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2018

NFC West

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Odds to Win

For the first time in a while, the Seahawks aren’t huge favorites to win the NFC West. In fact, they’re barely in the conversation and the same goes for the Cardinals. Instead, the Rams and 49ers look set to battle for the division, which is what no one expected a couple years ago.

 

Odds to win NFC West 

Courtesy of 5dimes (mid August)

Los Angeles Rams -170 (field wins +150)

San Francisco 49ers +325

Seattle Seahawks +525

Arizona Cardinals +1950

 

The Los Angeles Rams (over/under 10) are at the head of a division that has had a crazy overhaul in over/unders from last season. The Rams were listed for 5.5 wins and then finished with 11. They went all out in the offseason with hopes of reaching a Super Bowl in Sean McVay’s second season in charge. Outside of swapping Sammy Watkins for Brandin Cooks and adding depth on the line, the offense is mostly the same. It’ll be hard for Jared Goff to top last season’s numbers, which is a reason to expect some regression. Todd Gurley is there to do a little bit of everything, namely helping Goff. The receiving options are stout, though, with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp the top returnees to go with a couple third-year tight ends. The defense is still the talking point for the Rams as they added Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. From a defense that was already elite last year with Aaron Donald on the line, this team is here to win now.

Funny enough, the San Francisco 49ers (over/under 8) have the next best odds to win the division and most of that is because of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He was great in limited time last year and now has an offseason with Kyle Shanahan under his belt to go with a healthy Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and second-year tight end George Kittle. The line may need some work to get Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida going, but the tools are there. The defense has a little more to go after finishing 26th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA last year. Richard Sherman is returning from a major injury, while guys like Solomon Thomas, DeForest Buckner and Reuben Foster have to take another step for the group to become relevant.

The Seattle Seahawks (over/under 7.5) are in a bit of a rebuild and no one is expecting much from them. The offensive line is still a work in progress and Russell Wilson can only do so much by himself, and now he doesn’t have Jimmy Graham in the red zone. The skill players are good with receivers Doug Baldwin and Brandon Marshall, as well as running backs Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson. There are some playmakers, but behind an iffy line, this offense may still struggle to run the ball. A defense that fell off last year has a lot of new faces and it’s unknown which ones will produce outside of the usual guys like Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner. The line is young and Michael Bennett is no longer around to do everything.

The Arizona Cardinals (over/under 6) are also in an overhaul with new head coach Steve Wilks. Sam Bradford may start the season at quarterback, but rookie Josh Rosen will probably come in at some point. Outside of David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, there are tons of questions for the offense, whether that’s on the line, or everyone else outside of Johnson and Fitzgerald. A glaring issue is that Brice Butler is set to be the No. 2 wide out. It’s also hard to see the defense being as good as last year. They’ll be solid with Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson great pieces to build around, but even as the No. 4 defense in DVOA last year, the Cards still only had eight wins.

It’ll be hard to bet against the Rams because they suddenly have one of the most balanced teams in the league. The question is if they can have success with huge expectations. The 49ers feel like a year away, while the Seahawks and Cardinals may be a couple years away. The Rams want the Super Bowl and winning the division is the first step, though that may not be as difficult as once believed.

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