NFL: AFC West Predictions 2022 - Are the Chiefs Still the Kings

After a flurry of offseason activity, the AFC West looks to be the NFL’s strongest, deepest, and most star-studded division. Patrick Mahomes should keep the Chiefs on top, but the Chargers, Raiders, and Broncos will all be on their tails.

AFC West Predictions 2022: Recommended bets

The Best Value on AFC West Futures and Season Props

Despite the loss of superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill (traded to the Dolphins), the Kansas City Chiefs shouldn’t struggle to bounce back from last year’s AFC Championship Game loss. Meanwhile, in Denver, Russell Wilson will help the Broncos find some balance on offense. Finally, the Raiders will come on as Derek Carr becomes more consistent with Davante Adams as his go-to guy. 

The race in the deep and highly competitive AFC West looks certain to be one of the 2022 NFL campaign’s most entertaining. Heading into the season, we’re looking at where the best AFC West Odds and where the teams stand in the sportsbooks, and where you can find the best value on futures and season props as we look at our AFC West predictions.

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AFC West Predictions:

Denver Broncos 

Hobbled down the stretch by inept quarterback play and, as a result, a toothless offense, the Broncos didn’t just miss the playoffs in 2021, but finished last in the AFC West at 7-10. This offseason, the front office delivered the top-tier quarterback that this franchise has been desperately seeking with the acquisition of Russell Wilson via trade from the Seattle Seahawks. 

With a talented receiver corps, solid running backs, and an improved offensive line, Wilson will not have to run for his life as often as he did in his last couple of years in Seattle. Wilson is approaching 34 years of age, meaning that the decline and increased injury risk that come with age may be approaching. Thus, in looking at the Broncos’ win total and playoff prop bets, for our AFC West predictions, we’re suggesting that bettors stay patient and see how Russ and the progress through the preseason.

AFC West Odds: Recommended bet

  • No recommended bet. Monitor numbers in the approach to the regular season.

Kansas City Chiefs 

  • 2021 Regular Season Record: 12-5-0.
  • Odds to Win Division: +150 at BetMGM.
  • Win total: OVER 10.5: -115 at BetMGM.
  • Odds to Make Playoffs: -210 at DraftKings.

In the wake of another AFC West crown (and another trip to the AFC Championship Game), the Kansas City Chiefs once again face a demanding schedule, with games against the Cardinals, Chargers, Buccaneers, and Bills in the first six weeks of the season. 

Fortunately for KC, now-27-year-old Patrick Mahomes (who ran for a career-high 381 yards in 2021) is guiding a Chiefs attack that should once again rank among the most dynamic in the NFL. Among Mahomes’ many strengths is the chemistry that he shares with all of his teammates. That trait will be especially vital this season, not only in working with offensive linemen but also with wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who will be asked to fill the massive void left by Tyreek Hill, who was traded to the Miami Dolphins. 

After that tough first few weeks (during which we expect this well-coached and battle-tested juggernaut to fare well), the Chiefs’ schedule (taking in the Colts, Jaguars, and Texans) sets up well for an 11- or 12-win regular season, which ought to be enough to edge out the Buffalo Bills for the top seed in the AFC, hence the best odds in the AFC West predictions. If you need a further reason, don’t forget the power of “home advantage” as Kansas City won eight of their last nine home games. Be sure to check out the best sportsbook bonuses to maximize any bets. 

We do expect the odds surrounding the Chiefs to change over the next few weeks. During their preseason match against the Packers, receiver Matt Bushman injured his shoulder during a final pass. In what's sure to be a disappointment for the Cheifs, this was a season of hope for Bushman. No further news has been released yet but we hope this is just a minor knock. 

AFC West Odds: Recommended bet

Las Vegas Raiders 

The Las Vegas Raiders remain a bit under the radar at the sportsbooks, both in terms of win total and odds to make the playoffs. This speaks volumes - though maybe in a good way. 

