The Kansas City Chiefs have a specific mission to secure a third-straight Super Bowl appearance and win their second championship in three seasons. The current runners-up march toward the Super Bowl would begin with another AFC West crown, where the Chiefs are the consensus favorites at -250 odds to win their sixth-straight division title.
Since 2010, either the Chiefs or the Denver Broncos won the AFC West. It’s been a long-standing drought for the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers, led by last year’s offensive Rookie of the Year, Justin Herbert, are Kansas City’s closest competition in the AFC West at +450 odds.
|2021 AFC West Odds
- Kansas City Chiefs -250
- LA Chargers +450
- Denver Broncos +600
- Las Vegas Raiders +2200
Pretty much every preview from every publication will tell you something similar: the Chiefs are the team to beat. Everyone knows this, but will anyone actually do it? Let’s not forget that the Bucs were underdogs and they pulled off an upset in Super Bowl 55.
According to DraftKings, the Chiefs are the consensus favorites at +500 odds to win Super Bowl 56. If you’re feeling frisky, the Chargers are +3000 odds to win the championship.
COVID and injuries are the biggest potential obstacles for the Chiefs this season because no one in their division is a legitimate threat. The Chiefs are one of the biggest divisional favorites on the futures board at -250 odds to win the AFC West.
The Chiefs have three tough games to start the season against the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and LA Chargers. In Week 5, Mahomes and the Chiefs will host the Buffalo Bills in Kansas City. We’ll know early on whether or not the Chiefs are ready to steamroll the competition this season, or if they’re just fool’s gold. On the flip side, all of those other Super Bowl contenders will find out how they stack up against the perceived premier team in the NFL.
The Chargers haven’t been the big dog in the AFC West in over a decade when they won four AFC West titles as the San Diego Chargers between 2006 and 2009.
This year, the Chargers are a fetish pick among wiseguy-types and sharp bettors at +450 odds to win the AFC West. Then again, all this talk reminds me about the hype surrounding the Cleveland Browns two seasons ago. Let’s not crown Herbert and the Chargers division champs just yet. Keep an eye on Week 3 when Herbert and Mahomes have their first showdown of the season.
The AFC West plays the AFC North this season, so the Chargers will have a tough October with games against the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens before their bye week.
The Denver Broncos were hoping that they could pull off a sick trade by snagging a disgruntled Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers. However, Rodgers and the Packers mended their rift and will play one more season together. In the meantime, the Broncos are third fiddle behind the Chargers and Chiefs.
The Broncos have a strong defense, which should keep them in games this season. It will be up to Teddy Bridgewater to provide the offensive boost. After a great stint replacing an injured Drew Brees for the Saints two seasons ago, Bridgewater had a rough season as the starter for the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers traded Bridgewater to the Broncos, where he edged out Drew Lock as the starter.
Bettors love backing Bridgewater, who is 36-14 against the spread as a starting quarterback.
All sizzle, no steak. Okay, there’s some meat in there, but the Raiders might not have the right chef in the kitchen with Jon Gruden. He sounds hysterical in sound bites, but he’s yet to pose a real threat to the elite teams in the AFC. It’s been almost 20 years since the Raiders last won three straight division titles at the turn of the century. With Mahomes and Herbert still relatively young, it could take another two decades before they hoist a division banner.
The Raiders were supposed to inaugurate their brand-new stadium in Las Vegas in 2020, but the pandemic meant no fans last season. Vaccinated fans will be able to enjoy the silver and black in Sin City this fall for the first time, so it should be exciting to watch games in Vegas.