Chiefs still heavy favorites in crowded AFC West, but Chargers offer far more value
The four teams in the AFC West are separated by just one game. In fact, the top three are separated by just a half-game, and are tied in the loss column. It’s a fascinating race to look at, and the betting odds tell a pretty strange story.
The Kansas City Chiefs throttled the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night to move to 6-4. The Raiders dropped to 5-4, which ties them with the Los Angeles Chargers. Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos are in the cellar at 5-5.
AFC West odds don't reflect the standings
Despite the tight race, the Chiefs are pretty heavy favorites at -110 as of this writing. The Chargers are +160, the Raiders are +900, and the Broncos are dark horses (pun absolutely intended) at +1200. The odds don’t reflect the current standings, and while I’ve been urging folks not to hit the panic button when it comes to the Chiefs, -110 is just too short a price. It disregards how close the division is, and while Kansas City certainly looks like the most talented team in the division, that talent has been very inconsistent so far this year.
AFC West 2021/2022
Sun, January 9 2022, 9:25 PM
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers
Las Vegas Raiders
Chargers are undefeated against divisional rivals
My recommended play is in the City of Angels. The Chargers are +160, and I think that’s a fair price, even after their recent loss at home to Minnesota. Their three other losses came to the Cowboys, Ravens, and Patriots, all decent teams, and they’re currently 2-0 against divisional rivals.
The Chargers have a talented young quarterback in Justin Herbert, who is brilliant on his best day. Playmakers Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, and Keenan Allen can stretch any defense, and the offensive line does a nice job of keeping Herbert upright.
The remaining schedule favors LA
LA also has a pretty friendly schedule the rest of the way. They’ll face the Broncos twice and play the Chiefs and Raiders once each (the Chargers beat both teams earlier in the campaign). Additionally, they face subpar teams in the Giants and Texans next month, and while the Steelers and Bengals are respectable, it’s not like either squad is elite.
If Herbert can continue progressing, the Chargers may be a team to fear not just this season, but going forward. At +160, they at least provide a shred of value compared to Kansas City, and that’s where I’d recommend putting money down.