2021 AFC West Betting Preview: Can Anyone Dethrone the KC Chiefs?

Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs once again dominated the AFC West division. Led by their explosive offense, the Chiefs finished the year on top of the division and the AFC conference.

Although they fell short in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs are expected to run away with the AFC West division this season and return to the Super Bowl for a third straight year.

The Chargers, Broncos and Raiders have all added various pieces to their rosters with the hope of trying to close the gap on the Chiefs in the upcoming the season.

Have these teams done enough to dethrone Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs?

Let’s huddle up to examine the latest AFC West betting odds, courtesy of the best NFL betting sites, and make some division winning predictions.

Kansas City Chiefs Preview

  • 1st (-250)
  • 2nd (+240)
  • 3rd (+1100)
  • 4th (+6600)

As you can see from the odds, the Kansas City Chiefs are clearly the favorites in the AFC West and rightfully so. They have the best player in the NFL at QB – Patrick Mahomes. Furthermore, they have a loaded offense with a steadily improving defense.

Since Mahomes took the starting spot at QB, this offense has been Top 5 every year. They look scary good heading into the season despite a reshuffled offensive line and the loss of RB Damien Williams.

Defensively, I don’t see this unit being in the Top 10, but they really don’t have to be considering how great their offense is. A few rookie draft picks like Nick Bolton give them solid building blocks for this year and beyond.

The Chiefs went 14-2 last year with both losses coming in the division.

Over/Under 12.5 Wins

  • Over 12.5 (-105)
  • Under 12.5 (-125)

Can you believe that as one of the Top 2 teams in the league, along with the Buccaneers, the Chiefs have just the 14th toughest schedule?

They have five teams on their schedule that are projected to win 10 or more games: Ravens, Bills, Browns, Titans and Packers. The Bills, Browns and Packers will travel to KC which gives them the edge.

They also have three teams that are expected to win less than seven games: Eagles, Bengals and Giants. You can add the Raiders to that mix as well if you are going by their O/U.

The Chiefs will go 5-1 in the division and also sweep the NFC East. That’s a 9-1 record right there. I expect them to easily defeat the Steelers and Bengals in AFC matchups which puts them at 11-1.

That brings us to their five toughest games. Even if they go 3-2 in those games, the Chiefs will still finish 14-3 on the year.

I’m very surprised that the O/U is listed at 12.5 wins with the Under being favored. Hammer this Over as KC will most likely finish with the best record in the NFL for the second straight year.

Kansas City Chiefs –Over 12.5 Wins (-105)

Los Angeles Chargers Preview

  • 1st (+500)
  • 2nd (+210)
  • 3rd (+350)
  • 4th (+500)

Last year, the Los Angeles Chargers finished 7-9. But, don’t let that losing record fool you. They found their franchise QB for the next decade and the future is bright for the Bolts moving forward.

Justin Herbert proved to be a stud QB with elite level talent. As we know, this is a quarterback driven league and the Chargers have one of the best young QBs in the league.

They also have a talented supporting cast with players like WR Keenan Allen and RB Austin Ekeler.

Defensively, the Chargers have franchise playmakers in Bosa and James. If both can stay healthy then this unit will be in the Top 15 with a Top 10 ceiling.

One concern for LA this season is that the Chargers have an entirely new coaching staff including first year head coach Brandon Staley. Although this team has plenty of talent, there could still be some growing pains in 2021.

Over/Under 9.5 Wins

  • Over 9.5 (-130)
  • Under 9.5 (+100)

Last year, the Chargers could only muster up seven wins, but a lot of that came in the second half of the season and despite all of the injuries they faced on both sides of the ball.

LA finished 3-3 in the division and I can see them matching or exceeding that mark in 2021. With that said, let’s stick with a 3-3 divisional record this year as we move forward throughout their schedule.

I believe the Chargers will go 3-1 against the NFC East with their lone loss coming against the Cowboys. That bumps them to 6-4 with six additional conference matchups.

Against the AFC North, I like the Bolts to go 2-2 with losses against the Browns and Ravens, but defeating the Steelers and Bengals. That’s now an 8-8 record with three games left.

Those three matchups are against the Patriots, Texans and Vikings. Right off the bat, the Chargers will crush the hapless Texans which brings them to 9 wins.

So, now it comes down to whether or not LA can beat the Patriots or the Vikings to hit the double digit win mark. Both the Patriots and the Vikings travel to LA.

Also, the Patriots crushed the Chargers last year in embarrassing fashion. LA will have revenge on their minds and also come off a Bye Week before playing New England. I say the Chargers will win this matchup and go at least 10-7 on the year. Take the Over!

