Football season is upon us, which means it’s time to start previewing some NFL odds from a DraftKings Sportsbook perspective. Below, I’ll break down the futures market for the four teams in the AFC West.
AFC Conference Odds: +600
AFC West Division Odds: +175
Team Win Total: 10.5
To Make Playoffs: -210
Week 1 Spread: -3.5 (at ARI)
MVP: Patrick Mahomes (+900)
OPOY: Patrick Mahomes (+2000)
OROY: Skyy Moore (+1200)
DROY: Trent McDuffie (+1600) & George Karlaftis (+1600)
The Chiefs had their strangest season in recent memory in 2021, getting out to an extremely tumultuous start with just three wins in their first seven games. Patrick Mahomes went through some uncharacteristic struggles and the offense underperformed to a significant degree but they eventually turned it around and wound up following that start with an eight-game winning streak. The Chiefs’ offense carried their momentum into the playoffs and scored 42 points in each of their first two playoff games, but they ultimately wound up losing 27-24 in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship.
The big news of the 2022 offseason in Kansas City was Tyreek Hill, who was traded to Miami after contract negotiations reached a point of no return. Hill has been among the NFL’s best wide receivers and it’ll be extremely difficult for the Chiefs to replace him, though they still have superstar tight end Travis Kelce. The team also received several draft picks in the trade and made a few potentially impactful free agent signings, so while some offensive drop-off is likely, the defense may be able to make up a lot of the difference. The Chiefs used two first round picks on defense in selecting Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis and they enter the season as two of the favorites for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
AFC Conference Odds: +750
AFC West Division Odds: +220
Team Win Total: 10
To Make Playoffs: -200
Week 1 Spread: -3.5 (vs LV)
MVP: Justin Herbert (+900)
OPOY: Justin Herbert (+2000)
DPOY: Joey Bosa (+2000) & Khalil Mack (+3000) & Derwin James Jr (+3500)
COY: Brandon Staley (+1400)
The Chargers got off to a strong start in the 2021 season with four wins in their first five games, most notably defeating the division-rival Chiefs on the road 30-24 in Week 3. Inconsistency became a theme from that point, however, and the Chargers ultimately wound up falling short of the playoffs after losing in overtime to the Raiders in Week 18. A 9-8 record was certainly below this team’s potential given how much talent they had, and another year of maturity for Justin Herbert could make the difference in the upcoming season.
For 2022, the Chargers essentially have the same group of skill position players that they had in 2021, so the hope is that they’ll be able to collectively lift their performance from a season ago. It may just be a matter of improving their results in close games, as five of last year’s seven losses came by a touchdown or less. Whether or not Herbert can be a better decision maker at the end of games remains to be seen, but the Chargers figure to have an improved defense either way. Khalil Mack was acquired this offseason, and alongside Joey Bosa and Derwin James Jr, the Chargers actually have three of the favorites for this year’s Defensive Player of the Year award to begin the season.
AFC Conference Odds: +900
AFC West Division Odds: +260
Team Win Total: 10
To Make Playoffs: -145
Week 1 Spread: -6.5 (at SEA)
MVP: Russell Wilson (+1400)
COY: Nathaniel Hackett (+1800)
The Broncos began the 2021 season 3-0 and surprisingly seemed to be in contention to win the AFC West for a brief time, especially given how poorly the Chiefs were playing at that point on the schedule. The team unfortunately followed up those wins with a four-game losing streak, however, though they managed to grab another pair of victories and move to 5-4. Ultimately the divisional opponents proved to be too tough for the Broncos, and they dropped their final three games of the season — one to each AFC West team — and finished the year 7-10.
The AFC West is without a doubt an extremely tough division but the Broncos have given themselves a real chance to contend in 2022 with perhaps the biggest move of the offseason, acquiring Russell Wilson in a blockbuster trade from the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson had a down year in 2021 and may be declining a bit at age 33, but there’s no question that he’s a significant upgrade over both Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. He still has the upside to be an elite NFL quarterback when he’s at his best. The Broncos would probably be favored in most divisions in 2022, but they’re actually 3rd in the ultra-competitive AFC West despite having a win total set at 10 and odds to make the playoffs set at -145.
AFC Conference Odds: +2000
AFC West Division Odds: +650
Team Win Total: 8.5
To Make Playoffs: +150
Week 1 Spread: +3.5 (at LAC)
MVP: Derek Carr (+2800)
OPOY: Davante Adams (+1800)
DPOY: Maxx Crosby (+2800) & Chandler Jones (+3500)
The Raiders had an impressive 2021 season from start to finish and made the playoffs with a record of 10-7, ultimately defeating the aforementioned Chargers in a pivotal Week 18 game. The eventual AFC Champion Bengals wound up being too tough of an opponent in the Wild Card round, but it was still a successful year overall, with strong showings from Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense. It may be a season that’s hard to replicate, however, as the 10-7 record came with a -65 point differential and that could partly explain why the team felt it necessary to get aggressive this offseason.
Following the theme from the rest of this division, the Raiders were part of yet another major offseason move, signing superstar wide receiver Davante Adams to a five year contract worth around $140 million. Adams has been as reliable and as good as it gets when it comes to the top tier of NFL receivers, and his presence could be just the thing Carr needs to take the Raiders’ offense to the next level. Despite having an undoubtedly above-average roster though, the Raiders have a win total set at only 8.5 and are +150 to make the playoffs, and they begin the 2022 season at +650 to win the division. The Raiders are likely going to be a pretty good team, but these numbers speak to just how strong the AFC West actually is.
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