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AFC West: Win Totals and Record Predictions for Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders

by May 20, 2020

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The NFL schedule was released and one way to make a decent coin is betting on your favorite team’s projected win totals entering the season.

You can find some good value on NFL win total props following the draft and before any more trades happen or any season-altering injuries. In this article, I focus on an AFC West division that has one of the toughest schedules in the league this season.

Each team will have a breakdown of the 2020 season and what to expect with their schedule, returners, newcomers, my over/under win total pick and record prediction. Let’s kick it off with the defending West-champs, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Find consensus odds and over/unders for all teams’ win totals using BettingPros Team Future Lines >>

Kansas City Chiefs

  • 2019 Record: 12-4
  • 2020 Strength of Schedule: 128-128 (.500%) – Tied-18th Toughest
  • 2020 Win Total (FanDuel): Over 11.5 (-125) / Under 11.5 (+105)

Andy Reid won his first Super Bowl solidifying him as one of the NFL’s greats last season with the help of the Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes enters this decade as currently the best quarterback in the league, and perhaps he will be the best over the next 10 years as well.

2020 gives them a favorable schedule to repeat, but they did themselves a few favors through the draft.

The running back committee received a much-needed boost selecting Clyde Edwards-Helaire (CEH) 32nd overall to split shares with Damien Williams. After the LeSean McCoy project, Any Reid is going to turn to CEH as the future three-down back with Williams contract ending after this season making him an unrestricted free agent.

The defense lost LB Reggie Ragland, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, CB Kendall Fuller, and OL Stefen Wisniewski to free agency giving them gaps, but they filled all four positions via four of their five picks second-round and beyond. The defense was tied-10th in takeaways last season (23) and tied-fifth in interceptions (16). Another solid season defensively will be the make or break between them and Baltimore for the top overall seed and the now-only bye week in the playoffs.

Kansas City is due for another big season and I don’t have to spend much time convincing you why I predict them to be the No. 1 seed and own the best overall record in the NFL in 2020. They open the season on Thursday Night Football versus Houston, and few teams will be able to beat the reigning champs in Arrowhead this season, including the Texans.

Week 1 Vs Texans, TNF Chiefs win Week 9 Vs Panthers Chiefs win
Week 2 At Chargers Chiefs win Week 11 At Raiders, SNF Chiefs win
Week 3 At Ravens, MNF Chiefs win Week 12 At Buccaneers Bucs win
Week 4 Vs Patriots Chiefs win Week 13 Vs Broncos, SNF Chiefs win
Week 5 Vs Raiders Chiefs win Week 14 At Dolphins Chiefs win
Week 6 At Bills, TNF Chiefs win Week 15 At Saints Saints win
Week 7 At Broncos Chiefs win Week 16 Vs Falcons Chiefs win
Week 8 Vs Jets Chiefs win Week 17 Vs Chargers Chiefs win

2020 Record Prediction: 14-2

The only two-loss team in the league this year by my prediction, only the Ravens, Bills, Bucs, and Saints have enough all-around talent to contend with the Chiefs. The offense ranked top five in points per game (28.2) and passing yards per game (281.1) in 2019 with Mahomes out for two games, I expect them to lead the league in both categories this season.

Kansas City’s first six games will offer up some quality competition before the middle of the schedule they hit a lull where they should win every game from Week 7-11. Their December strength of schedule could look very promising once the winter rolls around, and if I were you, I’d back the Chiefs to win more than 11 games.

The Pick: Over 11.5 (-125) on FanDuel Sportsbook

Denver Broncos

  • 2019 Record: 7-9
  • 2020 Strength of Schedule: 131-125 (0.512%) – 12th Toughest
  • 2020 Win Total (FanDuel): Over 7.5 (-110) / Under 7.5 (-110)

The Denver Broncos tried to make a difference in that locker room and they succeeded this offseason. A reload of talent built around Drew Lock at quarterback and Von Miller on defense leads me to believe Denver is going to be an improved team this season and next, but enough for an 8-8 or better season?

