AFC West NFL 2018 Season Predictions And Betting Picks
For those NFL fans who love to gamble, its been a terrific year.
Thats because on May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on gambling known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
Now instead of having to go to Las Vegas to bet on professional and college football games, gamblers will be able to go to their local betting parlors and casinos in whichever state they live to place whatever NFL bets they like.
Unfortunately, though, thats going to take a little more time to get set up.
So until all those new American parlors and casinos are put in place (and they will be!), online betting will continue to rule.
However and wherever you choose to place your bets, the 2018 NFL season will provide fans with plenty of opportunities to gamble, so we thought wed offer a little help in that department.
This article series lists the current odds posted at four of the top online NFL betting sites:
- BETOnline (BO)
- Intertops (IT)
- SPORTSBetting (SB)
- GT Bets (GT)
Weve included the betting odds for every team in each NFL division, their chances of winning their division, their conference and the Super Bowl. But remember, odds can change, so be sure to check whats actually listed online before placing any bets.
Only gamble what you can afford to lose but study the odds to keep your losing to a minimum and shop around for the best odds to keep your winning to a maximum.
This is the AFC West
Every team in the AFC West has been to the Super Bowl, and all but the Kansas City Chiefs have won it at least once. The Chiefs went 10-6 last season and ended up winning the division, but for the sixth time (and for an NFL record), they lost a home playoff game, this time to the Titans, 21-3.
After a productive offseason, the Los Angeles Chargers are set to rule. They went 9-7 in 2017 after going 5-11 the year prior but their playoff hopes were shattered by the tiebreaking process. The Oakland Raiders finished 6-10 but now they have a new (old) coach named Gruden, while the Denver Broncos are counting on a new (old) quarterback named Keenum to better their 2017 record of 5-11.
The Kansas City Chiefs (+3000 to win SB LIII)
The Kansas City Chiefs finished first in the AFC West in 2017, the second season in a row they’ve done that. Since 2015, the Chiefs have qualified for the playoffs every season, all under head coach Andy Reid.
Still, general manager John Dorsey was fired in June of 2017 and his replacement, Brett Veach, then promoted co-offensive coordinator Brad Childress to assistant to coach Reid, which left Matt Nagy in sole charge of the Chiefs offense, which ended up ranking 5th overall.
But in the offseason they traded the quarterback who led them there, 3x Pro Bowler Alex Smith, who ended up throwing for 4,042 yards with a 62.4% completion rate for 26 TDs and only 5 interceptions.
Mahomes the man in 2018
Rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes II didn’t start a game until Week 17 when the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 27-24. Mahomes had shown promise during the four games he did play last season, throwing for 390 yards with a 63% completion rate for 4 TDs and zero interceptions.
Veach’s front office is counting on Mahomes to put up those types of numbers in 2018, otherwise trading away Smith might end up being the sort of move that gets some important people fired.
Pumping up the Chiefs’ D
Defensive coordinator Bob Suttons squad was ranked 28th overall last season, and since Sutton arrived in 2013, theyve been ranked as high as seventh (twice) and in the mid to low twenties all the other times. They blew an 18-point lead in the playoffs against the Titans to end their 2017 season, so several offseason moves were made.
The Chiefs released some veterans (linebacker Tamba Hali and guard Brian Waters) and signed free agent nose tackle Xavier Williams (ARI), linebacker Anthony Hitchens (DAL) and cornerbacks Kendall Fuller (WAS) and David Amerson (OAK). They drafted defensive end Breeland Speaks in the second-round, their highest pick in the 2018 draft.
Mahomes has targets
The Chiefs signed wide receiver free agent Sammy Watkins who had 39 catches for 8 TDs for the Los Angeles Rams last season to line up with Tyreek Hill, who had a big 2017 catching 75 balls for 1,183 yards and 7 TDs.
All-Rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who ran for 1,327 yards and 8 TDs, and 2nd team All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, who caught for 1,038 yards for 8 TDs, will give Mahomes the help he’ll need to keep the Chiefs offense dominant in 2018.
The bet comes down to whether Mahomes is the real deal or a second year flop.
Odds that the Kansas City Chiefs will win:
The AFC West: BO: +250, IT: +300, SB: +250, GT: +280
The AFC Championship: BO: +1000, IT: +1400, SB: +1000, GT: +1400
The Super Bowl: BO: +2500, IT: +2800, SB: +2500, GT: +3000
The Los Angeles Chargers (+2200 to win SB LIII)
In 2017, the Los Angeles Chargers improved on their previous 5-11 season by going 9-7, their first winning record since 2014. But even though quarterback Philip Rivers had a 96.0 passing rating and his offense was ranked 4th overall, the Chargers didn’t make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
2018 will be the third season in Los Angeles for the Chargers and their second with head coach Anthony Lynn, and they’ve brought back most of their team and have upgraded their positions of need in the offseason.
The running game slightly adjusted
To compliment running back Melvin Gordon, who rushed for 1,105 yards and 8 TDs last season (7th best RB in the NFL), general manager Tom Telesco drafted the pass-catching running back Justin Jackson, who last year ran for 1154 yards and 9 TDs and caught 43 passes out of the backfield for 266 yards at Northwestern.
The big offseason get was free agent center Mike Pouncey (MIA), who’ll line up with Pro Bowl tackle Russell Okung and All-Rookie guard Dan Feeney to protect Rivers like they did in 2017, when the team only allowed 18 sacks, best in the NFL.
Rivers is surrounded by good hands
Returning Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen had 102 catches for 1,393 yards and 6 TDs in 2017, and with second-year receiver Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin, will try to repeat their or better their 2017 league leading 276.9 passing yards per game.
