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Odds to Win the AFC West: Who’s Undervalued and Who’s a Ripoff?

The Kansas City Chiefs are the odds-on favorite to win their fourth consecutive AFC West title, sitting at -155 at the time of this article.

The Chiefs actually finished tied with the LA Chargers atop the division with identical 12-4 records last season, but KC got the nod with a better divisional record. LA comes in second on this year’s odds list at +195 with Oakland and Denver well back at +1100 and +1200 respectively.

So those are the odds, but what’s the smartest bet to make when it comes to the AFC West futures market? Let’s take a look at the teams:

Read more on the betting odds to win the AFC East, AFC South and AFC North

Kansas City Chiefs (-155)

Obviously, there’s not much value in taking a -155 favorite in the futures market at any time. But as Joe Osborne likes to say, there’s no value in picking a loser either. So, are the Chiefs actually a runaway favorite for the division at this time? I’m not so sure.

Patrick Mahomes returns under center with his gunslinger’s arm on the heels of 50 touchdowns last season, just five shy of Peyton Manning’s record. Mahomes joins Manning and Tom Brady (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks to throw 50 touchdown passes in a single season.

Andy Reid’s offense is without an established run threat as Damien Williams lines up as the No. 1 RB on the depth chart. In three regular-season starts last year, Williams put up 49, 51 and 103 yards after the Kareem Hunt suspension.

Williams had 129 yards in the playoff win over the Colts but was held to just 30 rushing yards in the playoff loss to the Patriots.

Additionally, the status of Tyreek Hill is unknown entering training camp. He could very well face a suspension of multiple games as he is also dealing with a domestic violence allegation.

Add in that the Chiefs allowed the second-most yards against on defense last year and they have the No. 5 strength of schedule in the NFL, and I’m not sure that I’m laying -155 here at all.

LA Chargers (+195)

The Chargers gained valuable experience in a 41-28 playoff loss to New England in the AFC divisional playoffs and will be looking to build off last year’s success that included wins at both Seattle and KC.

Anthony Lynn will return Philip Rivers at quarterback along with Melvin Gordon in the No. 1 RB slot. Keenan Allen will once again be Rivers’ top target at wide receiver, although the depth does fall off a little after that. Mike Williams will be looking to build off his first full NFL season and will be an X factor in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.

The Chargers’ strength of schedule is right around the middle of the pack with the teams they play having a combined 127-126-3 record last season. They have winnable games at Detroit, Miami, Jacksonville and Tennessee on the schedule and I think that puts them as my favorite to win the division.

Oakland Raiders (+1100)

I think this number is a little too high for Jon Gruden’s squad and I think it will bring in some bets from bettors looking for value on the lovable losers in Oakland. Once again, they will play their games in venerable Alameda County Coliseum under the watch of Mount Davis as the franchise awaits a move to Las Vegas next season.

The Raiders will have a revamped roster in 2019, led by the acquisition of one of the best receivers to ever play the position in Antonio Brown. The team added even more personalities with Richie Incognito and Vontaze Burfict.

There’s a lot more talent on the team this year but the potential for combustibility is at an amazingly high level.

Oakland added four players from the College Football Playoff National Championship in the draft: No. 4 Clelin Ferrell (DE, Clemson), No. 24 Josh Jacobs (RB, Alabama), No. 40 Trayvon Mullen (CB, Clemson) and No. 149 Hunter Renfrow (WR, Clemson). Expect Ferrell to open the season as a starter with the rest of the guys pushing for starting minutes.

The Raiders might be worth a sprinkle at +1100.

Denver Broncos (+1200)

Do not bet on the Denver Broncos to win the AFC West. Donate the money to underprivileged children instead.

Joe Flacco may be an upgrade over Case Keenum, but he’s not bringing this team to the playoffs. Additionally, it remains to be seen if Phillip Lindsay’s return from a season-ending wrist injury goes smoothly.  

The undrafted NFL sophomore will need to be his team’s best offensive player, which is asking a lot of a guy who missed most of his offseason training time while rehabbing from surgery. Additionally, teams will be game-planning a lot harder for him in 2019 instead of getting surprised by his speed and explosiveness.

Odds to win the 2019 AFC West
Kansas City Chiefs-155
Los Angeles Chargers+195
Oakland Raiders+1100
Denver Broncos+1200

Odds as of July 11 at Bovada