Early Odds and Pick for the 2022 AFC Conference Winner

By Nicholas Sterling in NFL
| July 20, 2022 8:58 am PDT
AFC logo, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Derek Carr

Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots ruled the AFC for much of the 21st century. That has changed to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. However, we could see another change off the guard for the 2022 season.

The AFC looks wide open for the first time in years. There are top contenders, but no one seems unbeatable. We saw the Cincinnati Bengals pull off a shocker in last year’s AFC Championship Game.

Let’s see how the 2022 AFC championship odds view the 16 teams, but first stop at the best sites for betting on the conference winner this season.

Where to Bet on the AFC Championship in 2022

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The top US betting sites are your go-to place for wagering on the NFL. We’re over a month from the start of the 2022 season, but the betting sites released odds throughout the offseason.

They had to adjust with free agency and the NFL draft, but we shouldn’t see much movement until the preseason.

What will the AFC Conference odds look like after the preseason?

Feel free to visit each site to see the odds of each team. The favorites may have similar odds, but you’ll find a noticeable difference between the mid-tier teams and sleepers.

2022 AFC Championship Odds

The odds to win the 2022 AFC Conference have the Buffalo Bills as the favorite. Buffalo has lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the last two playoffs. Can they finally overcome Kansas City?

The AFC West has a ton of firepower in 2022, with the Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos among the top contenders. Los Angeles and Denver made big moves in the offseason, with Denver adding Russell Wilson.

Are the Cleveland Browns the most intriguing team? They could challenge for the AFC title with Deshaun Watson, but his suspension puts their hopes in doubt.

Check out Bovada’s review before you make your AFC Championship prediction.

Why Are the Bills the AFC Favorite?

The Buffalo Bills were among the worst NFL teams throughout the 21st century. They failed to make the playoffs from 2000 to 2016, with one winning season in that stretch. However, the 2022 team is much closer to the early 1990s Bills.

Buffalo came agonizingly close to winning the AFC in the last two years. They lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2020 AFC Championship Game and 2021 Divisional Round.

The Bills weren’t content with running it back. They made a big splash in free agency, signing former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller.

This is a classic case of the rich getting richer. Buffalo looks poised to overtake the Chiefs as the top team in the AFC.

The early 2022 NFL power rankings have the Bills in the No. 1 spot. Their odds of winning the 2022 AFC Championship don’t stem from a dominant offense. I believe it has more to do with their defense.

Most of the top teams in the NFL have a great offense, but their defense isn’t as strong. Meanwhile, the Bills boast an elite defense. Please take a look at their numbers from the 2021 season.

Buffalo Bills logo
  • 272.8 Yards Per Game (1st)
  • 163.0 Passing Yards Per Game (1st)
  • 17.0 Points Per Game (1st)

How much can your game plan for the Bills’ defense when you have Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs on the other side of the ball? Allen is coming off back-to-back seasons with 4,400+ yards and 36+ touchdowns. That doesn’t include his impact on the ground game.

It’s hard to find a team with more balance than the Bills. That’ll be the driving force behind their AFC title hopes.

Can they overcome the Chiefs? That’ll be the question as the Bills aim for their first AFC title since 1994.

Can the Kansas City Chiefs Reclaim the AFC Crown?

It looked like we would see a wide-open AFC after Tom Brady left the New England Patriots. However, that coincided with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs taking the AFC by storm.

Kansas City enters the 2022 season looking for a fifth consecutive appearance in the AFC Championship Game. They were in a strong position to make their third straight Super Bowl but blew a 21-3 lead in last year’s AFC title game.

Why don’t the AFC Conference odds have the Chiefs as the favorite? Kansas City traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason. That leaves serious question marks with their receiving core.

Madden ratings aren’t a clear indication of their position group, but it gives you an idea of their talent. JuJu Smith-Schuster isn’t the best player to have as your WR1.

We can’t forget that Mahomes and Travis Kelce remain the star players on this offense. Kelce turns 33 in October but remains the best tight end in football. Last season, he had 92 receptions, 1,125 yards, and nine touchdowns.

Since Mahomes became the starting quarterback, Kelce’s numbers are among the best in the NFL.

Travis Kelce
  • 397 Receptions (3rd)
  • 5,106 Yards (2nd)
  • 35 Touchdowns (6th)

Those rankings are among all players. There’s little battle with Kelce and other tight ends. It’ll be tough to replace Hill, but Kelce’s role as the top option keeps the Chiefs in contention for the AFC.

How can we talk about the Chiefs’ AFC hopes without discussing Mahomes? He went through a rough patch last season but remains the best quarterback in the AFC. Will his numbers take a hit without Hill?

Kansas City’s defense isn’t as strong as the Buffalo Bills, but they have quality players. Will it be enough to stay ahead of Buffalo?

Best Value Bets for the 2022 AFC Conference Championship

Last season, the Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC after opening the season with (+8000) odds. Could we see another surprise team in the AFC?

Check out my favorite value bets for the 2022 AFC Championship.

Baltimore Ravens (+1000)

The Baltimore Ravens have been my favorite sleeper throughout the 2022 offseason. It’s easy to forget the Ravens held the No. 1 spot at 8-3 last season before injuries ruined their season.

Baltimore’s odds to win the 2022 AFC Conference are among the favorites, but they trail three AFC West teams. I’m willing to put them in the same conversation as the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.

