AFC West Odds 2018 – Previews & Betting Analysis

philip-rivers-chargersThe San Diego Chargers are many experts’ top pick to win the AFC West. They feature longtime franchise QB Philip Rivers along with a strong pass rush.

The Kansas City Chiefs will be defending their division title with a new quarterback. Second-year player Patrick Mahomes will lead the Chiefs offense with his big arm.

Jon Gruden takes over an Oakland Raiders team that disappointed in 2017. The key to their success will be if quarterback Derek Carr can play as well as he did two years ago.

The Denver Broncos once again face the same dilemma as last season: can their offense score enough points to keep up with a really good defense?

Check out the AFC West odds below along with analysis on how each team figures to perform in 2018.

2018 Team Odds on Winning AFC West

Here’s a look at each team’s odds of winning the West. Note that these GTBets odds are the available off and on until the start of the 2018 regular season:

  • Denver +450
  • Kansas City +245
  • Los Angeles Chargers +140
  • Oakland +375

2018 AFC West Team Previews

LA Chargers (+140)

joey-bosa-chargersThe Chargers closed out last season strong after a dismal 0-4 start. They finished 9-7 and second place in the division.

It’s easy to see why San Diego is the favorite to win the West when considering the offseason moves they made. This includes adding G Forrest Lamp and ex-Dolphins center Mike Pouncey. Now, Philip Rivers should have more time in the pocket than he has had over the last few seasons.

One of the Bolts’ major weaknesses last season was stopping the run. They picked up former Seattle DT Brandon Mebane to help in this department. The pass rush certainly doesn’t need any help when considering that defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa combined for 23 sacks last season.

The secondary is yet another strength when accounting for corners Casey Hayward and Trevor Williams, along with first-round draft pick Derwin James.

San Diego’s 0-4 start last season was largely the result of poor field goal kicking. That said, they could easily be looking to defend a division title this season. Regardless, San Diego looks to be the favorites in the West.

Kansas City Chiefs (+245)

Last year, Kansas City featured a conservative and highly efficient offense under quarterback Alex Smith. This season could be the opposite, because Mahomes is a far more aggressive passer.

This could lead to plenty of big plays when considering that the Chiefs have weapons like TE Travis Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill, and RB Kareem Hunt. They also added receiver Sammy Watkins in the offseason.

Defensively, coordinator Bob Sutton prefers a bend-but-don’t-break approach. The team rarely stacks the box so that they can prevent deep plays.

Of course, there will be fewer deep plays available for opponents when considering that All-Pro safety Eric Berry is back after an Achilles injury. They also added CB Kendall Fuller to make up for the loss of trading away Marcus Peters.

Coach Andy Reid has gone 16-2 against division opponents over the last three years. It’s difficult to see the Chiefs keeping up with this same win rate in 2018. But they definitely have enough talent to compete for the AFC West title, or at least a Wild Card berth.

Oakland Raiders (+375)

jon-gruden-raiders-give-back-moneyJon Gruden was finally lured out of the booth with a $100 million contract set for 10 years. It’s a good thing that he has a long-term contract, because the team won’t be great in the short-term.

Quarterback Derek Carr is a legitimate franchise player, but he’s going to need more help. Amari Cooper had a terrible 2017 season that included many drops and struggles against press coverage.

Jordy Nelson needs a career revival to succeed in 2018. Martavis Bryant has talent, but doesn’t always give a consistent effort. Running back Marshawn Lynch showed flashes of his old self last season. However, Lynch is getting older and will be on limited touches.

Oakland will lean heavily on All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack to steady this defense. He and fellow linebacker Bruce Irvin combined for 18.5 sacks last year.

The rest of the front seven is lacking and doesn’t do a great job of rushing the quarterback or stopping runs. This young secondary could also use some work, although 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley will provide a boost after playing just two games last year.

Gruden is stepping back onto the sidelines after nine seasons out of the coaching game. He doesn’t have a complete roster to make his return a smashing success. The hope is that stars like Mack and Carr can carry this team until the rest of the roster catches up.

Denver Broncos (+450)

von-miller-broncosDenver’s struggles in 2017 started and ended with the quarterback. All three QB’s on their roster started games and ultimately failed.

That said, it’s no wonder why they brought in former Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum to right the ship.

He’s coming off a career year and stands a good chance of success in Denver when considering that they have star receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. The only problem for both the pass and run game is that the offensive line is subpar.

Defensively, CB Aqib Talib is gone, but Chris Harris and Bradley Roby should do an adequate job of taking his place. Harris is especially notable since he held opponents to only 26 yards receiving per game.

The defense is going to be very good again after holding teams to a league-best 3.3 yards per carry. They also drafted defensive end Bradley Chubb with the fifth overall pick. Chubb and All-Pro linebacker Von Miller will make for a great pass rush.

The Broncos have one of the league’s best defenses, although they didn’t always play consistently last season. Perhaps they’ll benefit from Keenum under center and actually win some field position battles. Overall, though, the Broncos still look like the worst team in a tough division.

