Steelers have concerningly poor odds to win the AFC North in 2023

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

We are now just a few weeks from the start of the 2023 regular season. This is the time of year when football personalities are busy making their predictions for the upcoming season, while fans are diving back into fantasy football re-draft leagues. This also happens to be the time of year when many of us are placing future bets on how things will shape up around the NFL in 2023.

Last year, I made some easy money betting that the Pittsburgh Steelers would not finish last in the AFC North -- a spot that ultimately (and unsurprisingly) belonged to the Cleveland Browns in 2022. One year later, I examined the odds to find that Vegas is still not buying Pittsburgh as a threat to win the division.

According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Pittsburgh Steelers are just +475 to win their division in 2023.

For some perspective, the Chicago Bears -- a team that went 3-14 last season -- has better odds to win their respective division this year, as do the Carolina Panthers to win the NFC South.

These +475 odds for the Steelers to win the AFC North feels like a slap in the face. But are they justified?

Steelers are a risky bet to win the AFC North (but with a solid payout)

Betting the Pittsburgh Steelers not to finish last in their division is one thing; betting on them to claim the AFC North title is something else entirely. While there's no question that Omar Khan improved this roster improved on paper during the 2023 offseason, it's important to consider what this team is stacked up against.

The Bengals are becoming an AFC powerhouse, and that might not change anytime soon. Though Joe Burrow had an injury scare during training camp, this isn't going to derail Cincinnati's 2023 season. The Bengals are a talented team with a high-powered passing offense. It's most reasonable to expect them to come out on top.

After that, the Ravens could be much improved this year. Over the past two seasons, Lamar Jackson has not been able to play more than 12 games in either year. When he does play, the former MVP quarterback is 45-16 as a starter. After adding skill players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers, it's reasonable to expect improvement from them as well.

Even a team like the Browns (who continually underachieve by the media's standards) will have Deshaun Watson for a full season seeing his first game action since 2020 for the first time late last year. If he takes a step forward, the path becomes much more difficult for Pittsburgh.

Even with an expected second-year leap from Kenny Pickett, we can't expect him to be on par with all three starting quarterbacks in the AFC North this season. While I still like betting them as a team that will not finish last in the division (Mike Tomlin won't allow it to happen), I still err on the side of caution when betting them to win the North.

While the +475 odds suggest that their chances aren't good to come away with the divisional title, this also makes for an intriguing payout. If this team comes out swinging and upsets the 49ers in the home opener, you can bet these odds shift. If you have faith in this team, now might be the time to risk a bet on them to win the AFC North while the payout is still very good.