2021 AFC West Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
The Kansas City Chiefs ran through the AFC West in 2020 as the only team to go above .500. With the rest of the division not being overly competitive last year, look for a dramatic improvement throughout the AFC West this year.
The Chiefs remain the obvious favorite going into the year, but I believe they will have some tough divisional matchups in 2021. The Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders are under tremendous pressure to perform, and coaches Vic Fangio (Broncos) and Jon Gruden (Raiders) have produced less than impressive resumes with their respected franchises so far.
The Los Angeles Chargers were fortunate in 2020 to find what seems to be a legit franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. After starting the year 2-7, the Chargers were one of the hottest teams coming down the stretch, winning four of their last five games. Justin Herbert also won AFC Rookie of the Year honors. This LA team has some expectations heading into the season.
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Losing superstar Von Miller was a big blow to the Denver Broncos in 2020. He has come out at training camp and said, “This is the best Broncos team I have seen in years”. The Broncos also took a drastic hit from Covid, because Empower Field at Mile High creates an atmosphere that is a tremendous benefit for the home team. The Broncos will be driven by a strong defensive effort and will benefit from a full stadium at Mile High. The biggest question mark for the Broncos will be around the quarterback position, as journeyman Teddy Bridgewater is duking it out with third year man Drew Lock. Both quarterbacks bring concern to the table if the Broncos are going to have a chance at winning the division or making the playoffs this season. At +600 to win the division, it is not a bet I would prioritize going into 2021. Look for the Broncos to be in the playoffs race but be on the outside looking in. If you want a prop bet involving the Broncos, -145 to not make playoffs is the bet I would make.
Key Additions/Re-Signings: S Justin Simmons, OLB Von Miller, CB Kyle Fuller, CB Ronald Darby, DE Shelby Harris, S Kareem Jackson, QB Teddy Bridgewater, CB Patrick Surtain II (Via Draft)
Key Departures: RB Phillip Lindsay, OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, OL Elijah Wilkinson, CB A.J Bouye
Super Bowl +4500
AFC West +600
To Make Playoffs +115
Not Make Playoffs -145
Win Total O/U 8.5 -120
Strength of schedule 2020 opponent win percentage: T27 .471 (127-142-2)
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are coming into 2021 with back-to-back AFC Championships and remain as the favorite to repeat for the third time. Having the best player in football with a star-studded roster around Patrick Mahomes is a combo that will be tough to beat. Although Kansas City might be the safest pick to win their division in all of football, it is not a pick that will yield a great return as a futures pick. At -250, you might want to use the Kansas City Chiefs as your pick to make it to the Super Bowl at +250.
Key Additions/Re-Signings: G Joe Thuney, G Kyle Long, Edge Taco Charlton, WR Demarcus Robinson, OT Mike Remmers, OL Andrew Wylie, DT Jarran Reed, S Daniel Sorensen, OT Orlando Brown Jr., C Austin Blythe, CB Mike Hughes
Key Departures: OT Eric Fisher, OT Mitchell Schwartz, RB Damien Williams, RB Anthony Sherman, WR Sammy Watkins, DL Tanoh Kpassagnon
Super Bowl +500
AFC West -250
To Make Playoffs -1000
Not Make Playoffs +600
Win Total O/U 12.5 +110
Strength of schedule 2020 opponent win percentage: T11 .511 (138-132-2)
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have a completely revamped coaching staff, a bolstered offensive line, and a top-tier quarterback to lead the offense. All signs point towards tremendous improvement in 2021. I believe the Chargers have the potential to challenge the Chiefs for a divisional championship and shock a lot of teams in the playoffs. With seven of the Chargers losses being within one score last season, their ability to close out games will be the difference-maker in 2021. A second year Justin Herbert with weapons like Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams surrounding him could make for one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL this season. I would not invest a lot of money, but at +550 it is a bet that I don’t see as far-fetched for the AFC West pendent. Look for the Chargers to be the most improved team in 2021.
Key Additions/Re-Signings: C Corey Linsley, TE Jared Cook, OT Matt Feiler, CB Michael Davis, CB Ryan Smith, OT Rashawn Slater (Via Draft), WR Josh Palmer (Via Draft)
Key Departures: TE Hunter Henry, LB Denzel Perryman, LB Nick Vigil, S Rayshawn Jenkins, G Dan Feeney, CB Casey Hayward, DE Melvin Ingram
Super Bowl +3000
AFC West +550
To Make Playoffs -105
Not Make Playoffs -125
Win Total O/U 9.5 +115
Strength of schedule 2020 opponent win percentage: T17 .493 (133-137-2)
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders had an offseason that was discouraging. They took no real steps forwards as an organization. In 2021, all signs point to the Raiders being consistently inconsistent. They will win some games they shouldn’t and also lose games where they are heavily favoured. The best way to describe the Raiders would be lack of collective identity. Three starting offensive linemen have left the team without significant upgrades being made to those spots. To add to the disappointment, the Raiders have a pass rush that has ranked 30th and below the past three seasons has seemingly made no improvements, either. Gruden will have to pull out some 2002 magic in order to get the Raiders into contention. The Raiders not making the playoffs at -500 is one of my favorite bets going into the season.
Key Additions/Re-Signings: WR John Brown, RB Kenyan Drake, Edge Yannick Ngakoue, DT Quinton Jefferson, G Richie Incognito, C Nick Martin, DL Solomon Thomas, DL Johnathan Hankins, WR Willie Snead IV, OL Alex Leatherwood (Via Draft)
Key Departures: OT Trent Brown, C Rodney Hudson, OL Gabe Jackson, WR Nelson Agholor, WR Tyrell Williams, DB Lamarcus Joyner, Edge Takkarist McKinley, S Erik Harris
Super Bowl +10000
AFC West +2200
To Make Playoffs +350
Not Make Playoffs -500
Win Total O/U 7 -115
Strength of schedule 2020 opponent win percentage: T8 .526 (142-128-2)
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