Formed from the remnants of the American Football League when the NFL-AFL merger officially took effect in 1970, the AFC apparently wasn’t informed by those in charge of professional football that it was supposed to be second-best. The AFC were the winners in six of the first seven AFC-NFC Super Bowl showdowns and factoring in the wins by AFL teams in final two NFL-AFL Super Bowl games, it meant that AFL/AFC teams won eight of nine Super Bowls between Super Bowls III and XI.
The AFC/AFL team was favored in six of those wins and covered the spread on five occasions. The New York Jets (Super Bowl III) and Kansas City Chiefs (Super Bowl IV) won outright as significant underdogs. The Baltimore Colts were favored by 18 points over the Jets and lost 16-7, while the Minnesota Vikings were a 12-point pick over the Chiefs and dropped a 23-7 decision.
AFC Betting Lines Today
The NFL moved three of its teams to the AFC to balance the league into two 13-team conferences when the merger was put into effect in 1970. The Baltimore Colts joined the AFC East, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns joined the AFC Central.
The Steelers and Colts played significant roles in turning the AFC into an early power. The Colts won Super Bowl V, the first AFC-NFC showdown, by a 16-13 count on Jim O’Brien’s last-play field goal. Baltimore played in the first two AFC Championship Games and won four of the first eight AFC East titles.
Pittsburgh never made the playoffs prior to the merger but in 1972 won the AFC Central title, launching a string of eight straight playoff appearances. By 1980, the Steelers had won a record four Super Bowls.
AFC East Standings Right Now
This is where you will find the current AFC standings and in recent years three teams have dominated play in the AFC. The New England Patriots are the scourge of the AFC East.
In the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers have proven to be a powerhouse, while the Denver Broncos have shown the best of the AFC West teams. Between 2001-2017, those three teams appeared in 12 of 16 Super Bowl games.
In the AFC South, the Indianapolis Colts have appeared in two Super Bowls since 2003.
How To Make Money On AFC Betting
The New England Patriots may be a powerhouse in terms of Super Bowl success, but they aren’t a powerhouse in terms of the wagering public, losing outright or failing to cover in five of seven Super Bowls in which they were listed as the favorite.
New England hasn’t fared much better in AFC Championship Games. In the last six AFC title contests in which they were favored, the Patriots covered twice, failed to cover twice and lost outright twice.
The Oakland Raiders played in six of the first eight AFC Championship Games, went 1-5 and twice lost outright as a betting favorite. The Miami Dolphins won three straight AFC titles between 1972-74 and covered the spread as favorites in each game.
The Buffalo Bills are the only team to win four straight AFC titles. Favored in all four games, they covered in three of them. The Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans are the only franchise to play in as many as four AFC Championship Games without ever enjoying home field advantage or favorite status. They won 33-14 at Jacksonville in 1999-2000 as a seven-point underdog for their only Super Bowl appearance.
Be wary when the oddsmakers offer a double-digit spread on the AFC Championship. Traditionally this has proven to be a favorites’ graveyard. In 1992, Buffalo was an 11-point pick over Denver and won 10-7. Pittsburgh was a 12-point choice over Indianapolis in 1995-96 but won just 20-16. The Steelers were a 10-point choice against New England in 2001-02 and lost outright 24-17. And New England was a 14-point choice over San Diego in 2007-08 and carried the day, but only by a 21-12 count.