Adding wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler boost the passing attack with Cortland Sutton and tight end Noah Fant is just what Lock ordered. Add in Melvin Gordon from the division rival Chargers and you have a nice mixture of pace in the backfield with Phillip Lindsay and Gordon. After those two wideout selections, the Broncos had eight more draft picks and split down the middle with four on defense and offense apiece.

The biggest moves and most influencing of the offseason for Denver were the additions of cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey through trade. Immediate veterans and impact players for an already solid defense provide Lock some confidence playing his entertaining style of signal-calling.

Denver’s 2020 schedule kicks off on Monday Night Football vs the Titans and their first five games will be a tough stretch of football, but when they make it to December, it’ll be a favorable month for the Broncos to make a playoff push. Here are my 2020 predictions for Denver.

Week 1 Vs Titans, MNF Titans win Week 10 At Raiders Raiders win
Week 2 At Steelers Steelers win Week 11 Vs Chargers Broncos win
Week 3 Vs Buccaneers Broncos win Week 12 Vs Saints Saints win
Week 4 At Jets, TNF Broncos win Week 13 At Chiefs, SNF Chiefs win
Week 5 At Patriots Patriots win Week 14 At Panthers Broncos win
Week 6 Vs Dolphins Broncos win Week 15 Vs Bills Bills win
Week 7 Vs Chiefs Chiefs win Week 16 At Chargers Chargers win
Week 9 At Falcons Broncos win Week 17 Vs Raiders Broncos win

2020 Record Prediction: 7-9

The Broncos have a very interesting and tough schedule. They won’t get too many back-to-back winnable games as their 12th-toughest schedule appears to be a little tougher than it appears. The five out of division home games are going to test Denver and outside of Miami, they all could end up in losses, realistically.

In the first five games, it is going to make or break the rest of the season with games versus four potential playoff teams. Expect the fruits of Denver’s offseason labor to strike rich in 2021, but enjoy the entertaining brand of Broncos-football in 2020 under Drew Lock as the learning experiment continues.

The Pick: Under 7.5 wins on FanDuel Sportsbook (-110)

Las Vegas Raiders

  • 2019 Record: 7-9
  • 2020 Strength of Schedule: 127-129 (0.496%) – 21st toughest
  • 2020 Win Total (FanDuel): Over 7.5 (-105) / Under 7.5 (-115)

Now, in Las Vegas, this season was going to be more about the stadium, atmosphere, and hell, football in Las Vegas, but now that may not be the case with coronavirus. If there are no fans in this stadium, Vegas for the first time has lost a lot of money and we could see the team see the repercussions of no fans.

Derek Carr remains QB1 despite the signing of Marcus Mariota in the offseason. The Raiders added a wide receiver and fastest player in the 2020 class, Henry Ruggs III in the first round (No. 11) of the NFL Draft making Al Davis proud. They also selected two more receivers and surprised everyone with cornerback Damon Arnette in the first round with their second selection at No. 19.

Las Vegas made a slight splash in 2020 free agency outside of Mariota, signing CB Eli Apple, LB Cory Littleton, DE Carl Nassib, and TE Jason Witten. Those aren’t going to build them into AFC West contenders or dark-horse for the Super Bowl, but they’re solid additions to a team that’s still figuring out their identity.

Despite having the 21st toughest strength of schedule, the Raider’s first nine games of their schedule are brutal. I have a hard time finding wins for a Vegas team outside of Carolina and Los Angeles (Chargers).

Week 1 At Panthers Panthers win Week 10 Vs Broncos Raiders win
Week 2 Vs Saints, MNF Saints win Week 11 Vs Chiefs, SNF Chiefs win
Week 3 At Patriots Patriots win Week 12 At Falcons Raiders win
Week 4 Vs Bills Bills win Week 13 At Jets Raiders win
Week 5 At Chiefs Chiefs win Week 14 Vs Colts Colts win
Week 7 Vs Buccaneers, SNF Buccaneers win Week 15 Vs Chargers, TNF Raiders win
Week 8 At Browns Browns win Week 16 Vs Dolphins Raiders win
Week 9 At Chargers Chargers win Week 17 At Broncos Broncos win

2020 Record Prediction: 5-11

Call me a Raider-hater, but I see a similar season for them as the Jets had in 2019. The Jets found their stride the second half of the season winning six of their final eight games. The final eight games for Las Vegas are far more favorable than the first eight.