The Ravens made a splash in free agency, signing safety Marcus Williams. Baltimore’s secondary struggled mightily last season with injuries. They helped their cause with another great draft.

The biggest storyline of the 2022 NFL draft for the Ravens was trading Hollywood Brown. Everyone has different opinions on the move, but Brown had issues with drops. I don’t think it’ll be a significant loss for Baltimore.

It wasn’t long ago that Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens ground game took the NFL by storm. They couldn’t do that last season, with JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards missing the entire season.

That’s a good lead-in to the injuries for the Ravens. Check out the players that missed significant time in 2021.

Ravens team logo
  • Lamar Jackson
  • Rashod Bateman
  • Ronnie Stanley
  • Marlon Humphrey
  • Marcus Peters

Competing without your top QB, RB, OT, and CB are tough. Dobbins, Edwards, and Marcus Peters didn’t play in 2021. Their return gives the Ravens a strong chance to compete for the AFC title.

I would have no issue making the Ravens my AFC Championship winner prediction. At full strength, they’re the best team in the AFC North. They may be better than a Chiefs team without Tyreek Hill.

My Super Bowl 57 sleepers have the Ravens as one of the top teams. Feel free to check it out to see my top value picks.

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 The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 56 to win their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Los Angeles entered the season as a top contender, but Cincinnati had (+15000) Super Bowl odds in Week 1. It’s tough to win...

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Las Vegas Raiders (+2200)

There’s much buzz with the AFC West. The Denver Broncos acquired Russell Wilson, and the Los Angeles Chargers added J.C. Jackson. We talked about the Kansas City Chiefs losing Tyreek Hill, but they still have Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.

No one is talking about the Las Vegas Raiders, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they emerged from the AFC West. There’s value in their odds of winning the 2022 AFC Championship.

Las Vegas made the playoffs last season, losing in the Wild Card Round. What’d they do in the offseason? Just acquire the best wide receiver in the league.

Davante Adams reunites with college quarterback Derek Carr. With Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow, Carr may have the best receiving unit in the league. Renfrow came from nowhere last season to post 103 receptions, 1,028 yards, and nine touchdowns.

Josh McDaniels takes over as head coach of the Raiders. He spent 14 seasons with the New England Patriots. We know he has learned a thing or two from Bill Belichick.

There were rumors of the Raiders wanting to trade Carr. They reaffirmed their commitment to him with a three-year extension. He was quietly one of the best quarterbacks last season.

Derek Carr
  • 68.4 Completion Percentage
  • 4,804 Yards
  • 23 Touchdowns
  • 14 Interceptions

No one wants to see 14 interceptions, but that was the first time since 2018 he threw more than 10. That number should come down with Adams.

Las Vegas upgraded their defense by signing Chandler Jones and Jayon Brown. They also acquired Rock Ya-Sin from the Indianapolis Colts. Jones and Maxx Crosby will be one of the best edge rushing duos.

The AFC title winner odds don’t give the Raiders much respect, but I’m not counting them out. They could make a serious run at the AFC Championship.

Betting Tips for the 2022 AFC Title

It’s not easy betting on the AFC Conference winner in July or August. Hopefully, my betting tips will make your job a little easier. Here are my favorite tips for AFC Championship betting.

Bet on the Top-Tier Teams

Who wants to bet on the top AFC teams? Everyone wants to find value with their bets. Unfortunately, it’s not common for the AFC Champion to enter the season as a non-contender.

The Cincinnati Bengals accomplished this as a long shot last season, but that was an outlier. Check out the AFC Champions with preseason odds higher than (+1000) since 2001.

  • 2001 New England Patriots: (+1000)
  • 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers: (+1000)
  • 2021 Cincinnati Bengals: (+8000)

The odds to win the 2022 AFC Conference title have six teams with (+1000) odds or lower. The trends tell us that the winner will come from that group. Will your AFC Championship prediction look further down the list?

People will likely say that’s a product of the New England Patriots’ dominance. That plays into it, but the Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Denver Broncos also won the AFC with odds lower than (+1000).

Pick a Team with an Elite QB

The NFL is a passing league. Every team wants a great quarterback because they’re the team’s focal point. We’ve seen great quarterbacks take down great defense. It hasn’t been the other way around lately.

An average quarterback can win the AFC, but it’d be tough. Joe Flacco in 2012 is the last time a non-elite quarterback made the Super Bowl, but he played out his mind in the postseason.

That’s why we see Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Justin Herbert among the AFC favorites. You can argue that each quarterback is top-five in the NFL. Allen and Mahomes are certainly the best quarterbacks in the AFC.

Ryan Tannehill led the Tennessee Titans to the best record in the AFC last season, but he couldn’t produce in the postseason. An elite quarterback knows how to produce in the playoffs.

AFC Conference Championship Prediction for 2022

AFC logo

A wild offseason should lead to a competitive battle in the AFC. Russell Wilson, Davante Adams, Deshaun Watson, or Matt Ryan could lead their new team to the AFC crown.

The Buffalo Bills were my early Super Bowl 57 pick. I haven’t changed that stance, so I’m taking Buffalo to win the AFC.

The 2022 AFC Championship odds have them as the favorite for a reason. I love their talent on both sides of the ball. This should be the year they overcome the Kansas City Chiefs.

Who’s your AFC Championship pick? Check out the most reputable NFL betting websites to make your pick.



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