DraftKings Sportsbook has gone ahead and released the odds to win each NFL division in 2020. With free agency and the draft still to come, betting on division winners now gives us some room to potentially find some value. With a combination of looking back at 2019, and projecting for 2020, here’s where the potential value lies in the AFC West for the upcoming season.
Kansas City Chiefs (-500)
The Chiefs took care of business in the AFC West in 2019, taking the division thanks to a 12-4 record to earn a No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Kansas City swept the division, finishing five games ahead of the second place Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders at 7-9 with the Los Angeles Charger trailing at 5-11. The Chiefs clinched the AFC West title in early December. Kansas City went into the playoffs with a first round bye and came from behind by 10 or more points in each of their three playoff wins for the Super Bowl title.
Outside of an injury to Patrick Mahomes, it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs not being a Super Bowl contender on a regular basis as they are big favorites to win the AFC West. No quarterback has better playmakers to go to than Mahomes, and Andy Reid is among the best there is from an offensive standpoint. The -500 bet for the Chiefs to win the AFC West is a safe one, but one injury could lead to a betting loss and even with a win, you probably won’t net that much money.
Las Vegas Raiders (+900)
The Raiders are headed to Las Vegas and find themselves in a distant second place for odds to win the AFC West. It was certainly an interesting start to the 2019 season with the Antonio Brown saga as he was released despite not playing a single snap. Playing in Oakland last season, the Raiders missed out on the playoffs with a 7-9 season. They finished 3-3 against the division last season.
Derek Carr put together a decent season with 4,054 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, eight interceptions and completed over 70% of his passes. Oakland finished in the middle of the pack in offensive and defensive statistics. I expect that to remain the same in 2020. We’ll see what happens during the draft and free agency, but the odds the Raiders come out and take the division championship away from the Chiefs is hard to see happening.
Denver Broncos (+1000)
The Broncos enter the 2020 offseason in third place for odds to win the AFC West. Denver is coming off a 7-9 season in which they finished 4-2 in the division, sweeping the Chargers and Raiders but losing both games to the Chiefs. Joe Flacco entered last season running the offense, but the team struggled and a neck injury ended his season. Rookie quarterback Drew Lock stepped in and guided Denver to a 4-1 end to the regular season, sending promise to the future of the franchise.
With Lock as the undoubted starter of this team, it’s hard to set expectations. On one hand, Lock showed flashes in the 2019 season, but we see the sophomore slump with quarterbacks as defensive coordinators begin to figure them out. With such high odds, Denver might be worth a gamble, but this is by far the Chiefs division to lose.
Los Angeles Chargers (+1100)
The Los Angeles Chargers finished at 5-11 in 2019, taking themselves out of playoff contention early, especially after losing all six games in the division. For the last several years, Los Angeles struggled mightily to win the close games, and it became comical the many ways they would end up losing in heartbreaking fashion. You’ve got to feel bad for fan bases like that.
There are some big questions at the quarterback spot heading into 2020 as Philip Rivers will not be playing quarterback for the Chargers next season. It’s possible Los Angeles goes into the draft to make some noise, but this is an absolutely loaded free agency class of quarterbacks coming up this offseason. Maybe the Chargers make a run at Tom Brady? It’s unlikely, but Los Angeles might be worth a flyer considering it will have an easier schedule than most and maybe a quarterback comes in and does some damage in the AFC West.
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN) or 1-800-522-4700 (NH). NH/NJ/WV/IN/PA only. 21+ (18+ NH). Eligibility Restrictions Apply. See website for details.