Los Angeles Chargers –Over 9.5 Wins (-130)

Denver Broncos Preview

  • 1st (+550)
  • 2nd (+170)
  • 3rd (+150)
  • 4th (+450)

Injuries were a big problem for the Denver Broncos last year along with inconsistent play at the QB position. Health will be a big factor for both sides of the ball this year as well.

But, for Denver, the key to success rides on the arm of either Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock. This will be a battle to watch as we see who ends up as the #1 quarterback for the team.

Even with some bumps in the road for the offense, which should be loaded with playmakers in the skilled positions, this team will rely heavily on their defense. And, this is a unit that should be high in the Top 10 if healthy.

The return of Von Miller along with Bradley Chubb will make the pass rush one of the best in the league. Additionally, signing Ronald Darby, Kyle Fuller and drafting Patrick Surtain II solidifies a secondary that will have to battle the passing attacks of Herbert and Mahomes four times this season.

Over/Under 8.5 Wins

  • Over 8.5 (-115)
  • Under 8.5 (-115)

Due to injuries, the Broncos finished 5-11 last year and 1-5 in the division. This year, their divisional play will make or break the team’s chances of securing one of the Wild Card spots.

Five of their final seven games will be divisional matchups, which means their bitter rivals like the Raiders and the Chiefs could prevent Denver from making the postseason. I think with a healthy team and an improved defense, the Broncos should go 3-3 in the division.

Another concern for Denver this year is their early schedule. They travel to the East Coast in three of their first five games.

With that in mind, I like for Denver to go 3-1 against the NFC East and 1-3 against the AFC North. That’s now 7-7 with three games left to debate.

Those three games come against the Jaguars, Jets and Lions. I don’t think it gets much easier than that. I like for Denver to win all three of them.

I believe this team will go Over 8.5 wins and flirt with a 10-7 record. Also, keep in mind, they play the Chiefs in the final game of the season where KC will have the top spot wrapped up for the postseason by then.

At -115 odds, I really like the value with the Over for the Broncos.

Denver Broncos –Over 8.5 Wins (-115)

Las Vegas Raiders Preview

  • 1st (+1400)
  • 2nd (+750)
  • 3rd (+325)
  • 4th (-220)

Online betting sites have the Raiders listed as the odds on favorite to finish last in the division and an O/U of seven wins.

This is either due to a disliking to their offseason moves or oddsmakers viewing what the other teams in the division did to get better. I think it’s a combination of both.

The Raiders have a better QB situation than the Broncos with Carr being a very efficient passer. They also have one of the top running games in the league.

Yet, there are question marks on the offensive line after trading away Pro Bowl talent and a secondary that was one of the worst in the league last season.

These concerns, along with a tough schedule, will make it hard for anyone to pick the Raiders to finish higher than 4th in the AFC West.

Over/Under 7 Wins

  • Over 7 (-125)
  • Under 7 (+100)

Last year, the Las Vegas Raiders went 4-2 in the division. I don’t see that happening this season. The other teams have more talent on both sides of the ball. Las Vegas will be lucky to finish with a .500 record in the division. I’m predicting they go 2-4.

Against the NFC East, I see the Raiders going 2-2. Against the AFC North, I also see the Raiders going 2-2. That’s a 6-8 record with three games left to examine.

Those three games are against the Colts, Bears and Dolphins. Indy will be on the road, but the other two are at home. Last year, the Colts pretty much ended the Raiders’ Playoff hopes and they could do it again this year.

Las Vegas would be lucky to go 1-2 in those three matchups. This is going to be tough to pick, but the Raiders look like they will go 7-10 overall. With that roster and the tough schedule, I would lean towards the Under 7 wins (+100).

Las Vegas Raiders –Under 7 Wins (+100)

Who Wins the AFC West in 2021?

Of all eight divisions in the league, this one is the easiest to predict. The Chiefs will win the AFC West for the 6th straight year. They’re favored in 15 of 17 games, to win the AFC West, to win the AFC Championship and to win the Super Bowl.

I’m taking the Broncos to finish 2nd in the division which might be a surprise to some, but that defense is going to be scary good.

Although I’ve been a big fan of Justin Herbert since he started for Oregon, the new coaching staff has me thinking this team will finish third in the AFC West. They haven’t won the division since 2009.

The Raiders haven’t won the division since 2002 and I don’t see them being able to climb out of the basement this year. We could be seeing the end of Gruden or Carr with the Raiders. One of them will be gone after this team implodes in 2021.

AFC West Results

  • Kansas City Chiefs Finish 1st (-250)
  • Denver Broncos Finish 2nd (+170)
  • Los Angeles Chargers Finish 3rd (+350)
  • Las Vegas Raiders Finish 4th (-220)
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

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