NFL Betting Preview
Odds and Predictions
since the NFC South’s iNCeption in 2002, there has yet to be a team to win back-to-back division titles. ACCording to the odds, it’s not going to happen this year as last year’s winners, the Panthers, only have the third-best odds to win it in 2014. With Sean Payton back last season, the Saints returned to their winning ways and are now favored to take the South.
Odds to win NFC South
courtesy of 5dimes
New Orleans Saints +105
Atlanta Falcons +300
Carolina Panthers +330
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +520
OUtside of the fluky 2012 season, the New Orleans Saints have been one of the most consistent teams in the league since Drew Brees came to town. Despite favorite target Darren Sproles gone, this offense will still be as good as ever. They picked up Brandin Cooks in the draft and he’s set to have a great season, basically filling in for Sproles’ and LANCe Moore’s old positions. With Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham and a better Kenny Stills already in tow, Brees shouldn’t regress one bit. The defense came around last season led by Rob Ryan and there’s no reason to think they’ll fall apart this year. They lost some big names, but also picked up one of the best safeties in the Game in Jairus Byrd. With the best all-around team in the NFC South, the Saints are a solid bet to take back the division.
The Atlanta Falcons are looking to rebound after a miserable 4-12 season, but it won’t come easy. They dealt with a number of injuries and a sub-par defense for most of the season. However, they didn’t really upgrade anywhere. Matt Ryan will still have Julio Jones and Roddy White to throw to, but replacing Tony Gonzalez won’t be easy and RB Steven Jackson is already dealing with hamstring issues early in preseason. The Falcons don’t have a great defense either, although they shored up a few positions, especially on the line with new guys Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai to add depth to the group. Their secondary is still a major problem though, and won’t help them in beating the Saints.
While the Carolina Panthers had a great 2013 season, not many expect them to repeat that success this year and for good reason. Cam Newton loses all of his major receiving targets outside of tight end Greg Olsen and there’s no way the defense can improve on last year’s success. The Panthers still have the same backfield, but Newton will have rookie Kelvin Benjamin as his No. 1 and a few other iNComers that are used to playing minimal roles. Replacing Steve Smith won’t be easy. The Panthers added a couple new faces to the secondary with Thomas DeCoud and Roman Harper, but they aren’t exactly upgrades. With less weapons on offense, it’s hard to see how Newton will improve this year, especially if they want him to run less.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t all that far behind talent-wise, but trusting Josh McCown with your team sounds like a difficult thing to do. The offense has plenty of options with Doug Martin, ViNCent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans, and they could end up being much improved with McCown, but counting on them to win the division would be a stretch. Their defense is solid, but after last year’s Four wins, there are still evident holes in this team.
The Saints aren’t huge favorites in this division, but they still look like the best bet here. The Falcons have a weak defense, the Panthers will struggle to be consistent on the offensive end, and the Bucs are still a year away from being playoff contenders. The division is oNCe again there for the taking for the Saints.