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2020 NFL AFC West Predictions

 

AFC West Betting Odds and Forecast

The defending Super Bowl champions reside in the AFC West division, and there are many reasons to believe it won't be too difficult for the Chiefs to at least get back to the playoffs and have an opportunity to defend that crown. Kansas City's three division rivals are all in various stages of trying to retool at this point, and for any one of them to give the Chiefs a worrisome run for their money would likely have to play well over their head.

Obviously some bad luck could fall on KC as well for scenarios like that to happen, but with five of the last six Super Bowl champs making the playoffs the following year, and four of those winning their respective divisions to boot, there aren't going to be many bettors anxious to step in front of the Chiefs in any way.


The Chiefs captured Super Bowl 54 last season and the oddsmakers expect them to win another title next February at Super Bowl 55 in 2021. (AP).

2020 AFC West Title Odds

  • Kansas City (-400)
  • Denver (+800)
  • LA Chargers (+900)
  • Las Vegas (+1000)

When we get to the season win total numbers for these AFC West teams a little later this will become clearer, but there really shouldn't be a challenger to the Chiefs throne in this division. The Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders are all going to be fighting for something like a 8-8 SU record as their ceilings, not anywhere near the territory the defending Super Bowl champs expect to reside in.

One of KC's rivals likely will get to that .500 mark or even beyond, but as long as you believe the Chiefs will avoid significant injuries, it's more of a matter of whether or not you want to lay the -400 price. All things remaining equal, the Chiefs should win this division in 2020, but nothing ever remains equal in the NFL.

2020 AFC Championship Odds

  • Kansas City (+280)
  • Denver (+2000)
  • LA Chargers (+2000)
  • Las Vegas (+2800)

The team that won the AFC Championship last year enters this year as the overall favorite again in the top NFL Futures Betting Markets, as the Chiefs sitting in a class well above the rest of their division continues to be the prevailing theme.

Kansas City is definitely worth some investment as the conference favorite, and if you are looking to take a flyer on one of the other three teams, you'd better know which one of the three is more likely to play well above their heads for the longer period of time.

2020 Super Bowl 55 Odds

  • Kansas City (+600)
  • Denver (+4000)
  • LA Chargers (+4000)
  • Las Vegas (+6000)

The Chiefs are also listed as the overall favorite in the league to win the title again this year, as they would become the first team since those Patriots teams in 2004 and 2005 to successfully defend their title. Kansas City's still the only worthwhile possible investment here from the betting standpoint, but then again, do you want to be taking the favorite price on something that hasn't happened in 15 years like repeating?

2020 AFC West Win Totals Odds

  • Kansas City 11
  • Denver 7.5
  • LA Chargers 7.5
  • Las Vegas 7

Referenced this section earlier on, and as you can see in the NFL Wins Totals Odds with the Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders, all have numbers that come with expectations of a 8-8 SU year being a successful one. In the end, it's probably going to come down to which one of the three survives the head-to-head games with the other two. There are pros and cons to believing all three of those squads will be the one to get to that .500 mark and then up to personal preference in what the handicapping work shows for the bettor.

Kansas City sits with a flat '11' as their number, as they've had 12 wins in three of the last four seasons and 'over' bettors do have to pay about 20 cents on the dollar to take the high side of that number. Being the champs does mean that they'll be getting everyone's best shot for sure, and that number is set right where it should be.

2020 AFC West Playoff Props

Kansas City: Yes (-1115) or No (+675)
Denver: Yes (+150) or No (-182)
LA Chargers: Yes (+163) or No (-200)
Las Vegas: Yes (+275) or No (-360)

Hard to have interest in laying that 'yes' price with the Chiefs even with it being in a category of most likely things to happen in the 2020 season. That being said, it's not like some hard luck hasn't befallen on the entire world in 2020, and maybe the Chiefs team on the field runs into something similar. That 'no' price would be awfully tempting if that's the thought process for some.

