AFC West Odds: Should the Chiefs Still Be Favored to Win This Division?

profile image of Nikki.Adams
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs before the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP.

The Kansas City Chiefs may not be the top favorites to win Super Bowl LVII, but they remain the top favorites to win the AFC West in 2022 across multiple sportsbooks and betting sites.

After a hectic free agency market that saw key trade moves and departures out of Kansas and following an intense 2022 NFL draft that radicalized the AFC West as a whole, this NFL betting market outlook has come under extreme scrutiny for several reasons.

In the main, it has raised a healthy debate about the merit of the Chiefs’ future odds and, in turn, whether they warrant such blatant favoritism.

Well, the simple answer to this question is a resounding yes.

AFC West Current Odds

  • Kansas City Chiefs +175
  • LA Chargers +225
  • Denver Broncos +260
  • Las Vegas Raiders +650

*All odds available with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

Yes, the Chiefs deserve to be considered as the team to beat in the AFC West. NFL odds are a function of many factors, one of which is precedence. What happens in the previous season(s) goes a long way toward determining the market outlook.

Where the AFC West is concerned, the Chiefs have reigned supreme since 2016! Hence, they are quite rightly the favorites going into 2022, and until proven otherwise, it’s impossible to justify raising the NFL odds profile for another team at their expense.

Chiefs’ AFC West History

The Kansas City Chiefs have exacted a historic dominance over the AFC West that brooks no argument, culminating in their sixth consecutive division title in 2021. No other franchise in NFL history has ever accomplished six straight divisional wins.

The Chiefs ascended to the top of the division following Peyton Manning’s retirement in 2015 after the Hall of Fame quarterback led the Denver Broncos to victory in Super Bowl 50.

Ever since then, head coach Andy Reid has led Kansas to the summit of the AFC West and beyond. In 2016 and 2017, he navigated his side to the division title with veteran quarterback Alex Smith at the helm.

However, in 2018, Reid traded away Smith and handed the reins to his 2017 draft pick, Patrick Mahomes. That bold move proved to be franchise-defining, leading to the Chiefs ultimately snapping a 50-year drought to win Super Bowl 54.

Mahomes’s Season Performances

Mahomes took the Chiefs to stratospheric levels in the NFL, unseen in over five decades in Kansas City. Under Mahomes, the Chiefs have reached the AFC Championship or better in every single season.

In his first year as the starter, Mahomes led the Chiefs to the conference championship game. In 2019, he led the Chiefs to Super Bowl 54 glory.

In 2020, the Chiefs reached Super Bowl 55 only to lose to the Tom Brady-inspired Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last year, the Chiefs fell to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game.

By the stats, the Chiefs top the league since 2016 with an 80-30-0 SU record. That’s a 72.7% winning ratio. The next best team after the Chiefs are the New England Patriots with a 75-33-0 record, albeit that mark is largely built on the partnership between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady up until its end in 2019.

Chiefs’ Performance Beyond AFC West

Since 2016, the Chiefs’ dominance over the AFC West is league-leading. They boast a 31-5-0 record against their neighbors. That’s an 86.1% winning ratio.

The next most dominant team versus its division during this same span is the Dallas Cowboys with a 26-10-0 record and a 72.2% winning ratio.

From the time Mahomes took over as the offensive pivot, the Chiefs are 20-4-0 against the division. That’s an 83.3% winning ratio.

Additionally, the Chiefs lead the league in conference games with a 43-14-0 record in the Mahomes era. That’s a 75.45 winning ratio.

Which Players Did the Chiefs Lose?

A lot has changed during this offseason with the Chiefs bidding adieu to wide receiver Tyreek Hill (traded to the Miami Dolphins) and safety Tyrann Mathieu (New Orleans Saints). As well, more departures from the Sunflower State came in the form of cornerback Charvarius Ward, defensive end Melvin Ingram, and linebacker Anthony Hitchens.

These are noteworthy moves that will change the Chiefs’ makeup on paper, no ifs or buts about it. These moves make up part of the reason why some in the punditocracy believe the Chiefs could be posed to take a step back in 2022.

Another contributing factor, and arguably the biggest of all, is the widespread improvement across the field with the Chargers, Broncos, and Raiders taking major steps to better their rosters.

AFC West Teams Improvement

If ever there was a unifying goal among these teams, it would be to depose the Chiefs from their AFC West throne.

The AFC West has been one of the busiest divisions in the league, with each team fortifying its ranks substantially in order to give the Chiefs a run for its money next season.

The Denver Broncos got the ball rolling by trading for Russell Wilson in the offseason from the Seattle Seahawks.

The Las Vegas Raiders hired Josh McDaniels as the new head coach. They then lured wide receiver, Davante Adams, away from the Green Bay Packers and signed former Arizona Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones.

The Los Angeles Chargers added cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. and pass rusher Khalil Mack, to name a few.

AFC West Betting Verdict

Undoubtedly, every single team in the AFC West has improved, setting up one of the most competitive divisions for 2022. At the same time, there are more questions about the Chiefs than ever before. Altogether, therefore, it’s reasonable to expect the Chiefs to face challenges in their title defense campaign next season.

That said, Reid and Mahomes are constants that one can hang their hats on for NFL picks. As well, Eric Bieniemy is still the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs and Mahomes still has his core group in place, namely his go-to target, Travis Kelce.

Change isn’t always a bad thing, nor is a reason to jump off the Kansas City bandwagon. Keep in mind, that the Chiefs have experience and championship pedigree.

Thus, there is good reason to believe that the Chiefs will be tough to beat in 2022. Put it another way, until proven otherwise, the Chiefs must be the team to beat.