind the former Alabama star (Chubb). Hooper has blossomed into one of the NFL's best tight ends in four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He will become a huge weapon down the seam for Mayfield in the Browns’ 2020 passing attack.

Draft Outlook:

The Browns, who own the No. 10 overall pick, are expected to address their primary need for a left tackle by targeting one of the top players at the position with their first selection.

2020 Schedule:

HOME: Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Las Vegas Raiders

AWAY: Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets

Betting Advice:

The oddsmakers over at William Hill are some of the sharpest in the business and once again it's on display here. After breaking down their opponents, my model projects the Browns winning 8 games. I think this number will come down to whether they can find a way to split their home-in-home with the Ravens. My suggestion is to wait and see if other sportsbooks perhaps offer 7.5 since I lean to the over. However, at the posted total of 8 this is a pass for me once again.

Play: Pass

Cincinnati Bengals - 5 Wins (Over -135; Under +115)

The Bengals are going to improve their franchise with the No. 1 overall pick, but they will struggle in 2020 despite likely adding Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow out of LSU. The Bengals were the worst team in the league last season, going 2-14, and the rebuilding process under Zac Taylor will continue for several more years.

Biggest Addition in Free Agency:

Edited: (After Social Media Unhappiness)

The Bengals spent $145 million on a laundry list of second and third tier free agents. Let's review some of their moves: (Star WR A.J. Green wasn't a signing. He was tagged, not extended.)

D.J. Reader, DT (4 years/$53M) - 6.5 career sacks in four years with Texans

Trae Waynes, CB (3 years/ $42M) - 7 career interceptions in five seasons with Vikings

Vonn Bell, S (3 years/$18M) - 348 tackles and one career interception in 61 games over four seasons with Saints

One of the biggest pitfalls in free agency in any sport is when clubs overspend for fringe players. The Bengals spent big money on massive deals on less impactful players, who will all need to raise their games in order for these contracts to make financial sense. 

Reader's strengths won't help Cincinnati solve its major lack of a pass rush, as he has never registered more than 2.5 sacks in a single season. Last season, the Bengals had 11 interceptions, which tied for 22nd in the league. If Bell and Waynes do not pan out, their massive deals could delay Cincinnati’s overall rebuilding process.

The Bengals, outside of retaining Green for an additional season, failed to make any impactful moves to improve dramatically. On the bright side, the oddsmakers did raise their overall floor from two wins a year ago to a possible five wins for this upcoming season. 

Draft Outlook:

The Bengals, who own the No. 1 overall pick, currently own a pick in all seven rounds of the draft. It's a good thing they do because this roster needs help at nearly every level on both sides of the ball.

2020 Schedule:

HOME: Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers

AWAY: Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins

Betting Advice:

The Bengals have not finished with a winning record since 2015 and they will not come close to accomplishing that feat in 2020. In Burrow, the Bengals are getting the best quarterback prospect in this year's draft and one of the best prospects in the organization’s history. My model only projects possible wins over the Jaguars, Texans and Redskins. They would need to steal a win at home over the Browns and a road win over Miami to even push this total. I will gladly grab the under here at plus-odds of +115.

Play: Under 5 Wins (+115)

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