The NFL playoff picture could start to come into focus in Week 14 as four division leaders sit poised to clinch playoff spots. That includes the New England Patriots, who can lock up a ninth straight AFC East title with a win over the Miami Dolphins, and are set as +110 favorites to repeat as AFC conference champions on the NFL betting futures.
New England endured a rocky 2-2 straight-up start to the campaign before making a dramatic turnaround with eight consecutive straight-up victories, and now joins Pittsburgh atop the AFC conference standings going into Monday night’s game at Hard Rock Stadium.
The 10-2 Patriots have shown steady improvement during their current eight-game tear, holding opponents to single digits on three occasions while racking up 33 points per game over their past four, and are also a strong -275 bet to enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
After scoring 35 points in each of two straight victories over the Dolphins, including a 35-14 victory in Miami as 7.5-point underdogs in Week 17 of last season, the Patriots look like a solid bet as 11-point chalk on Monday.
However, New England has fallen to defeat in two straight Monday night road outings, and will face highly motivated opponents in its final three regular-season contests, starting with next week’s road date with the AFC North-leading Steelers.
Like New England, the 10-2 Steelers enter their Week 14 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens needing just a single win to repeat as division champions, and closely trail the Patriots as a +190 bet to emerge as AFC champions.
Pittsburgh is unbeaten SU in seven outings, and has tallied 31.3 points over its past three contests. However, the Steelers will likely need to overcome a four-game SU and ATS winless streak against New England in next week’s clash at Heinz Field if they hope to pay out as a +175 bet to claim the AFC’s top seed.
While the red-hot Los Angeles Chargers have emerged as an intriguing +1200 wager to win their first AFC conference title since 1994, it is the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans who most closely trail the Patriots and Steelers on the odds to claim the AFC’s top seed, both pegged at +1800.
Los Angeles has won three straight to move into a three-way tie with Oakland and Kansas City atop the AFC West. The Jaguars and Titans are knotted atop the AFC West with identical 8-4 records, with the division winner likely not to be determined until the two squads meet at Nissan Stadium in Week 17.