The AFC West Future NFL Odds shows that this division is, seemingly, wide open. However, that’s not how the odds makers look at it. Here is an updated look at these enticing odds.
Denver Broncos (+175 AFC West, +700 AFC)
The defending Super Bowl champions have some of the biggest differences across the sportsbook betting markets for their future odds this offseason. For the AFC West, they are anywhere from +150 to +180 to win the AFC West, and in the AFC you can get them as high as 9/1 from Ladbrokes, or down to 6/1 at 888Sport. Needless to say, the Broncos are still a very good team, but questions about the quarterback position reign over this team now that Peyton Manning has ridden into the sunset.
The Broncos do have Mark Sanchez now in the fold, and with how badly Manning and Brock Osweiler performed at times last season, they may be better at that position this season compared to last. However, they did lose a handful of good players, including Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan and Evan Mathis. However, Russell Okung is now in at left tackle, which is an upgrade from the rotation mess the Broncos were dealing with at that position last season.
All in all, the Broncos may be just as good on defense this season, and a lot better on offense if the Sanchise comes to play. However, it might be rough going to start the season, so don’t unload your bankroll on the Broncos to repeat as AFC champs just yet.
Kansas City Chiefs (+200 AFC West, +1100 AFC)
My NFL pick to win the division this season is the Kansas City Chiefs. At 2/1, they have a great shot at coming through with a division-winning season if everyone stays healthy (+400 at BetOnline). They have a solid offensive attack with Jamaal Charles coming back and after missing half of last season, and while Justin Houston may be out for most of the year, they brought back Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, and Tamba Hali to give their defense a veteran presence.
The Chiefs’ offense is where things get tricky. If they can get by with Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce as their only two real passing options, then they can win this division. Remember, they won 11 games last season after losing both Houston and Charles for the season. It’s a bit of a risk, but the Chiefs have very few weaknesses, especially if they can develop another pass-catching threat.
Oakland Raiders (+300 AFC West, +2000 AFC)
The Raiders are one of the most interesting teams this offseason, especially when it comes to their future odds. Could this be the season the Raiders finish above .500 since 2002? A lot of people think it could happen. Their season wins total is eight, but in a division with both the Chiefs and Broncos still way ahead of them, they may have to settle for battling for a wild card slot. However, that isn’t too far outside the realm of possibility.
The Raiders have a great young offense led by Derek Carr. Their two receivers were outstanding last season, and they spent the offseason beefing up their defense with guys like Reggie Nelson, Sean Smith, and Karl Joseph. They have upgraded their offensive line, and while I am a big Latavius Murray fan, if their young running back can stay healthy and average more than four yards per carry, this team has what it takes to make the playoffs (+8000 to win AFC, at SportsBetting.) Will an 8-8 record get them there? Probably not. However, 9-7 might do the job, and the Raiders could get to that mark with another solid offensive season and a much-improved defense in 2016.
San Diego Chargers (+600 AFC West, +3300 AFC)
?Coming in at the final slot in the AFC West futures is the Chargers. San Diego had a nice offseason by all means. They have spent the offseason beefing up their defense, which started with drafting pass-rusher, Joey Bosa third overall in the draft. They also brought in Brandon Mebane, Casey Hayward, and Dwight Lowery.
However, they lost out on Eric Weddle, who was a mainstay in the Chargers secondary for years, which is going to hurt this next season. On offense, they did improve their offensive line, but their offense is still a little questionable. Outside of Keenan Allen, their pass catching options are subpar at best, and while that hasn’t stopped Phillip Rivers before, if Allen goes down the Chargers offense might go with it. No player is more important to the Chargers other than Rivers, and after a disappointing rookie campaign from Melvin Gordon, the Chargers might be looking at another season of, well below .500 football, especially in a division where the other three teams are miles ahead of them at this point.