If you’re a gambling man, the Vegas line isn’t optimistic about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2023 chances to capture the AFC North. As tweeted out by Baltimore Ravens’ reporter Jamison Hensley, the Steelers have the worst odds to win the division at +550. That’s behind the Cincinnati Bengals (+120), Baltimore Ravens (+275) and the Cleveland Browns (+360).
Here’s the full odds list via Caesars Sports.
While it’s be unreasonable to expect Pittsburgh to be the AFC North favorites, it’s surprising to see it so far at the back of the pack. The Cincinnati Bengals are the rightful favorites, two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance followed by a strong playoff run last season while retaining all their key pieces.
Baltimore is in second place with the comfort that QB Lamar Jackson is secured for the long-term. He signed a five-year extension shortly before the NFL Draft and shutting down any rumors the Ravens may target a quarterback in the first round. They’re always a steady team and in the mix and have only been hampered by Jackson’s injuries the last two seasons.
Cleveland is something of a wild card. Deshaun Watson is in his first full year with the team with no threat of suspension and the Browns’ offense should be more pass-oriented this season. They beefed up their interior defensive line to improve their run defense while their secondary looks good but not great.
Pittsburgh had a solid offseason in free agency and draft, overturning large portions of the roster and committing to a run-first identity. They’ve been universally praised for having one of the NFL’s best drafts with a strong Day One and Day Two of the draft.
Since 2018, the Steelers have only won the AFC North once, capturing its crown in 2020 thanks to an 11-0 start. If Pittsburgh can’t win it in 2023, it’ll be the first time it has gone three straight years without winning the division since 2011-2013.
Obviously, odds are meaningless and don’t matter when the ball is kicked off. But if the Steelers want to put another chip on their shoulder, this can be another boost of motivation.