Broncos set to dominate the AFC West in 2013 and beyond

Doug Pensinger

The latest Las Vegas odds and salary cap numbers help us draw one conclusion - the Denver Broncos are set to remain masters of the AFC West for the foreseeable future.

This isn't a comparison of rosters or depth charts across the AFC West division. That analysis could almost end with: "The Denver Broncos have Peyton Manning, and the rest of the AFC West teams do not."

This is a comparison of data - some statistical and hypothetical, and some scientific and straightforward - illustrating that the Denver Broncos are and should be the heavy favorites to win their division in 2013 and for the foreseeable future.

(Of course, we already know that. What I really want to illustrate is how heavily the Broncos are favored to win their division.)

(They're the heaviest.)

According to updated odds from the Las Vegas Hilton (via National Football Post), the Broncos sit at 1/7 odds to win the AFC West, followed by a tie between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, with the Oakland Raiders trailing far behind. Those odds are huge - you'd only win a dollar off a seven dollar bet - and make them the most favored division winner across the NFL, only followed closely by the New England Patriots at 1/6 odds to win their AFC East division.

Team Odds
Denver Broncos 1/7
San Diego Chargers 8/1
Kansas City Chiefs 8/1
Oakland Raiders 20/1

Now take into account salary cap space. You would think with such unbalanced odds that the Denver Broncos would be the heaviest spenders in the division.

(They're the lightest.)

The latest salary cap numbers indicate that the Broncos have the most cap room in the AFC West, $10.69 million, while the three bottom-dwellers are sitting in tighter financial worlds.

Team Cap Space
Denver Broncos $10,697,563
Oakland Raiders $7,628,004
Kansas City Chiefs $3,562,128
San Diego Chargers $3,127,666

The Broncos are one of only two teams (Packers) favored to win their division while also leading the division in cap space.

From these we draw two conclusions: the Broncos are heavy favorites now, and they will likely be favorites next year. Extrapolating Denver's division standings, spending patterns, and talent acquisition from the past two seasons, we even dare to say that the Broncos will remain division favorites for the foreseeable future.

John Elway has done a terrific job building a team that is favored to dominate its division in 2013. With the most cap room of the group, and a series of offseasons that have led to improvements across the team, that domination could extend for years to come.

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