NFL Handicapping: The AFC West
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NFL Handicapping Insight
The AFC West is again poised to be a two-horse race, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers set to do battle in one of the more entertaining competitions for a division crown in football, while the Oakland Raiders are in the midst of a full-on rebuild, and the Denver Broncos are caught somewhere in the middle.
2019 AFC West Predictions: Denver Broncos
Broncos Odds to Win 2019 Super Bowl: +6500
Broncos Odds to Win 2019 AFC Conference: +3000
Broncos Odds to Win 2019 AFC West Division: +700
Entering this season, all the attention on the Broncos is being paid to a pair of veterans: new quarterback Joe Flacco, and new head coach Vic Fangio. Flacco’s best years are behind him, and he became expendable in Baltimore after rookie Lamar Jackson successfully stepped in replacing an injured Flacco. Fangio is going into his first year as a head coach at the age of 61. He’ll be immediately tasked with getting the team’s defense back to the elite ranks.
The Broncos seem to think they’re still in a position to contend, but it feels like Bronco fans have been set up for another disappointing year. They should be avoided on all future bets.
2019 AFC West Predictions: Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers Odds to Win 2019 Super Bowl: +1500
Chargers Odds to Win 2019 AFC Conference: +800
Chargers Odds to Win 2019 AFC West Division: +180
The Chargers are that classic “bridesmaid but never the bride” team. Every year they appear to have everything in order to take the next step, but every year ends in disappointment. And they’re not doing themselves any favors by letting Melvin Gordon miss training camp and letting that carry over into the preseason because of a contract dispute.
The offensive line is a problem seemingly every year for the Chargers, with the focus on right tackle this season, and they’ll need that to shake out favourably to hang on to their label as Super Bowl contenders. With a stacked roster, expectations are once again high for the Chargers.
2019 AFC West Predictions: Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs Odds to Win 2019 Super Bowl: +850
Chiefs Odds to Win 2019 AFC Conference: +575
Chiefs Odds to Win 2019 AFC West Division: -150
It wasn’t that long ago that the Chiefs had a lot of question marks surrounding them after trading away Alex Smith and handing the keys to the offense over to Patrick Mahomes. Well, Mahomes took the job and ran with it, earning MVP honors last season. While some regression is surely in order for him, he’ll be throwing to one of the most talented pass-catching groups in all of football, so even with some inevitable regression to his numbers, he’ll remain one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.
On the defensive side, they shook up their pass rush, but that group will again need to be carried by the offense. But as we saw last year, that’s something this team can get away with. They’re among the favorites to win the Super Bowl, and rightfully so.
2019 AFC West Predictions: Oakland Raiders
Raiders Odds to Win 2019 Super Bowl: +10000
Raiders Odds to Win 2019 AFC Conference: +5000
Raiders Odds to Win 2019 AFC West Division: +2000
It’s easier to say the Raiders are in a rebuild than it is to say that about the Broncos, but the Raiders also seem to have some thoughts in their minds about being able to compete this season, as evident by the additions of Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict, Brandon Marshall, and even Josh Jacobs.
The Raiders could surprise and surpass the Broncos in the West, but competing with the likes of the Chargers and Chiefs seems like a pipe dream, not realistic even in the deepest depths of the mind of Jon Gruden.
Cappers Picks 2019 AFC West Predictions
While the Chiefs have to take some sort of hit this season as regression occurs, they’re still the class of the AFC West, and the Chargers haven’t done themselves any favors in their efforts to bridge the gap by letting the Melvin Gordon dispute linger.
Looking at the futures board, there’s not a lot of value in the Chiefs winning the division, and it may be worth a sprinkle on the Chargers at their current price given where the teams finished a year ago, while the Broncos and Raiders should be avoided.
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