2016 Season AFC West NFL Odds & Picks Preview
The AFC West, I suppose, gets to claim it’s the NFL’s best division entering the 2016 season. After all, it houses the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. The division has now sent teams to the Super Bowl 16 times beginning with Super Bowl I vs. Green Bay. Entering 2016, the Broncos and Raiders lead in Super Bowl wins with 3-5 and 3-2 records, respectively; the Chiefs are 1-1, while the Chargers went winless in Super Bowl XXIX in their only title appearance. Who wins the AFC West this year? Here are the teams’ NFL betting lines.
Our Inside Look at the NFL Betting Odds & Picks for AFC West Preview
Kansas City Chiefs (+185)
The Chiefs ended the 2015 regular season playing better than anyone, winning their final 10 games. But they finished second in the division behind Denver and haven’t won it since 2010. So it’s interesting they are the slight favorites. Great defense, even though star linebacker Justin Houston could miss the entire season due to a knee injury — at best, he misses the first six games. Star running back Jamaal Charles also is coming off a serious injury that ended his 2015 season early. I’m just not sure if QB Alex Smith is good enough to win a division title. Smith’s strengths are his toughness and mobility. He will be helped, as will the Chiefs’ offense as a whole, if Charles can remain healthy coming off last season’s ACL surgery. The Chiefs have also tinkered with the offensive line during offseason workouts. The Chiefs were middle of the road last season — 16th — in net yards gained per pass attempt, at 6.3.
Denver Broncos (+195)
The Broncos won the AFC West for a fifth straight year last season but of course lost future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning to retirement, plus a few key defensive players in free agency. Super Bowl MVP and linebacker Von Miller says he’s ready to holdout the entire season if he doesn’t get a new extension, but few believe that. But this all comes down to the quarterback position. Manning never quite found his usual level of consistent proficiency at quarterback last season, but his teammates believed in him. And perhaps most important, they believed in him in the biggest moments of games. Mark Sanchez is the likely Week 1 starter.
Oakland Raiders (+250)
Oakland hasn’t won the division since 2002, which was the team’s last winning record. But the Raiders have the best young talent in the division and are clearly on the rise. They have the best QB/WR duo in Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. In part because of a foot injury, Cooper hit the rookie wall hard last season, managing more than 20 yards just once in his final four games. Now healthy and more comfortable in the offense, Cooper should take a step forward this season. He and Carr have been working out much of the offseason.
San Diego Chargers (+1000)
Can the Bolts go from worst-to-first in what could be their final season in the city of San Diego? Possible but not very likely. The offense should be pretty good, but the Bolts rely too much on the pass. QB Philip Rivers is still playing at a high enough level to anchor a playoff team. But 661 attempts — that’s how many times he threw in 2015 — is too many. Only one of the six quarterbacks who finished with at least 600 attempts last season was in the playoffs — Tom Brady. Plus that San Diego defense is really weak.