Also helping with that will be newly acquired free agent tight end Virgil Green, who had 14 receptions for 191 yards and a touchdown for the Denver Broncos last season.
New kicker on board
Last year, rookie kicker Younghoe Koo went 3-for-6 on field goal attempts and was released mid-season. In Week 1, Koo had a game-tying kick blocked and missed a game-winning kick the very next week. His December replacement (and the fourth kicker the Chargers signed in 2017) Nick Rose wasnt much better and was waived by the Chargers in April.
Free agent kickers Caleb Sturgis (PHI) and Roberto Aguayo (CAR) were brought in during the offseason and will spend training camp competing for the 2018 starting job.
The 2018 Chargers are a legitimate bet to at least win the AFC west, and the Rivers gamble could finally pay off.
Odds that the Los Angeles Chargers will win:
The AFC West: BO: +135, IT: +175, SB: +135, GT: +150
The AFC Championship: BO: +900, IT: +1100, SB: +900, GT: +1100
The Super Bowl: BO: +2000, IT: +2000, SB: +2000, GT: +2200
The Oakland Raiders (+3300 to win SB LIII)
Though new Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden likes to curse a lot and quarterback Derick Carr prefers a less colorful approach to communication, they both seem to have figured out how to bring together an offense filled with a lot of recently acquired elements.
Football fans are excited to see if Gruden still has what it takes to coach at the NFL level, but some in the media have accused the 2018 Oakland Raiders of spending their offseason gambling on hopeful short-term solutions.
Can the new old guys still produce like their younger selves on
The 2018 Raiders offense includes a lot of veteran players who general manager Reggie McKenzies front office is counting on to play at their previous levels.
Included in that mix are wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers favorite target in Green Bay until the Packers released him after ten seasons and 6-year veteran running back Doug Martin, who last year ran for a career-low 406 yards with 3 TDs.
If Nelson and Martin play at top form, they could make new offensive coordinator Greg Olsons job a whole lot easier than it already could be with effective wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Marshawn Lynch.
McKenzie also signed some potentially solid veteran free agents for the defense: cornerback Rashaan Melvin (IND) and linebackers Tahir Whitehead (DET), Derrick Johnson (KC) and Emmanuel Lamur (MIN).
New defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will have to find a way to keep them healthy and as productive as they have been in the past.
The big question for the 2018 Raiders: Carr and Gruden?
When Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Carrs passer rating dropped over 10 points from a 96.7 in 2016 to an 86.4 in 2017, Raiders owner Mark Davis came up with a unique solution: Jon Chucky Gruden.
After spending nine years in the Monday Night Football booth, Jon Gruden is back head coaching the Raiders. Again. From 1998 through 2001, Gruden took the Raiders from last place to first and to the AFC Championship game in 2000 and the AFC Divisional Game in 2001. Then he was oddly traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 when he and his Bucs became Super Bowl Champions.
Though hes signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with a no-trade clause that closes the loophole that allowed his previous 2002 trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gruden has recently told the public that he wont take the money if he cant get the job done.
The odds makers, however, seem to think he wont.
Odds that the Oakland Raiders will win:
The AFC West: BO: +300, IT: +275, SB: +300, GT: +320
The AFC Championship: BO: +1400, IT: +1600, SB: +1400, GT: +1400
The Super Bowl: BO: +3300, IT: +3300, SB: +3300, GT: +2800
The Denver Broncos (+4000 to win SB LIII)
After Week 4 of the 2017 NFL season, the Denver Broncos looked good. They had won three of their four games with a 3rd ranked defense and an offense tied at 17th. But thanks to inconsistent quarterbacking they had an eight game losing streak and only two more wins, and their season ended up last in the AFC West.
The odds of the 2018 Denver Broncos winning the Super Bowl like they did back in 2015 arent looking good, but with their quarterback situation addressed in the offseason theyre at least heading in the right direction.
The Case for improvement
Broncos general manager John Elway signed Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum as soon as he became a free agent. Keenum spent 2017 throwing for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions. And he nearly took the Vikings to the Super Bowl.
Reports back from Broncos training camp say that knowing Keenum is the starting quarterback at this point in the season is glorious and offensive coordinator Bill Musgraves offense has the consistent quarterback it has needed.
The Broncos used the draft to Up-their-D
Elway used the fifth pick of the 2018 NFL draft to select the highly sought after pass rushing defensive end Bradley Chubb. Experts had the Cleveland Browns taking Chubb with their fourth pick, but he was surprisingly available after the Browns took Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward instead.
The Broncos are hoping that Chubb will relieve some of the double teams that opponents have put unanswered on 2nd All Pro linebacker Von Miller. Chubb recorded 72 total tackles (23 for a loss), 10 sacks, 2 passes defended and a forced fumble for North Carolina State last season.
Offseason offensive improvements
A hole opened up in the Broncos wide receivers room when they lost Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler to free agency. Elway used the draft to grab Courtland Sutton (SMU) and DaeSean Hamilton (Penn State) to help Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders improve a passing offense that ranked 20th last season with 208.3 passing yards per game.
The O-line was improved by a trade with Arizona for offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. Hell line up with All-Rookie tackle Garett Bolles, who was drafted in the first round with the 20th pick overall. Last season, the Broncos allowed 52 sacks, tied for 29th worst in the NFL.
For the Broncos to compete, theyll need to keep Keenum safe so he can help the offense score more than they did in 2017, when they averaged a 27th ranked 18.1 points per game.
Odds makers dont seem to think that they will.
Odds that the Denver Broncos will win:
The AFC West: BO: +525, IT: +325, SB: +525, GT: +400
The AFC Championship: BO: +1400, IT: +1600, SB: +1400, GT: +1500
The Super Bowl: BO: +3300, IT: +4000, SB: +3300, GT: +3000