NFL Futures: 2022 AFC West Betting Preview, Computer Picks and AnalysisAug 18, 2022, 8:39PM
The Kansas City Chiefs have won the AFC West six years in a row, but this is now the most talented division in the NFL and they'll really have to work for it this season. The team with the worst odds to win this division is the Las Vegas Raiders, who added star wideout Davante Adams to a team that was already in the playoffs a year ago. That should give you an idea of how stacked this group of teams is, and that will undoubtedly make this one of the most interesting NFL divisions to bet on.
With so many teams that realistically have a shot at winning this one, we'll do our best to break down everything in our AFC West betting preview, picks and analysis. Make sure you keep reading to find out who we're backing in this division. And if you're a new customer, you might want to grab this DraftKings offer to bet $5 on the NFL and get $200 free ➡️ here ⬅️. Free bets are perfect for betting on futures, as you can cash in big without having to risk anything.
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AFC West Betting Preview, Picks and Analysis
Kansas City Chiefs
NFL Week 1 2022: Chiefs vs. Cardinals
The Chiefs no longer have Tyreek Hill, who they traded to the Miami Dolphins during the offseason. Kansas City did, however, bring in JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore (a 2022 NFL Draft pick). The Chiefs are hoping that this retooled supporting cast will allow Patrick Mahomes to continue to put up astronomical passing numbers. The reality is that this offense is going to be a juggernaut as long as Mahomes and Travis Kelce are in place — especially with Andy Reid calling the shots.
Kansas City also did quite a bit to add to its defense, as the team brought in Justin Reid at safety, while also adding cornerback Trent McDuffie, defensive end George Karlaftis and safety Bryan Cook in the draft. The Chiefs undoubtedly brought in a lot of talent, but relying on so many youngsters might limit the team's upside this year.
There are a lot of moving parts in Kansas City and it's just hard to trust that all of them will come together to make up a legitimate Super Bowl 57 contender. The Chiefs have more holes than the rest of the league's elite teams, but it's still impossible to rule them out as potential champions. They are the favorites to win this division despite all of their changes.
Verdict: The DimersBOT gives Kansas City a 38.3% chance of winning this division — and a 6.5% chance of winning the Super Bowl. That suggests that the model isn't as high on the Chiefs as the public might be, but it is obviously still aware that this is the favorite to win this division. Still, at these odds, you might be better off taking a shot on an up-and-coming team.
Los Angeles Chargers
NFL Week 1 2022: Raiders vs. Chargers
The Chargers needed to address their defense in the offseason and they did that in a big way. Los Angeles traded for Khalil Mack to team up with Joey Bosa and form one of the best pass-rushing duos in football. Getting after the quarterback is one way to make life easier on a mediocre secondary, but the Chargers also brought in cornerback J.C. Jackson to significantly boost that group as well. Los Angeles is now set up a lot better to slow down some of the AFC's most lethal passing offenses.
Los Angeles is clearly going to be dangerous on the offensive side of the ball again. Justin Herbert looks like he has the potential to be the best quarterback in football one day, and he has Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, two excellent wideouts, to throw to. Austin Ekeler is also a great receiver out of the backfield, and he'll continue to be one of the most versatile running backs in the league.
If the Chargers can start to do a better job of winning close games, they have the potential to achieve anything. But we'll need to see it to believe it, as last year was supposed to be a breakout year for Los Angeles and that wasn't the case.
Verdict: Our model gives the Chargers a 28.0% chance of winning the AFC West, but the payout on this might not be good enough to justify backing them over the Chiefs. Los Angeles is clearly knocking on the door of Super Bowl contention, but perhaps it'll take a little longer for this group to fully see out its potential.
NFL Week 1 2022: Broncos vs. Seahawks
The Broncos thought they were a quarterback away from taking a huge step forward, so they went out and got themselves a good one: Russell Wilson. A nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion, Wilson instantly upgrades an offense that has been dying for competent play under center. Now, people around the league will finally see how good Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy can be. And Denver already has a great running back tandem in Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos brought in pass rusher Randy Gregory and defensive tackle D.J. Jones as the headliners of their free agent class. The team made some other moves on the fringes, while also adding linebacker Nik Bonitto in the NFL Draft. Denver needed to add some guys that can get to the passer and also clog the run, so the team did a nice job there. The Broncos should have a good secondary already, so this defense has a chance at being above-average this season.
If everything comes together, Denver has the potential to win this division and possibly go on to do a lot more. But Wilson might need some time to get acclimated to a new system, and that's especially true of the quick-strike offense that Nathaniel Hackett wants to employ. Wilson likes to use his legs to improvise and hasn't exactly been in a situation where he's being asked to make quick reads. It took Aaron Rodgers some time to make that transition in Green Bay, but he eventually learned to love it.
Verdict: A pretty good argument can be made that the Broncos should be the pick to win the division. The DimersBOT give Denver a 22.7% chance of winning it, but this team has a lot more potential than meets the eye. If Wilson can quickly adapt to a new offensive system, the Broncos can do special things. Playing home games in Denver is a pretty big advantage.
Las Vegas Raiders
NFL Week 1 2022: Raiders vs. Chargers
Our model isn't as high on the Raiders as it is on other teams in this division, but that doesn't mean our data scientists can't see this team winning the AFC West. Las Vegas might be last of the four, but it still has a decent shot at pulling this off. Last year, the Raiders made the playoffs in what was an insane season on and off the field for them. Dealing with that adversity will only make the group stronger, and so will the acquisition of Davante Adams. Adams gives Derek Carr a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and he'll tilt the coverage of opposing defenses in a way that allows Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller to feast.
The Raiders also brought in Chandler Jones to team up with Maxx Crosby in an elite pass-rushing duo. If the Las Vegas secondary holds up, the Raiders can easily make a push for the division.
Another leap from Carr would also help, as he was signed to a big extension in the offseason. He has been a solid quarterback for Vegas in his career, but should be capable of doing more with these weapons. Perhaps Josh McDaniels, a great offensive coach, will get the most out of him.
Verdict: The Raiders might have the worst shot at winning this division in the eyes of DimersBOT, but it's just hard to not be tempted by Las Vegas at these odds. Does that much really separate the Chiefs and Raiders right now? Josh McDaniels' team has some of the best weapons in football, and the pass-rushing duo of Crosby and Jones is nightmare fuel for opposing quarterbacks. Consider this our pick to get the job done.