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Wild NFL offseason opens up disparity in betting markets between AFC and NFC

The Chiefs traded away superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill, shifting their odds to win the Super Bowl and the AFC West this season. AP Photo/Ed Zurga

As high-profile quarterbacks and difference-making wide receivers switched teams this NFL offseason, the balance of power between the NFL's two conferences appears to have pivoted toward the AFC.

The Buffalo Bills are the favorites to win the Super Bowl at most sportsbooks, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and defending-champion Los Angeles Rams also at the top of oddsmakers boards.

Of the top 10 teams in terms of Super Bowl odds at Caesars Sportsbook, five are from the AFC, and five from the NFC. The belief from oddsmakers, however, is that the AFC has more depth.

Chris Bennett, who oversees NFL odds for the Las Vegas-based Circa Sports, calculated the implied probabilities reflected by his sportsbook's Super Bowl odds and found the AFC has roughly a 4% edge over the NFC.

"It's not a perfect science, because you would presume a really good team is going to come out of the NFC still, and not necessarily be a giant underdog to whatever team comes out of the AFC," Bennett said. "But, overall, I think most people would agree that the AFC has better teams.

"Even with all the improvements that AFC teams have made, and a lot of expense at NFC teams, I don't want to go to crazy and give out too high of odds on NFC teams," Bennett added.

Circa Sports has the Buccaneers as 7-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl largely because of a "decent-sized bet" that Bennett said was placed on Tampa Bay to win the NFC. The Bills are 15-2, followed the Rams at 17-2, the Chiefs at 19-2 and the Packers at 10-1.

"I don't necessarily think they're better than the Bills," Bennett said. "But the Bills are in the AFC, so they've got a tougher road. The Bucs, in particular in their division [NFC South], which isn't looking very strong, have a much easier path than the Bills -- even though, I might think the Bills would be favored over the Bucs on a neutral site."

The early Super Bowl line also shows oddsmakers giving a small edge to the AFC over the NFC. The AFC is a 1.5-point favorite in the early Super Bowl line at the SuperBook. The total is 52.5.

While the teams at the top of oddsboards are evenly distributed between the conferences, seven of the 10 teams with the longest Super Bowl odds are from the NFC at Caesars Sportsbook. Entering last season, the AFC had four of the five teams with the longest odds, including the eventual conference champion Cincinnati Bengals, who were 125-1.

Here is a look at some of the NFL odds and how they've moved over the last two months:

Super Bowl odds-movement [per Caesars Sportsbook, which opened its odds to win Super Bowl LVII on Jan. 30).

Improved odds

Los Angeles Chargers -- Opening: 22-1 Current: 16-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Opening: 14-1 Current: 8-1
Denver Broncos -- Opening: 25-1 Current: 16-1
Cleveland Browns -- Opening: 40-1 Current: 18-1
Green Bay Packers -- Opening: 15-1 Current 11-1

Decreased odds

New England Patriots -- Opening: 22-1, Current: 40-1
Cincinnati Bengals -- Opening: 12-1, Current: 22-1
Seattle Seahawks -- Opening: 40-1, Current: 80-1
Kansas City Chiefs -- Opening: 13-2, Current: 9-1
Philadelphia Eagles -- Opening: 30-1, Current 50-1
Atlanta Falcons -- Opening: 60-1, Current: 100-1

Division drama

• The Chiefs remain the favorite to win the AFC West but their odds have decreased notably after trading Tyreek Hill to Miami and seeing division rivals Denver and Las Vegas add big-name stars in Russell Wilson and Davante Adams respectively.

To begin March, the Chiefs were -175 odds-on favorites to win the AFC West. They remain the favorite, but are now listed at +160, the second-longest odds of any division favorite. The Broncos and Chargers are each +250 at Caesars Sportsbook and the Raiders are +650.

• The AFC West and NFC West are co-favorites (7-2) at Caesars Sportsbook to produce the next Super Bowl champion, followed by the AFC East at 5-1.

• The Browns, who added Deshaun Watson, are the favorites to win the AFC North at +170. The Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals are each +220, followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers at 10-1

Notable odds and ends

• BetMGM reported taking a $20,000 bet on the 49ers to win the Super Bowl at 16-1 in mid-February.

• After Tom Brady announced his retirement, the Buccaneers' odds to win the Super Bowl drifted back to 28-1 at Caesars Sportsbooks on March 8. Weeks later, after Brady unretired, Tampa Bay's odds improved to 10-1. Big bets on the Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl showed up at multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks in the days leading up to Brady's announcement.

• After trading for Hill and signing tackle Terron Armstead, the Miami Dolphins' odds at Caesars Sportsbook to win the Super Bowl improved from 70-1 to 50-1.

• The Packers moved from 15-1 to 10-1 to win the Super Bowl at Caesars Sportsbook after re-signing Aaron Rodgers .

• The Raiders moved from 60-1 to 50-1 to win the Super Bowl after trading for Davante Adams.

Patrick Mahomes is the favorite to win NFL regular-season MVP at 15-2 with Josh Allen and Brady next at 9-1, followed by Rodgers at 10-1.