ASA’s AFC WEST PREDICTIONS – Aug, 12 2019

AFC West

Los Angeles Chargers – 2018 Record (12-4) – ATS Record (9-7) – Over/Under Record (8-8)

  • Yards Per Game Differential +39
  • Point Differential +99

2019 ASA prediction – Play OVER 9.5 Wins for the LA Chargers

While we do feel the Chargers weren’t quite as good as their 12-4 record might have indicated last year, to put them at 9.5 wins this year is simply too low.  We think 10-6 might actually be a worst case scenario for this team in 2019.  The one down side to the Chargers schedule is they do lose a home game vs the Chiefs which will be played in Mexico City.  However, they have almost no home field advantage playing at the Dignity Health Soccer Park near LA.  The good news is they have been excellent on the road going 7-1 last year with wins @ Pittsburgh, @ KC, and @ Seattle.  They are a very solid 11-5 on the road the last 2 seasons.  The offensive line was drastically improved last year and rated as one of the top run blocking lines in the NFL.  That opened up the running game with Melvin Gordon having a big season which in turn helped the passing game for QB Phillip Rivers leading to his highest QBR since 2013.  The defense ranked in the top 10 in total defense, YPP allowed, and defensive efficiency per Football Outsiders.  The schedule lays out nicely as we have the Chargers favored in their first 7 games and potentially favored in 13 of their 16 regular season games.  They should get to 10 wins at a minimum pushing them OVER this number.

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Denver Broncos – 2018 record (6-10) – ATS Record (6-9-1) – Over/Under Record (3-12-1)

  • Yards Per Game Differential -15
  • Point Differential -20

2019 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 7 Wins for the Denver Broncos

What do the oddsmakers think of Denver’s acquisition of QB Joe Flacco?  Apparently not much.  Last year the Broncos had their win total set at 7.5 with Case Keenum under center (they won 6) and this year Denver was tabbed at 7 wins with Flacco.  The Broncos must adjust to a new QB this year along with an entirely new coaching staff.  Former Chicago defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, takes over as a first time head coach.  Fangio, known as a defensive wizard, should drastically improve a Denver stop unit that struggled last year after leading the NFL in total defense in 2017.  Can the offense function at a high level under Flacco?  We’re not so sure.  We’ve never been huge Flacco fans.  He was injured much of last year and when he did come back he couldn’t win his job back from rookie Lamar Jackson.  He has a solid offensive line and very good running game with RB Lindsay coming off a 1,000 yard season.  They have a fairly tough schedule with 7 of their 16 opponents making the playoffs last year.  With both the Chiefs and Chargers in the division, it will be tough.  As of now, we have them favored in just 4, maybe 5 games this season.  We think 7-9 would be a solid season for Denver and the likelihood of 6 wins is stronger than 8 wins.  Slight lean to the UNDER.    

Kansas City Chiefs – 2018 record (12-4) – ATS Record (9-6-1) – Over/Under Record (10-5-1)

  • Yards Per Game Differential +20
  • Point Differential +144

2019 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 10.5 Wins for the KC Chiefs

The Chiefs were set at 7.5 total wins last year and have jumped a full 3 games to 10.5.  They caught the league by surprise last year with Mahomes lighting it up as a first year starting QB.  We feel that the Chiefs will take a step back offensively this year as their opponents now have a full year of film and time to adjust to KC’s high octane attack.  On top of that they already lost RB Hunt and now the status of WR Hill is up in the air with his legal issues.  This offense jumped 10 PPG and nearly 40 YPG last season from their 2017 production.  There almost has to be some regression on offense this year in our opinion.  If that happens, we don’t see this game getting to 11 wins this year.  Their defense stunk ranking 31st in total defense but with the offense scoring 35 PPG, the stop unit didn’t have to be very good.  They will have to take a big step forward defensively in order for this team to have the success they had last year.  The Chiefs only outgained their opponents by 20 YPG but held a large turnover edge (+9 on the season) and led the NFL in explosive plays with 76 plays of 20+ yards (1st in NFL) and 15 plays of 40+ yards (3rd in NFL).  With the loss of their most dynamic RB (Hunt) and some question marks at WR those numbers should drop this year.  The road schedule isn’t overly tough although their final 2 roadies @ New England and @ Chicago prove to be very difficult.  At home they face multiple playoff teams including the Chargers, Ravens, Texans, Colts, along with Vikings and Packers who have been perennial contenders as of late.  We’ll call for KC to finish 10-6 giving us the UNDER here. 

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Oakland Raiders – 2018 record (4-12) – ATS Record (6-10) – Over/Under Record (6-9-1)

  • Yards Per Game Differential -45
  • Point Differential -177

2019 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 6 Wins for Oakland Raiders

The Raiders are coming off a terrible 4 win season under head coach Jon Gruden.  Many expect Oakland to be among the worst teams in the NFL again this year but let’s not forget this team won 12 games in 2016 and then 6 in 2017.  They’ve had a big turnover in personnel since that 12 win season but we think Gruden in his 2nd year with Oakland will have them slightly improved.  Tough call with the number set this low but we’ll call for a 5-11 season taking this one UNDER the total.  QB Derek Carr quietly had a decent year in 2018 with over 4,000 yards passing and a career high 69% completion rate.  He was sacked a whopping 52 times so the O Line is an issue.  Carr has a new top notch target on board with WR Antonio Brown coming over from the Steelers.  The problem is, Brown is used to winning and was still a malcontent with Pitt.  What happens when he joins a losing franchise?  Probably not much positive there.  The schedule is very tough the first 7 weeks as the Raiders will be underdogs in all but maybe their home opener vs Denver.  They play 4 road games in 5 weeks from late September to late October with games @ Minnesota, @ Green Bay, @ Minnesota, and @ Houston!  A 1-6 or even 0-7 start to the season is not completely out of the question here.  At that point this team could simply collapse.  The Raiders travel more miles this year (over 32,000!) than any other team in the NFL including a long trip to London.  Again, we think 5 wins is feasible which keeps this UNDER the number.