NFL Betting: Breaking Down the AFC West Conference for the 2018 Season

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Last season, there was a lot of shifting in the AFC West. The Chiefs were able to win the division on the strength of a 10-6 mark. They enter the 2018 season with a new look, namely with a new QB under center. The Los Angeles Chargers overcame a rough start to go 9-7 and many fancy their chances this season. With Jon Gruden returning to Oakland, a lot are expecting the Raiders to return to form. And while Denver is off many people’s radars, they hope to catch some by surprise this season. Let’s look at the pros and the cons for each team heading into this season, along with our pick on whether AFC West teams will go over/under their 2018 projected win totals.

Denver Broncos (5-11 last season)
Pros:
QB and O-line almost has to get better
Have a better QB in Keenum
Continuity in coaching staff
Nice draft to bolster defense
Nice pieces still in place on defense
Potential to surprise if pieces fall into place
Scheduling appears favorable
Interesting youngsters on both sides of ball
Wide range of possibilities, both with Broncos and whole division
Cons:
Very little valuable remains from their recent Super Bowl period
Did they place too much stock in Keenum?
Is Keenum being put in the right spot to again thrive?
Keenum working with a worse O-line in Denver than in Minnesota
Lack of running game with no proven backs
Playmakers in Thomas and Sanders getting older
Loot’s Pick for O/U Wins: Under 7.5 wins at -135. Lot of volatility here. Some pieces are in place and their offense should improve, but 8-8 seems to be a big ask of a team that now has a lot of issues.

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Kansas City Chiefs (10-6 last season)
Pros:
Able to win games in bunches
Can overcome bad starts or losing streaks
Added Sammy Watkins, another playmaking dimension
Game-changing ability on offense
Reid a master with young QBs
Mahomes could make more out of Hill, Hunt, Kelce, and others
Brought in a lot of defensive firepower
Vast depth on offense in playmaking department
S Eric Berry could return as a big factor
Cons:
Unproven quarterback
Revamped secondary
Lost playmaking on defense
Had one of the worst defenses last season
Turnover ratio could get worse without Smith
Tendency to get on bad rolls
Inconsistent playmaking
Vast transition in offensive approach this season
Loot’s Pick for O/U Wins: Under 8.5 wins at -125. The formula for success has been disrupted and some rough stretches of the season might make a 9-7 record a bit out of reach. Still a candidate to surprise.

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7 last season)
Pros:
Varied and deep wide receiving crew
Finished strong last season both SU and ATS
Best QB in the division with Philip Rivers
Nice variety on offense with playmaking
Continuity in coaching staff
Game-changing talent on both sides of the ball
Talented first-rounder in S Kerwin James
More depth at defense this season
Potentially big signing in C Pouncey
Bosa and Ingram pass-rushing terror on edges
Cons:
Special teams always a farce
Kicking issues and untimely miscues prevent them from winning close games
Home-field advantage dicey in a soccer stadium in a city that doesn’t really care
Injury bug already surfacing
Lose a home game with a London game this season
Thin at tight end after having wealth at the position
Good fortune evades them, both within games and with costly injuries
Loot’s Pick for O/U Wins: Over 9.5 at even-money. Granted, they usually get a bad dose of injuries and overall bad fortune, but a one-win improvement over last season seems like a reasonable request. The Chargers could be trouble this season unless they fall back to their old underachieving ways.

Oakland Raiders (6-10 last season)
Pros:
Gruden is back
Added a lot of useful veterans
Gruden should help Carr
Potentially good draft for “D”
Offensive line fell off drastically last season, but should be better
Strong pieces on offense added in pass-catching corps
Cons:
Not a ton of playmakers on the roster
Defense was too dependent on Khalil Mack, who isn’t happy
“D” doesn’t look like a playoff unit on paper
Homefield edge seemed to wane last season
Questions loom with O-line
Loot’s Pick for O/U Wins: Over 8 at -130. With Carr and the offense getting back on track and helping the “D,” I see some things falling the Raiders’ way this season. Make this bet for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!