2014 Odds to Win AFC West with Picks and NFL Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 6/11/2014
The NFL offseason continues to grind along with rookie minicamps and OTAs (organized training activities), but before you know it, the start of another exciting season of NFL action will be upon us. To get you ready for all the action, I am going to take a closer look at BetOnline's NFL futures odds to win each of the eight divisions, starting with the AFC West, with picks and predictions for betting.
Denver Broncos Odds to Win the AFC West -250
It's easy to see why Denver is such a prohibitive favorite to win this division for the fourth straight season when you consider that this team has been opened as a +225 favorite to win the entire AFC and return to the Super Bowl.
It all starts on the offensive side of the ball with future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning running the show. After last season's disappointing performance in Super Bowl XLVIII when the entire team came up flat in a 43-8 loss to Seattle as a two-point favorite, the motivation remains strong to win it all this year. The Broncos have added some veteran help to get back to the big game in players such as DeMarcus Ware on defense and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders as another weapon in the passing game, but it will still be up to Manning to get it done.
Kansas City Chiefs Odds to Win the AFC West +450
Kansas City's impressive run from worst to almost first in the division last season has fueled speculation that Andy Reid can get this team to top of the AFC West standings in 2014. The odds could be stacked against him with a projected win total of eight games after going 11-5 last season.
The one thing we know for sure is that the Chiefs are not going to sneak up on anyone this year after winning just two games in 2012. This team remains loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, but Reid still has to rely on quarterback Alex Smith to do the one thing they could not do last year: beat Denver. Kansas City actually ended up just 2-4 in division play. The loss of offensive tackle Branden Albert to free agency will not help Smith's cause.
San Diego Chargers Odds to Win the AFC West +500
The resurgent Chargers returned to the playoffs last season as a wild card team with a record of 9-7 after a three-year hiatus, but they could be in the same boat as the Chiefs as far as claiming the division title this time around with a projected win total of eight games as well.
I still believe this win total is a bit on the low side, and San Diego did earn a split with Denver last season with each team winning at home, so there could be some solid value in its odds to win the West. The Chargers still have Philip Rivers at the helm as quarterback, and they are getting ready to unleash a fast-paced, up-temp offensive attack under new coordinator Frank Reich. However, to get past the Broncos they are going to have to tighten up a pass defense that was ranked 29th in the NFL last season in yards allowed.
Oakland Raiders Odds to Win the AFC West +1800
The Raiders have not had a winning record since they went to the Super Bowl in 2002, but optimism is running high that they have made the necessary offseason changes to join the rest of the division in the battle for this year's title Back-to-back 4-12 campaigns appear to paint a different picture, and a projected win total of five games is also working against their chances for a dramatic turnaround.
You still have to give Oakland credit for trying with the addition of cornerbacks' Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers from San Francisco to help bolster a defense that was ranked 28th in the league against the pass. The Raiders are also expecting big things from outside linebacker Khalil Mack as the fifth overall pick in this year's draft. I would be tempted to make a play on the "over 5 wins" at a favorable +120 moneyline, but I would definitely stay away from betting on a worst-to-first run to the top of this division no matter how much of a die-hard Raiders' fan you might be.
AFC West Picks and Predictions
The gap between the Broncos and the rest of the AFC West still remains far too wide to bet against Denver claiming its fourth straight division title. I see Kansas City taking a step backwards after overachieving in 2013, and while the Chargers do have a chance at keeping things interesting into the month of December, they will be hard pressed to match Denver's overall win total this season, which should be at least 11 games.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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