The NFL season is still months away, and the football-hungry media has been forced to feed off the draft and New England Patriots scandal over the last few weeks. For bettors, however, it is never too early to begin thinking about next season's wagers and where the value might lie for certain teams. The 2015 NFL schedule has already been released, so we might as well take a closer look at the AFC West, go over important games and make a few predictions for the upcoming season. All odds come from Bovada.
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Super Bowl Odds: +1200
AFC West Odds: -200
Games of Consequence : Week 1 against Baltimore; Week 2 at Kansas City; Week 8 against Green Bay; Week 9 at Indianapolis; Week 12 against New England; Week 13 at San Diego; Week 16 against Cincinnati
Denver has a few marquee matchups on its schedule with dates against Green Bay, Indianapolis and New England during the middle of the year. Peyton Manning ended 2014 with another disappointing playoff loss and an injured quad, which limited his mobility against the Colts. Manning has always been absolute gold during the regular season, and there is little reason to suspect that things will change this year-even if there was a coaching change during the offseason. Expect Denver to be a solid regular-season team.
Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl Odds: +3300
AFC West Odds: +350
Games of Consequence : Week 2 against Denver; Week 3 against Green Bay; Week 7 against Pittsburgh; Weeks 10 and 11 at Denver and San Diego; Week 15 at Baltimore
Kansas City is beginning its third year as a semi contender, and with the Broncos adjusting to a new coaching staff and an aging Manning at quarterback, now may be the time for the Chiefs to finally capture the division crown. Defense has been coach Andy Reid's calling card, and nothing will change on that front heading into 2015. The team's schedule is manageable to say the least, and outside of road matchups against Green Bay and Denver, every single game is winnable,
Prediction : 11-5, division champions.
San Diego Chargers
Super Bowl Odds: +5000
AFC West Odds: +500
Games of Consequence : Week 2 at Cincinnati; Week 5 against Pittsburgh; Week 6 at Green Bay; Week 8 at Baltimore; Week 11 and 13 against Kanas City and Denver; Week 14 at Kansas City; Week 17 at Denver
San Diego filled many roster gaps during the draft and picked up a solid running back, who the organization is hoping can help take some of the load off Philip Rivers on offense. Most NFL experts are projecting San Diego to be third in the division, and it's difficult to disagree with them. The Chargers continue to put out a talented, yet flawed and inconsistent unit on the field every Sunday, which leads to the team almost making the playoffs but falling short. Don't expect the formula to change too much during 2015.
Prediction : 9-7
Super Bowl Odds: +6600
AFC West Odds: +1800
Games of Consequence : Weeks 1 and 2 against Cincinnati and Baltimore; Week 5 against Denver; Week 7 at San Diego; Week 13 to 17 against Kansas City, at Denver, against Green Bay, against San Diego and at Kansas City.
Oakland has a surprisingly brutal schedule, and the team might not win a single game after Week 12. The Raiders, however, picked up some talent during the draft and should be able to win more than three games and top last year's horrid season that saw the squad lose its first 10 games. Weeks 3 and 4 at Cleveland and Chicago could turn into victories for Oakland.
Prediction : 5-11
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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