- The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers have each lost two games in a row
- The Oakland Raiders have won two in a row, both times winning outright as a big underdog, and sit second in the division standings
- See how the odds to win the AFC West have changed after Week 6
As bizarre as it might sound, the Oakland Raiders are a game out of first place in the AFC West. They’ve won two in a row while the Kansas City Chiefs have lost two in a row, and now we’ve got a race in the division.
With the Chiefs’ slump, is there value betting the Raiders on the NFL division odds or is there no chance they catch KC in the AFC West?
2019 AFC West Odds
|Kansas City Chiefs||-300|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+700|
*Odds taken 10/14/19
Chiefs Struggle for Second Straight Week
The Chiefs have lost in back-to-back weeks, which is quite surprising for the team that started 4-0 and looked like one of the primary Super Bowl contenders.
Their defense has been shredded, giving up 372 rushing yards and 60 first downs in their last two, along with about 38 minutes of possession per game.
On offense, everything has gone awry as quarterback Patrick Mahomes is dealing with an ankle injury. While he’s still playing, his numbers have clearly dipped since he hurt himself.
Mahomes completed 69.1% of his passes with a 12.3 yards-per-attempt and a 141.1 passer rating before the injury. He also had five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Since the injury, Mahomes has completed 57.1% of his passes with a 6.0 yards-per-attempt average and a passer rating of 80.0. He has just two touchdowns, one pick and he had four turnover-worthy plays on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Chiefs have no semblance of a running game and their defense has been abysmal. Mahomes was the man who was magically orchestrating all of this but with the bum ankle, the team has completely come apart.
Raiders Have Been Competitive
While bettors and experts keep waiting on the Oakland Raiders to collapse, this year’s team has been very together and very competitive. Sitting as sizable dogs in each of the last two weeks, the Raiders have picked up road wins at Indianapolis and in London over the Chicago Bears.
Say what you want about Derek Carr but he’s completing 73.3% of his passes this season; he has four touchdowns and just one interception over his last three games, posting a passer rating over 100 in that span.
In case you’re keeping track, that’s much better than Mahomes over that span.
A big key to the team’s success has been the offensive line, which is now among the best in the business. They’ve paved the way for rookie runner Josh Jacobs, who has 430 rushing yards at a 4.9 yards per carry average. If the Raiders can continue to run the ball and avoid turnovers, they’ll be competitive all season.
Chargers Are Fading
While the Oakland Raiders have gone from +2100 to win the AFC West down to +600 over the last couple of weeks, the Los Angeles Chargers have gone in the opposite direction. At one point in the offseason, they were as short as +175, but they’re now up at +800.
A lot of people remember the Chargers from last season, who were 12-4 and among the best teams in the NFL. Sure, they still have Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa, but this team is a shadow of their former selves. Just because they have a few talented players, it doesn’t make them a competent team.
Looking back on the Chargers’ season, this is a team that has only topped the Miami Dolphins and the Indianapolis Colts in overtime. And remember, that Colts win came on a day when Adam Vinatieri missed two field goals and an extra point. The Chargers are essentially a kick or two away from being 1-5.
Playing behind a terrible offensive line, Rivers has been pressured a lot. The team has no running game to speak of as they’re averaging a paltry 80.2 rushing yards per game, which is 27th in the NFL. The return of Melvin Gordon has had no impact on the team.
With the defense also dealing with a slew of injuries to key pieces, they’re simply hanging on each week. The Chargers are low-key one of the worst teams in the NFL, and with a tough schedule coming up, I expect them to finish in last place in this division.
What’s The Best Bet?
Oakland has been competitive but I don’t expect them to hang around.
Coming up for them in the next three weeks are games against the Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, and Detroit Lions. They actually have an easy schedule down the stretch, which should pave the way for them claiming a wild card spot, but they’re not the best team in this division.
There’s no question that the Chiefs have struggled over the last couple of weeks and there’s no value here at -340. They’ll have a tough time over the next three weeks with Denver (on a short week), Green Bay, and Minnesota.
At the end of the day, I expect them to get it together and win the West, but I’m not up for laying money at this price.
If Mahomes’ ankle injury gets any worse and he has to miss time, KC could easily fall out of first place. I’ll pass on their divisional odds for now but I do see them eventually winning the West.
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