The Kansas City Chiefs have dominated the AFC West since 2015, winning six straight titles with two different quarterbacks at the helm – Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes. The former accounted for the first two and the latter for the last four in a row.
This season things look different. They’re shaping up to be a lot tougher for Kansas City, No division has bolstered its ranks quite like the AFC West and that is being reflected in the NFL betting markets.
The Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos have emerged as the biggest threats to the Chiefs according to the oddsmakers, while the Las Vegas Raiders are also in contention, albeit at double the NFL odds.
Will the Chiefs win a seventh straight title? Will the Chargers or the Broncos break through instead? Or will the Raiders surprise?
Find out as we weigh in the AFC West odds and serve up some way too early thoughts.
BetUS Odds to Win AFC West
- Kansas City Chiefs +150
- Los Angeles Chargers +250
- Denver Broncos +250
- Las Vegas Raiders +550
Kansas City Chiefs +150
While their rivals were bringing in talent, the Kansas City Chiefs traded one of their most prolific players, Tyreek Hill in the offseason. It was an eyebrow-raising move but one that probably made financial sense.
Losing Hill will have an impact. Certainly, it diminishes the Chiefs’ offense on paper. Tyrann Mathieu was another to go through the Exit Door this offseason – a loss that will impact the defense for sure.
However, the Chiefs still have Mahomes – one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the game. They have the coaching genius of Andy Reid, the offensive guru, Eric Bieniemy, and tight end Travis Kelce, among other players.
On the flip side, they welcomed promising new talent. Brought in WR Juju Smith-Schuster and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling and CB Lonnie Johnson. So, all in all, there’s still a lot to be confident about in Kansas City.
Our new rooks got to experience some of that midwest hospitality at the Meet the Rookies season ticket member event! pic.twitter.com/pPi2K1Pedq
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) June 9, 2022
It’s a brand new season. A fresh start for the new-look Chiefs, who remain the favorites in the division and amongst the top favorites in the conference and Super Bowl 57. They have the fifth-toughest schedule in the league as per NFL Strength of Schedule rankings. But that hasn’t detracted from their favor in any of the top NFL betting markets.
Los Angeles Chargers +250
The Los Angeles Chargers were one win away from the playoffs, but they blew it in an overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. And so ended head coach Brandon Staley’s first season.
The Chargers have had a lot of time to stew on that bitter disappointment. Not to mention examining their entire campaign in order to determine where it all went wrong and make the necessary improvements.
One area that they focused heavily on is the secondary. They traded for Khalil Mack, re-signed Mike Williams, and penned a deal with J.C. Jackson to bolster their secondary. Add to that a third-year quarterback in Justin Herbert who has captured the imagination of NFL fans…and there’s a lot to be excited about in L.A.
Clearly, the AFC West odds agree because the Chargers are tipped as the second-best bet in the division.
The Chargers have the 10th toughest schedule in the league. Their schedule is easier than both the Chiefs’ and Raiders’ schedules. That could be one advantage that they capitalize on to give Kansas City a run for its money.
Denver Broncos +250
The Russell Wilson trade was this year’s blockbuster, extending a burgeoning new trend where franchises turn to veteran signal-callers. That trend began two years ago when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers snapped up Tom Brady and went on to win Super Bowl 55.
Last year, it featured Matthew Stafford going to the Rams. And they too went on to win Super Bowl 56.
Fun fact: Wilson attended both of these Super Bowl games. He was sitting next to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as he watched his counterparts win the ultimate prize in their first year with a new team.
Russell Wilson was the only reason why Seattle has been relevant for the past few years. He's gonna have a Brady-like effect on the Broncos. People are sleeping heavy pic.twitter.com/v5jpsiAmPh
— 🅿️laiboi🅿️ (@blakebooming) June 10, 2022
Wilson’s move to the Denver Broncos is largely about winning another Super Bowl. He’s clearly hoping to emulate what Brady and Stafford did. Certainly, the Broncos share those same hopes and the oddsmakers are feeling optimistic about it, too.
If there’s one difference between Denver and both Tampa Bay and Los Angeles, it’s that their organizations weren’t in the midst of wholesale changes. All the foundations of these organizations were in place from the coaching staff to the roster. The only missing piece was the quarterback.
This isn’t the case in Denver. That’s why it might make things tricky for Wilson. He is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, so his pedigree isn’t in question. However, with a new coaching staff and various moving parts on the roster and within the organization, there are bound to be growing pains.
Take a Look at the AFC South & AFC East Divisions Reviews
Las Vegas Raiders +550
The oddsmakers aren’t high on the Las Vegas Raiders, despite coaxing one of the best wide receivers in the game, Davante Adams, to join their ranks. As things currently stand, the Raiders are projected to finish at the bottom of the pile. That’s quite a heavy indictment by the books.
There’s a lot we don’t know about the new-look Raiders. On one hand, they are stacked on the offensive side of the ball, especially with a scintillating trio of pass-catchers in Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrew. But Derek Carr is still their quarterback and he can blow hot and cold.
The new coaching staff spearheaded by Josh McDaniels is a sticking point. McDaniels enjoyed immeasurable success with the Patriots, and his experience working with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady is going to be invaluable.
However, this is the third time the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator has taken a head coaching job. Previously, he had a short, disastrous run with Denver and years later took the Indianapolis Colts job. But he begged out of it pretty quickly.
This time it would appear that he means to go through with it. How it goes is anybody’s guess though. It could go either way. He could lead the Raiders to the top or lead them to the bottom.
One thing we do know, it’s that he won’t have an easy time of it either way. The NFL has given the Raiders the seventh toughest NFL schedule. And on that score, it’s hard to be excited about their prospects of winning the division.