AFC West Odds: Are The Chiefs In More Trouble Than People Think?

  • The Kansas City Chiefs are 1-2, but remain favored to win the AFC West with -120 odds.
  • There are two 3-0 teams in the AFC West, the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders.
  • 538 projects the Chiefs to have only a 21% chance of winning the division.

LAS VEGAS - The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, and the AFC West could be wide open for the taking.

The division contains two of the 3-0 NFL teams, as well as the (presumably) best team in the AFC and a team that beat the best team in the AFC.

Despite the setbacks the Chiefs have suffered in their losses to Baltimore and Los Angeles, they still remain atop the division in terms of odds - even though they’re at the bottom in terms of wins.

AFC West Division Winner

  • Kansas City Chiefs -120
  • Denver Broncos +350
  • Los Angeles Chargers +475
  • Las Vegas Raiders +550

Behind the Chiefs, the conversation gets a bit muddied. The 3-0 Denver Broncos have +350 odds, while the 3-0 Las Vegas Raiders are far behind at +550.

However, this can be explained by strength of schedule - the Broncos entered the season with the 27th hardest schedule, while the Raiders had the eighth.

Incidentally, the Chiefs had the 11th hardest schedule, while the Chargers had the 17th - which goes a bit of a way towards explaining their positions on the odds boards.

Betting Markets Reflect Beliefs

It’s important to remember that betting markets reflect what bettors believe about situations more than they reflect the situations themselves.

The betting market having faith in a team that - with Patrick Mahomes - has never failed to win their division is not necessarily a mistake, no matter what the records are.

In fact, 538’s NFL projections continue to have the Chiefs as the most likely of the four AFC West teams to win the Super Bowl.

However, the Chiefs are only given a 21% chance to win their own division by 538’s projections. It seems that being two games back is a tall order, even for the best team in the division.

The Chargers are given a 25% chance to win the division, while the Broncos are at 31% and the Raiders are at 23%.

In the context of these numbers, the most valuable wager in the AFC West seems to be the Raiders, who, at +550 odds, are given a 23% chance to win the division by 538.

A bet that cashes on +550 about a quarter of the time is a solid wager, and as long as the online gambler in question trusts 538’s rankings, this could be a very reasonable play.

Notably, the Broncos are also potentially a value proposition. If 538 is correct about them having a 31% chance to win the division, their implied odds should be put around +223 - well below what bettors can actually get them at.

The Chargers are also a value proposition in this context, at +475 odds, with a 25% chance to win the division.

The Chiefs are sucking up a lot of money from bettors who believe in them, and that’s enough to make all the other teams in the AFC West value bets right now.

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