2008 NFL Betting: Analyzing the AFC West

Take powerhouse San Diego out of the mix and the remaining members of the AFC West were a dismal 10-19-1 ATS outside the division last year. Denver, Kansas City and Oakland don’t look much stronger this year, either. (2007 regular season records in parentheses):

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (11-5 SU, 11-5 ATS, 10-5-1 O/U): The Chargers may have the most complete roster in the NFL but need to prove that RB LaDainian Tomlinson, TE Antonio Gates, QB Philip Rivers and C Nick Hardwick have fully recovered from serious injuries. The schedule is manageable, if you call home dates with New England and Indianapolis manageable, and the team has to be considered a Super Bowl contender. Bets and Pieces: San Diego is a fabulous 16-5-3 ATS in division play over the last four seasons.

By the Numbers (Regular Season, 1998-2007)

SU:  77-83

ATS: 83-70-7

HF:  28-17-2

HD:  17-16

AF:  14-14

AD:  24-23-5

Sportsbook Buster: The Chargers are a solid 28-17-2, including 6-1 last year, as a home favorite the past decade.

Sports Betting Angle: San Diego is 9-1 ATS versus Oakland, including six straight wins in the Bay Area.

DENVER BRONCOS (7-9 SU, 5-11 ATS, 11-4-1, O/U): The Broncos ranked 30th in the NFL in run defense last season, not nearly good enough when you have to face the Chargers’ Tomlinson, who helped SD beat Denver twice by a combined 64-6 score, last year. Coach Mike Shanahan’s knack for quick turnarounds could be aided by the NFL’s fourth easiest schedule, this season. Bets and Pieces: Since 1990, Denver is 20-7 ATS after a week’s rest. This year, it’s Miami, Nov. 2.

By the Numbers (Regular Season, 1998-2007)

SU:  97-83

ATS: 76-77-7

HF:  33-38-3

HD:   4-1-1

AF:  20-23-2

AD:  19-15-1

Sportsbook Buster: The Broncos have covered five straight against the Patriots in New England, where the teams meet Oct. 20.

Sports Betting Angle: Denver has covered six of its last seven home games against Kansas City.


KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-12 SU, 7-8-1 ATS, 8-8 O/U): The Chiefs enjoyed a banner draft, including highly regarded DT Glenn Dorsey and OT Branden Albert, but the loss of NFL sacks leader Jared Allen, who was peddled to Minnesota, and the still unsettled situation at quarterback hardly inspires confidence for any significant improvement. Bets and Pieces: Should KC earn a post-season berth, the team is 0-6 ATS in its last six playoff games.

By the Numbers (Regular Season, 1998-2007)

SU:  80-80

ATS: 79-75-6

HF:  30-24-3

HD:  11-9-3

AF:  12-18

AD:  26-24

Sportsbook Buster: Over the last decade, the Chiefs are 8-1-1 ATS in their division openers.

Sports Betting Angle: Kansas City has covered its last five visits to Oakland.


OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-12 SU, 6-10 ATS, 10-6, O/U): The Raiders hope that RB Darren McFadden, their top pick in the draft, will be a key factor in the development of QB JaMarcus Russell, the No. 1 choice overall a year earlier. Oakland plays only four teams that qualified for the playoffs last season but the Raiders still must address a run defense that ranked 31st in the NFL last year. Bets and Pieces: Oakland is 9-14-1 ATS within the division the last four seasons.

By the Numbers (Regular Season, 1998-2007)

SU:  68-92

ATS: 67-88-5

HF:  22-30-2

HD:   8-17-1

AF:   9-12-1

AD:  28-29-1

Sportsbook Buster: The Raiders are just 30-47-3 ATS at home the last 10 seasons.

Sports Betting Angle: Oakland has covered the spread four straight games against Denver.


SU  = Straight Up                        

ATS = Against the Spread                 

HF  = Home Favorite

HD  = Home Underdog

AF  = Away Favorite

AD  = Away Underdog

O/U = Over/Under

This is the fourth of an eight-part NFL preview series.

Next: Analyzing the NFC East