The other three teams in the NFL Playoff Prop Odds are a matter of personal preference again, but in that scenario it's hard not to want a piece of the biggest 'yes' price out there with the Raiders. There might not be fans in the stands in the new Las Vegas market, but you'd better believe that entire market knows how to support a decent team quick in whatever way they can. The Vegas Golden Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural Vegas season in the NHL, and while the Super Bowl may be a stretch for Jon Gruden's club, the playoffs might not be.

2020 AFC West MVP Contenders

Kansas City QB: Patrick Mahomes (+400)
Denver QB: Drew Lock (+7000)
Las Vegas QB: Derek Carr (+8000)
LA Chargers DL: Joey Bosa (+15000)
Kansas City WR: Tyreek Hill (+15000)
Las Vegas RB: Josh Jacobs (+15000)
LA Chargers QB: Tyrod Taylor (+15000)
Kansas City TE: Travis Kelce (+20000)
LA Chargers QB: Justin Herbert (+25000)
Denver DL: Von Miller (+25000)
Denver WR: Jerry Jeudy (+50000)

QB - Quarterback, RB - Running Back, WR - Wide Receiver, TE - Tight End, DL - Defensive Lineman

Not only are the Chiefs as a team head and shoulders above their division rivals in the previous markets, but even in the individual awards market you've got Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes a the top of the heap in the NFL MVP Futures Odds market as well.

The rest of the names from this division are well down the entire list, and it is interesting to see both Chargers QB's priced so close to one another. Maybe all that noise we've had already about questioning the Chargers decision to go into 2020 with Tyrod Taylor as their starting QB has bled well into the market already.

2020 AFC West ROY Contenders

Offense

Kansas City RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (+600)
LA Chargers QB: Justin Herbert (+1600)
Denver WR: Jerry Jeudy (+1600)
Las Vegas WR: Henry Ruggs III (+2000)
Denver WR: KJ Hamler (+10000)
Las Vegas RB: Lynn Bowden Jr (+15000)

QB - Quarterback, RB - Running Back, WR - Wide Receiver

Defense

LA Chargers LB: Kenneth Murray (+1100)
Kansas City LB: Willie Gay Jr (+2000)
Las Vegas CB: Damon Arnette (+4000)

LB - Linebacker, CB - Cornerback

Seems like the rich get richer when you see Chiefs players at or near the top of both of the Offensive or Defensive Rookie of the Year odds markets, although being on a successful team overall never hurts a rookie's stock.

Yet, it's actually the two Chargers players on this list that could end up being the most intriguing in the end. QB Justin Herbert will see some action in all likelihood, and if he gets handed the reigns early for whatever reason – poor play, injury etc – then who knows where the former Oregon star takes this season for LA.

Defensively, Chargers LB Murray was a talking machine at Oklahoma, and as a guy who sits as one of the top four names on the overall Defensive ROY betting board, the intrinsic overall market value is already there too.

2020 AFC West Predictions

Best Bet/Value on AFC West Division Winner

Best Bet: Kansas City (-400)

If a bettor is willing to get involved in this division and lay this price, it's got to be one of the best preseason stances to take regarding the AFC West. Unless Mahomes and/or others miss significant time during the season, The Chiefs should be able to claim another division crown and go from there.

Sometimes the size of the chalk in a price should be considered somewhat irrelevant if you “know” that the wager will win. This is one of those cases that feels similar to all that chalk bettors had to lay with Floyd Mayweather over Connor McGregor a couple of years back when in hindsight it should have been viewed as somewhat of a sure thing. That's the kind of light the Chiefs winning the AFC West in 2020 sits under.

Best Bet/Value on AFC Championship Winner

Best Bet: Kansas City (+280)

If you are high on the Chiefs and aren't excited about the -400 price with them to win the division for the division, taking them at a near 3/1 price tag to win the AFC Championship again should be more appealing. This is a team that's built to be right in the thick of Super Bowl conversations for the next few years at least with the core group of talent they've got.

Yes, they are still priced as the favorite in the AFC to get this job done, but is that really a bad thing when you are getting +280 back? You can wonder about the internal hunger and drive after a championship run, but no other team in this division is worth consideration with this future.