AFC East Odds 2018 – Previews & Betting Analysis

Tom BradyThe New England Patriots are once again the cream of the AFC East crop. They’re coming off a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance and are easily the best team in the division.

The Miami Dolphins currently look like the second-best team in a crowded pack behind the Patriots. They return starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but also lost some important free agents.

Coming off a Wild Card berth, the Buffalo Bills are trying for a second-straight postseason bid. However, it’s hard to see them doing so when considering that they benefited from lucky turnovers and didn’t add much offseason talent.

The New York Jets stand to be better than they were a year ago. They’ll try grooming rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in what looks to be another rebuild.

Keep reading to see odds on the AFC East along with analysis on each team.

2018 Odds on Winning AFC East

You can see in the GBets odds below that the Patriots are easily favored to win the division once again. Keep in mind that these odds are subject to change until the 2018 regular season begins:

  • Buffalo +1200
  • Miami +1000
  • New England -600
  • New York Jets +1200

2018 AFC East Team Previews

New England (-600)

tom-brady-thumb-injury-1Tom Brady may be 41 years old, but he’s still among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. No. 12 is coming off an MVP campaign and will look to pick up where he left off last season.

New England will be handicapped to start the season when considering that receiver Julian Edelman is serving a four-game suspension.

However, Bill Belichick is a master at game planning for each week. That said, look for the Patriots to feature a short passing game that utilizes the talents of their running backs more frequently. Of course, the Brady-to–Gronk connection will also be seen quite a bit too.

Defensively, New England was the epitome of a bend-but-don’t-break team. They gave up the second most yards per play (5.7), but only allowed the fifth most points per contest (18.5).

Expect the defense to be better this year with the addition of tackle Danny Shelton, and Dont’a Hightower returning from injury. The secondary should also be better after they gained steam over the course of last season.

Overall, the Patriots will benefit from a weak division as well as having Brady and several other key pieces back. It’s completely understandable why they have -600 odds of winning the division right now.

Miami Dolphins (+1000)

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo BillsRyan Tannehill hasn’t played a down of regular season football in over a year and a half. The dolphins are anxious for his return from an ACL injury, given that he was 8-5 in 2016. One thing that will hamper Tannehill’s return is WR Jarvis Landry being traded to the Cleveland Browns.

The running back group leaves much to be desired. Kenyan Drake should play a lot after having some shining moments last season.

But 35-year-old Frank Gore is the closest thing to a backup. It also doesn’t help matters that the offensive line did a poor job of run blocking in 2017.

The Dolphins cut Ndamukong Suh in the offseason to part with his bloated salary. But the defensive line shouldn’t be too bad when considering that they still have good young defensive tackles in Davon Godchaux and Jordan Phillips. DE Robert Quinn was brought in to provide a strong pass-rushing duo along with Cameron Wake.

Corner Xavien Howard has very good coverage skills, while first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick and safety Reshad Jones round out a strong secondary. The only real weakness on this defense is the linebackers.

Miami doesn’t have the most-talented group in the AFC East. In fact, coach Adam Gase has made it a point to get rid of top players (Suh, Landry, Mike Pouncey, Jay Ajayi) who don’t fit the team culture. Maybe this clean-house approach will improve Miami, but I don’t see it resulting in a playoff spot.

Buffalo Bills (+1200)

lesean-mccoy-billsThe Bills relied on the run last year, and that won’t change in 2018. New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll also favors a run-heavy approach that will benefit this team.

LeSean McCoy returns as the team’s top rusher. But there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the domestic violence allegations against him. Furthermore, the offensive line will be missing three starters from the 2017 squad.

Buffalo added former Carolina receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the offseason. However, they still have the division’s worst receiving corp. The passing game will further be hampered by the fact that three young quarterbacks are competing for the top spot.

The Bills’ strength is their secondary, which is led by second year player Tre’Davious White, and safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. The defensive line wasn’t outstanding last season, but former Panthers tackle Star Lotuelei should give them a boost.

Buffalo vastly exceeded expectations in coach Sean McDermott’s first year by grabbing a postseason berth. Don’t expect this to happen again, though, since the team has even less talent and had some luck go their way in 2017.

New York Jets (+1200)

robby-anderson-jetsThe Jets look to be yet another offensively challenged team in the AFC East. Quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates takes over as the new offensive coordinator. He’ll work with Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, and Sam Darnold to get something going in the passing game.

Robby Anderson has become a a solid deep threat. The only problem, though, is that there’s not much else to like in the receiving unit.

Isaiah Crowell will be a decent starting running back, while Bilal Powell is one of the league’s best third down backs. Unfortunately, the running game will be held back by a bad offensive line.

Defense is the highlight of this team, even after losing linebacker Demario Davis and DE Muhammad Wilkerson in the offseason. Young players like LB Jordan Jenkins, LB Darron Lee, S Jamal Adams, and S Marcus Maye, and DE Leonard Williams should step up in 2018. They also signed former Rams corner Trumaine Johnson.

Overall, this is still a young team that’s rebuilding. But as Darnold and the defense gain some experience, the Jets could prepare for a strong run in 2019 and beyond.