What to make of these “To Win AFC West in 2020” odds

Monday, 09 March 2020 17:54 EST

It’s way too early to be thinking about NFL proposition bets like the “To Win AFC West in 2020” prop – or is it? Fair enough, so just don’t go betting the entire bankroll on such props and simply earmark opportunities to exploit a tiny advantage.

The odds table on the “To Win AFC West in 2020” prop are as follows:

Kansas City Chiefs: -500
“Los Angeles” Chargers: 7/1
Las Vegas Raiders: 10/1
Denver Broncos: 12/1

The most obvious recommendations are all about those top two on the table. At 1/5 odds, the Chiefs currently enjoy Patriots-like short odds and, while not exactly providing great value, seem like a pretty solid bet. Most of the key “skill players” and lineman should keep the offense intact, and the attraction of playing for the Super Bowl champions (as well as contenders for seemingly some time to come) will certainly help fill any remaining gaps. If there’s one team prop you make this offseason, it should probably be this one – though you may want to hedge come free-agency time.

But not on the Chargers. NFLbets figures the only reason for this line is that more are betting on this essentially homeless team than support them as fans. Quite frankly, NFLbets is looking for the Chargers to finish last in this division in 2020 after a 2019 that looked well worse than 5-11 SU (4-9-3 ATS). And after a season of likely the lowest gate and paraphernalia sales in the league by a long shot, how much will the Chargers be spending in free agency? And aside from location, what will draw any of the name QBs on the open market here? If you’re making this bet, you’re figuring on probably the greatest draft of all-time by a single team. Also, you’re throwing your money away.

Denver seems like a decently attractive option at 12/1, until one recalls the basically complete lack of production at the quarterback position since John Elway took over as team president. (Okay, things haven’t been a complete bust, like when Payton Manning was resurrected by the voodoo priest after leaving Indianapolis and managed a few decent bits of seasons, but when your second-best QB of the past 20 years is Jake Plummer, yeah, well.)

On the other hard, Denver closed the season 5-1 SU, while the Chargers closed out with a 1-6 “run.” NFLbets puts some stock into teams closing the previous season badly or well, but is Drew Lock really the answer?

Finally, there are those Las Vegas Raiders. Look: This entire proposition bet hinges on whether you believe the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster will take enough hits (i.e. one, to Patrick Mahomes) to kill their season or at least a fair amount, thus allowing the would-be second-place finisher to leapfrog the unfortunate KC side. These Raiders, if you squint enough and apply some imagination, might just kinda sorts resemble that team.

Jon Gruden has done a nice job on draft days building up a team with a top-5 offesnive line and a top-10 secondary. They’re now one of the youngest teams in the league and they’re certainly way up there in favorable contracts (not yet a metric with official records).

The equation, of course, is easy. You’re not throwing any money – even a hedge – on Vegas in this prop until we learn what the team does in free agency at quarterback. And the equation is simple: Tom Brady is certainly the only answer for the quarterback guru. Jacoby Brissette might in the medium term prove a great pickup but if the Raiders want to win in season 1 in Vegas a la the Golden Knights, the only QB NFLbets believes whom Chucky will believe in enough to let loose and, you know, win is Brady. In addition, rumor has it that Antonio Brown wants to sign where Brady does – and what team seems more natural to give the miscreant a chance?

The recommendation: Cover the Chiefs right now at -500 and, should Gruden & Co. win the Brady sweepstakes, immediately wager before the odds turn on the Raiders at +1000 or thereabouts.