Best Bet/Value for Super Bowl 55 Winner

Best Value: Kansas City (+600)

Same story as above as no other team from the AFC West but the Chiefs should really be considered for future Super Bowl winner bets right now. KC is the favorite here over the rest of the league and rightfully so, but repeating is a rare feat in the history of the NFL, and with the way the Chiefs got down big in all of their playoff games in 2019, if they play with that fire too much deep in the playoffs in 2020, they may not be able to get out of it.

However, in relation to the AFC West division as a whole, there is no other viable betting option here, and when that's the case, how can you be upset with having the overall league favorite in that scenario.

Best Bets/Value for AFC West Season Win Totals

Best Over: Las Vegas Raiders Over 7 wins

As I mentioned earlier, of the three teams most likely to be looking up at the Chiefs in this division, I'm more inclined to take the biggest price in terms of which one of them will find the most success, as they are all fairly equal in my view. Three teams being viewed as equal suggests that there is some built in value in the one of those three that's considered just shades below, and that's clearly the Raiders when you go through the entire futures market.

Fans or not in Year 1 in Las Vegas, the overall energy and excitement to have football in the city – or to be playing in that city as a player – should generally be quite high, and that's got to be considered a positive too for a play like this. As long as they can go something like 2-2 or 3-1 SU in their four games against the Chargers and Broncos, LV should be able to find at least five other wins throughout their schedule.

Best Under: LA Chargers Under 7.5 wins

Way too much change surrounding the entire Chargers organization to really have belief that they'll find a way to be a winning club in 2020. From it being Year 1 in the post-Philip Rivers era and all that entails with the concerns about Taylor starting and his replacement already waiting in the wings, to it being the first year in a brand new stadium, as a second class tenant and likely without no fans in the stands as well.

When the slightest thing goes bad or sideways for this club, the tendency for things to spiral out of control in a negative fashion definitely exists. Whether it becomes a QB controversy and they are left playing out the string with their rookie QB, or anything else really, this year's Chargers team likely tops out at seven wins max.

Best Bets/Value for Yes/No in the 2020 NFL Playoffs

Best Value: Las Vegas “Yes”

If I'm going to be riding the Raiders to have an above expectation first season in Las Vegas in terms of their win total sailing 'over', it's not hard to double down on the prospect of them parlaying said success into something like a Wild Card berth in the end. At the +275 price tag, how can you not when looking at teams in this division as a whole.

Best Bets/Value for Individual Awards

  • Best Bet MVP: Patrick Mahomes (+400)
  • Best Bet OROY: Justin Herbert (+1600)
  • Best Bet DROY: Kenneth Murray (+1100)

Mahomes enters the year as the favorite to win the MVP and with one MVP and one Super Bowl title in his two seasons as starter already, why wouldn't he not want to see if he can accomplish both in the same season. He's by far the best choice in the entire AFC West to be in that MVP discussion, and while getting a bit better then +400 would be nice, all you can do is take what is given.

It's the two Chargers selections here as rookies though that could be just as viable in terms of future winning potential. Even with my views on the Chargers being relatively low this year, being on a bad team doesn't hurt ROY chances in the same ways that it does other individual awards.

If Herbert takes over things early for the Chargers, he'll have all the opportunity in the world in terms of playing time to make his case for winning rookie of the year. He might not have the job from Day 1 like the favorite Joe Burrow will in Cincinnati, but Herbert had a high caliber collegiate career himself and could be every bit the QB Burrow is at this level.

On the other side of the ball for the Chargers, LB Kenneth Murray could pile up the stat lines that you definitely need to be considered for this award. The Raiders and the Broncos are not going to be shy about running the ball which should give a LB like Murray plenty of action in the middle of the field, and Kansas City's dink and dunk game that opens up their bombs will keep Murray plenty busy as well. If he gets 16 games under his belt, he's got the potential to have the look and feel of a young Luke Kuechly at that position.

Analysis provided by VI Expert Matt Blunt - Odds & Betting Markets Subject to Change

  
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