Throughout his NFL career, Derek Carr has never had a weapon like his former Fresno State teammate Davante Adams (Who has been traded from the Packers over in the NFC North Division) in the NFL. Thanks to a blockbuster trade, Adams - who’s not only one of the NFL’s top two or three receivers, but a close friend of Carr’s -  is now a Raider. The former college teammates should develop chemistry pretty quickly. With tight end Darren Waller and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow commanding attention in the passing game, and Carr benefitting from less pressure in the pocket and yet another excellent outlet, this could result in some massive numbers for Adams - something along the lines of 12-15 touchdowns, which could lead the NFL and, at +900, offers excellent value. 

Top NFL Receivers 21/22 Season

1

Cooper Kupp

145

2

Davante Adams

123

3

Tyreek Hill

111

Of concern for the Raiders is that not only has the rest of the division improved, but their 2021 success has them in line to face a tougher schedule. The good news is they’ve stacked up well against other teams in the division - even Kansas City. Rich Bisaccia had this team believing last year. They won four straight games just to get into the playoffs. 

This season, with a better offense, the Raiders should be able to win at least three of four against the AFC South. Also, they play beatable teams like the Steelers, Patriots, and 49ers. Some believe the Chargers and Broncos are teams the Raiders can still defeat.

This is an intriguing season in Vegas, and the Raiders could ride the Carr-Adams-led passing game to another surprisingly successful season in 2022. With their upgraded attack, the Raiders could win ten games again, sailing past their 8.5-win line. 

AFC West Odds: Recommended bet

Los Angeles Chargers 

Justin Hebert and the Los Angeles Chargers had high expectations last year and found a way to fail miserably. Not only missing the playoffs but doing so missed while their division rivals, the Chiefs and the Raiders (who beat them in Week 18 to qualify) made it to the postseason. 

Facing slightly lower projections, Herbert and company will need a little help in the red zone from one of the most inept rushing attacks in the NFL. They ranked 21st in the league at just 107 yards per game but trended below 100 throughout much of the second half of the season. While the ultra-talented Herbert must take the next step in his development, he needs to be able to count on his teammates - particularly those on defense - for some support. 

That defense, which allowed just 27 points per game (third-most in the league), has retooled. Among others, star cornerback C.J. Jackson signed as a free agent (from the Patriots), and superstar pass rusher Khalil Mack was acquired in a trade with the Bears, to complement Pro Bowl defenders Joey Bosa and Derwin James. 

In 2022, the Chargers can win this division but must maintain discipline and focus to avoid the mistakes that derailed them last season. Whether this team can live up to lofty expectations may come down to Weeks 15-18 against the Titans, Colts, Rams, and Broncos. 

Down the stretch last season, the Chargers lost three games simply because their defense couldn’t secure vital late-game stops. Unless the defense shows some serious improvement (again, the personnel is theoretically there), the Chargers could be the “odd team out” in the AFC West, once again in the eight-/nine-win range. It is rare to get plus money on such a bet. Here it may be worth a shot.

AFC West Odds: Recommended bet

FAQ

Who are the AFC West Champions?

The Chiefs have taken the title for the sixth consecutive season, a feat that has never been achieved before in the division. Scoring 36-10 over the Steelers, the Chiefs finished the season with a 12-5 record. 

Who will Win the AFC West Division? 

It's hard to see the Kansas City Chiefs period of dominance come to an end any time soon. Their schedule does raise some concerns, yet the caliber of players such as Mahomes and Hardman makes them safe bets within the AFC West division. 

Conclusion

It's going to be tough to find a more competitive league than the AFC West division. Interested in more football content? Be sure to read our guide: How To Bet on American Football or check out our picks for the AFC North league and the NFC North League and visit our odds comparison tool to compare the latest odds.

 

Written by Chris Wassel

Chris is an experienced sports betting writer who loves sports irrationally. From NHL to NASCAR to March Madness, he has covered it all, including a couple of Stanley Cups, several NHL Drafts, and award shows.   

He is a veteran writer with over 30 years of fantasy hockey experience contributing to several sports books and countless publications such as USA Today, The Hockey News, and Sportsnet.