The AFC West should be one of the most interesting and competitive divisions in football. Patrick Mahomes and company have dominated the division since 2018, but the presence of Justin Herbert means that Kansas City has its hardest fight yet for the division crown. Even with the NFL Draft still to come, betting sites like DraftKings have released their AFC West odds for the upcoming season. Obviously, a lot will change between now and Week 1, but it’s never too early to see what the oddsmakers expect in the coming season.
AFC West Odds By Team
Kansas City Chiefs (– 400)
After making it to the last two Super Bowls while winning it all in 2019, the Kansas City Chiefs deserve to be the AFC West favorites. Patrick Mahomes is a freak of nature, Andy Reid is a top-three head coach, and superstars Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are still here and in the prime of their career. I expected them to have the best odds of winning it all, but I’m surprised that the gap is this large.
For the past three seasons, Kansas City has the easy job of building around an elite quarterback on a rookie deal. That window is officially closed, and the rest of the roster is worse because of it. The Chiefs have a terrible duo of starting tackles and don’t have much pass-catching depth beyond Hill and Kelce. Ultimately, this is a top-heavy team that might not be able to make it if they sustain an injury to any of their three or four most important players.
Los Angeles Chargers (+450)
At this time a year ago, people were questioning whether or not Justin Herbert was worth a first-round pick. Despite this, the Chargers took the Oregon product with the sixth-overall pick, and he spent the entirety of his rookie season proving the doubters wrong. Herbert was easily the best of the rookie quarterbacks, and should only improve with a full season under his belt.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are one of the better receiver duos in the league, the defense has boatloads of talent, and Brandon Staley should be an upgrade on Anthony Lynn. The offensive line is still a hot mess, but it is not hard to envision a world where Los Angeles takes down Kansas City. Given the odds, I’d be willing to throw a little money on this wager.
Denver Broncos (+1500)
If you took away the quarterback position, the Denver Broncos would have one of the most complete and well-rounded rosters in the league. It’s hard to think of a better top-to-bottom supporting cast than Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and KJ Hamler, and the defense has the pieces to be a top-10 unit.
However, the quarterback position is a massive question mark, and it’s the most important part of the game. Drew Lock has his moments of gold, but the vast majority of his NFL tape leaves a lot to be desired. While there is a chance he has a third-year leap similar to Josh Allen, it’s not very likely. Unless Denver brings in some real competition, I won’t be betting on the Broncos overtaking the Chiefs or Chargers in 2021.
Las Vegas Raiders (+1500)
Derek Carr has quietly been one of the most effective passers in football the last two years, but it won’t really matter. The Las Vegas Raiders have done a terrible job making the most of their exorbitant draft capital, and the team has an absolute lack of talent at just about every position. The defense is terrible, the offensive line is gutted, and Darren Waller is the only reliable weapon to speak of. As things currently stand, it’s far more likely the Raiders finish the season with a top-10 pick than a spot atop the AFC West.
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