The AFC West is not only clearly the best division in the NFL, based on regular season win totals released Thursday by Caesars Sportsbook. Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen argues it’s historically great.
“I would say the AFC West is the best division I’ve ever seen,” Pullen said. “These are four playoff-caliber teams: an improved Broncos team, a Chargers team that has been close but many people expect to make a run, and a Raiders team that already made the playoffs last year.
“Obviously, the Chiefs are the Chiefs. It just stands apart as the toughest, for sure. Every division game should be interesting.”
The AFC West is the only division to boast three teams with double-digit win totals in Kansas City (10½), Denver (10) and Los Angeles (10).
The Raiders have a win total of 8½. That number would be good for second-best in six of the other seven divisions and is higher than any other team with the lowest win total in its division.
There are nine teams with double-digit win totals overall. The Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers lead the league with 11½ wins each.
“The league is so balanced right now that it’s hard to put up a win total of 12,” Pullen said. “The parity’s there. There’s so many good teams out there. We saw it last year with the Bengals coming out of nowhere to make it to the Super Bowl.
“Even with the extra game, it’s hard to see a team that’s going to win 13 or 14 games. With all the player movement, it lends itself to more uncertainty and just more balance.”
The reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys are tied with the Chiefs at 10½, while the San Francisco 49ers are tied with the Chargers and Broncos at 10.
Five other AFC teams are at 9½ in Cincinnati, the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts.
The AFC North, where the Pittsburgh Steelers bring up the rear with 7½ wins, is second to the AFC West (39) in combined wins with 36.
“A lot of people could be thinking that there may be a bounce factor coming with the Bengals,” Pullen said. “Then there’s the Ravens. I think they’re viewed as equals to the Bengals even though they didn’t make the playoffs last year. You also have an improved Browns team on paper.
“If (Deshaun) Watson gets suspended, they still have (Baker) Mayfield in the fold for now and he’s serviceable. It’s no guarantee Watson will step in and be like he was before immediately, either. The Bengals are still favored to win 10 games, so it’s not like they’re being disrespected. They’re not that far off from the highest win totals, but they have a tough division.”
The Arizona Cardinals are at 9 in the NFC West, which is third in combined wins at 35½.
The Raiders are in a pack of five teams tied for 16th in the league in win totals at 8½. The others are the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings.
The bottom five teams are the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers at 6; the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons at 5½; and the Houston Texans with a league-low 4½.
“I think the toughest win totals to set are the teams at the bottom,” Pullen said. “A lot of times, people like to bet those overs on the low totals, so you have to gauge just how bad are they.
“Each team has their own questions, but a bunch of our guys have gone over their numbers and we haven’t seen any drastic differences.”