2019 AFC West Predictions and Expert NFL Betting Picks
The AFC West is going to be an extremely top-heavy division once again this year as the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers are the class of the division. The Chiefs come into this season as hot favorites to win the division for the fourth straight season, and with good reason. They have the reigning MVP, Patrick Mahomes, under center, and they have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce ready to put up solid numbers.
The Chargers are the only other team in the division that can end the Chiefs' reign atop the AFC West, but the value on the betting board simply isn't there. It's going to be a very high scoring division based on offensive capabilities and defensive woes (looking at you, Oakland), so if you follow any division closely, make sure it's this one.
As we kick off Week 2 of the preseason this week, I'll be taking you on a guided tour of each division to prep you on what to expect for the upcoming season. Keep in mind, injuries can occur at any moment to derail a season, so getting too hyped up on a division preview is never a good thing.
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Kansas City Chiefs
Season Win Total 10.5 (o +100)
AFC West Win Odds (-200)
It wouldn't be a "hot take" to say that regression is coming for the Kansas City Chiefs. I mean, did you see what Patrick Mahomes did last season and the numbers he put up? This year, while they have many of the same parts in place (minus Kareem Hunt), the law of averages suggests that Mahomes is set to come back to earth a bit. At least that's what I think.
As far as the division goes, the Chiefs are the clear choice to win the AFC West once again, and I wouldn't want to back any other team. The Broncos and Raiders are dumpster fires, while the Chargers always find a way to blow it. The only problem the Chiefs find themselves with is on the defensive side of the ball.
The defense was a mess at times last season, and the Chiefs took every chance they had in the offseason in hopes of correcting it. They signed defensive end Frank Clark to a five-year deal, and they also agreed to terms with Tyrann Mathieu on a three-year contract. If the defense can step up and be relatively average, the Chiefs will once again run away with the division even if the offense regresses a bit.
Los Angeles Chargers
Season Win Total 9.5 (o -140)
AFC West Win Odds (+200)
The Chargers are once again this year's "sexy pick" to win the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, it won't happen again for what seems like the 20 th season in a row, but hey, there is always next year. They also have a big problem with Melvin Gordon as the Wisconsin product is threatening to continue to hold out well into the regular season if he doesn't have a contract in place by the beginning of the season. This will be a big loss to a team that has an aging Philip Rivers under center and that lost one of their speedy receivers in the offseason to division rivals, Oakland.
The defense may need to carry this team as they have a slew of talent on that side of the ball, including Derwin James, Joey Bosa, and newly acquired Thomas Davis. Davis is going to add depth at the linebacker position and wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks. Not sold on this team as a division winner, but a playoff spot is very likely.
Season Win Total 8 (o +110)
AFC West Win Odds (+400)
It's been quite the fall from grace for the Broncos, who just four years ago were hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and bidding farewell to Peyton Manning.
Broncos' fans hope that this coming season will be the start of something wonderful as they have new faces on the coaching staff, with Vic Fangio taking over the head coaching position from the fired Vance Joseph. They have a new (old) quarterback in Joe Flacco, who is set to get the starting job based on merits and a running back tandem that could be extremely productive. The problem with the Broncos is that their offensive line remains in shambles and the schedule is among the toughest in the league.
They open up a trip to Oakland, followed by games vs. the Bears and Packers and then the Jaguars and Chargers. That looks like 1-4 at best. They also have to go to Indy, Minnesota, and Buffalo in a four-week span with a bye in the middle. The season wins total looks a tad high based on their schedule, so I'd side with the "under".
Season Win Total 6 (o +105)
AFC West Win Odds (+2000)
When I wrote about the Cleveland Browns, I called them must-see TV . The Oakland Raiders are in the same boat. They are a franchise with no real direction. And even with the return of Jon Gruden, the Raiders are still a circus for several reasons.
The Raiders improved their offense by adding Antonio Brown from the Steelers, but he's turning out to be more of a distraction than anything. The Raider also still employ Derek Carr, which is a downgrade from Big Ben, and so the hopes that Brown will produce as he did in Pittsburgh should be taken with a grain of salt. Defensively, the Raiders were among the worst teams last season, and they did very little to improve that unit. Imagine if they had a guy like Kalil Mack, who could be a dominant defensive player?
The city of Oakland and Raider Nation deserve better than what they are currently getting. Unfortunately, the potential last season in Oakland is going to be a miserable one.
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