Four of their first five games come against 2019 playoff teams and all four of their primetime games could end up in losses, but I give them a win over the Chargers on TNF in Vegas making them 1-3 in the new arena under the lights.

They began 2019 at 3-4, but this year, I can’t bring myself to three wins for Vegas until Weeks 9 or 10. Back the under in Vegas’ first season and knock on wood if you’re with me.

The Pick: Under 7.5 (-115) on FanDuel Sportsbook

Los Angeles Chargers

  • 2019 Record: 5-11
  • 2020 Strength of Schedule: 126-130 (.492%) – 23rd Toughest
  • 2020 Win Total (FanDuel): Over 8 (-110) / Under 8 (-110)

The Chargers enter a new-era removed from Philip Rivers who’s started every game since 2004. Replacing him and 400 total regular-season touchdowns over that span are now say task but Head Coach Anthony Lynn has turned to Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert.

Not the ideal quarterback situation after losing Melvin Gordon, but the team resigned TE Hunter Henry and still have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams out wide with Austin Ekeler and rookie Joshua Kelly in the backfield. L.A.’s offense is going to take a step back in 2020, and the defense will be the main provider of wins for Lynn’s Chargers.

The Chargers passed the ball 37.3 times per game in 2019 (T-10th) and there’s no way they throw that many times with Taylor under center. There will be more designed runs for him, run-pass options, and plays to involve Ekeler who caught 92 passes last season, the second-most among running backs. Taylor’s career-high pass attempts in a season was 29.0 in 2016 with Buffalo.

The Chargers defense finished sixth overall in total yards per game (313.1), fifth in passing yards (200.3), and 14th in points per game (21.6). The downfall of the defense was a lack of turnovers (14) finishing last in the league despite giving the ball away 31 times, the fourth-most in the league. Taylor has never thrown more than six interceptions in a season and that will be the main priority of the offense moving forward.

The 2020 schedule isn’t a necessarily tough one for L.A., but there’s plenty of room for error especially late in the season. I expect the Chargers to get off to a solid start, but betting on them to have a winning season is tough to project and expect.

Week 1 At Bengals Chargers win Week 9 Vs Raiders Chargers win
Week 2 Vs Chiefs Chiefs win Week 11 At Broncos Broncos win
Week 3 Vs Panthers Chargers win Week 12 At Bills Bills win
Week 4 At Buccaneers Buccaneers win Week 13 Vs Patriots Patriots win
Week 5 At Saints, MNF Saints win Week 14 Vs Falcons Falcons win
Week 6 Vs Jets Chargers win Week 15 at Raiders, TNF Raiders win
Week 7 At Dolphins Dolphins win Week 16 Vs Broncos Chargers win
Week 8 Vs Jaguars Chargers win Week 17 At Chiefs Chiefs win

2020 Record Prediction: 5-11

I love the Chargers defense this season, but I find them in a similar situation as Las Vegas but hitting their strides at the opposite times. L.A. had an issue with home games last year as their fans were often outnumbered by the opposition.

This year they welcome Atlanta, Carolina, Jacksonville, New York (Jets), and New England as their out-of-division opponents. If they go 3-2 or better during that stretch then L.A. could be in store for the No. 2 in the AFC West with strong division play. However, an 8-8 season under Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert seems unlikely with the toughness of this schedule even for its ranking of 23rd.

Look for L.A. to struggle again and another quarterback competition to brew for Taylor’s starting role.

The Pick: Under 8 (-110) on FanDuel Sportsbook

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Vaughn Dalzell is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Vaughn, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @VaughnDalzell.