The Kansas City Chiefs have won six straight AFC West titles and have been heavy favorites for most of that run. Well, the gap is shrinking now with the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos both improving their teams in the last few years. Kansas City is still the favorite, but just at +175 odds. The Las Vegas Raiders are picked to finish last, but they also have a roster that could surprise a few folks. This should be a terrific division race, so let’s take a look at each team.
AFC West Standings 
One of the reasons Kansas City is not an overwhelming favorite to win the AFC West again is the schedule. It’s brutal. The fifth-toughest schedule in the NFL will see the Chiefs play not only an improved division, but the likes of Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Buffalo and San Francisco outside of the division. Two key members of the team are gone in wide receiver Tyreek Hill and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. However, the Chiefs did grab up wideouts Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, along with CB Lonnie Johnson. And of course, Kansas City still has head coach Andy Reid, tight end Travis Kelce and superstar quarterback Pat Mahomes.
Odds to Win AFC West (as of 7/10/22):
Kansas City Chiefs +175
LA Chargers +220
Denver Broncos +260
Las Vegas Raiders +650
The biggest threat to dethroning the Kansas City Chiefs are the Los Angeles Chargers. They finished one win shy of the postseason a year ago and should only be better this season when it comes to crunch time situations. The defense was upgraded in the offseason with the acquisitions of Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson. The offense is just fine with third-year quarterback Justin Herbert and wide receiver Mike Williams. The schedule is the 10th-toughest in the league, but it still ranks easier than both the Chiefs and Raiders’ schedule. If there’s a team that’s close to breaking through, it’s the Chargers.
Two years ago, Tom Brady went to the Tampa Bay Bucs and won a Super Bowl. Last year, veteran Matt Stafford led the L.A. Rams to a Super Bowl title in his first season with the team. So, the Denver Broncos are hoping that former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson turns the same trick. On March 16, 2022, the Seahawks traded Wilson and a fourth-round pick to the Broncos in exchange for two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, and tight end Noah Fant. To say the least, it was the biggest trade of the offseason. Still, Wilson doesn’t have the same talent on his roster that Brady and Stafford did in leading their teams to a championship. It might take the Broncos another year or two.
Season Win Totals (as of 7/10/22):
Kansas City Chiefs 10.5 o115
LA Chargers 10 o145
Denver Broncos 10 o125
Las Vegas Raiders 8.5 o170
Finally, we have the team from the Nevada desert. The Las Vegas Raiders are picked to finish last but still have a pretty talented offense. It’s the defense that’s holding them back. Derek Carr can put up some big numbers, but he’s also capable of throwing away games. He should be ecstatic that the Raiders signed former Green Bay Packer receiver Davante Adams. It’s a new coaching staff with Josh McDaniels leading the way as the head man. Las Vegas has a tough schedule that may prevent them from making the postseason.
Jay’s Season Win Total Best Bet: I love Russell Wilson, but his peak playing years are past and the Broncos still have a mediocre roster. The first half of the schedule looks easy, but they better have at least eight wins after Week 12. The last six games are Ravens, Chiefs, Cardinals, Rams, Chiefs, Chargers. Ouch.
Broncos UNDER 10 +105
Jay’s Pick to Win Division: Since I’ve ruled out the Raiders and Broncos, it’s up to the Chargers to dethrone the Chiefs. I don’t think it will happen. Kansas City still has one of the best teams in the NFL and have a big advantage in coaching staff over the Chargers. It’s not one of my best bets to win a division, but I’m taking the Chiefs.
To see more odds and props for the AFC West, click here.