The Pittsburgh Steelers have opened up the 2023 season in the basement of the AFC North, at least from a betting perspective.
The Steelers have +600 odds to win the AFC North, the worst odds of the four teams, according to futures lines posted earlier this month by FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Cincinnati Bengals are the favorites to repeat as AFC North champs at +135. They’re followed by the Baltimore Ravens at +200 and the Cleveland Browns at +430.
Those teams are in the same order when it comes to their odds of winning the AFC (Cincinnati +500, Baltimore +1300, Cleveland +2000, Pittsburgh +3000) and Super Bowl LVIII (Cincinnati +900, Baltimore +2100, Cleveland +3500, Pittsburgh +5000).
The Bengals are the two-time reigning division champions, and are looking to become the first team to claim the North in three consecutive seasons since its inception. The Steelers won the AFC Central, the division’s fore-runner, four times in a row from 1994-97.
Since the AFC North was organized in 2002, the Steelers have won nine division titles, the Ravens and Bengals have won six each. The Browns have not won their division since 1989.
The Steelers finishing in the basement would be a significant historical aberration. The Steelers finishePittsburgh has not finished in last place since the re-organization of the conference in 2002. They finished fourth in the six-team Central in 1999. The Steelers haven’t come in last place in their division since 1988 — the only time since the 1970 NFL merger that has occurred.