Odds and Picks
In almost the same spot as a year ago, the Seahawks are large favorites to win the NFC West, after finishing three Games above the Cardinals in 2016. Seattle looks destined for yet another division title unless Arizona can spark up the fire that it had only a couple years ago. Otherwise, the Rams and 49ers remain in the basement of the league.
Odds to win NFC West
courtesy of 5dimes (early August)
Seattle Seahawks -280 (field wins +240)
Arizona Cardinals +345
Los Angeles Rams +1425
San Francisco 49ers +2500
The main thing the Seattle Seahawks (over/under 10.5) have to do is keep Russell Wilson upright. After having one of the worst offensive lines in the league last year, there remain plenty of questions unless LUke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi can come in and be serviceable. This won’t be a dominant group, but if they are better, that should help the entire offense. Eddie LAcy will presumably take over at running back, although C.J. Prosise could see plenty of time in the receiving Game with Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. The defense should have Earl Thomas back, which in turn makes them one of the better ones in the Conference yet again. It’s almost all of the same faces on defense with Michael Bennett, Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman still around. There aren’t many reasons to bet against this team to win the West.
The Arizona Cardinals (over/under 8.5) are the logical way to turn for second place, but they collapsed last year when the goal was the Super Bowl. Carson Palmer is getting older and will have trouble making it the entire season. The receivers are the same, which isn’t exactly a good thing as LArry Fitzgerald is getting up there in age, as well. The line was solid last year and that led to an all-around great campaign for David Johnson, who should see just as many touches in 2017. He’ll be everything for this offense. The defense took a step back with a hole in the secondary and that’ll be the main question again opposite of Patrick Peterson. Tony Jefferson is gone at safety as is Calais Campbell, but this defense was never lacking up front.
The Los Angeles Rams (over/under 5.5) have better odds than the 49ers because their defense is still good. With Aaron Donald, they have one of the best lines in the league, but the secondary is still up for debate with a lot of the same players back led by corner Trumaine Johnson. The problem for the Rams is on offense and that’s why they hired Sean McVay from Washington to get Jared Goff going. Still, unless this offense turns decent with some of the worst receivers in the league, the Rams will struggle to win consistently, even with Todd Gurley.
The San Francisco 49ers (over/under 5) also have a new coach with Kyle Shanahan from Atlanta and he knows he has plenty of work to do. Quarterback will be subpar for the entire season with Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley competing for time, while a mediocre ground Game tries to find its footing with the oft-injured Carlos Hyde. Like the other teams in this division, the 49ers could be decent on the defensive side with a young core that’s more experieNCed to go with Navorro Bowman and rookie Reuben Foster at linebacker. Of course, they still have to become competent in the secondary and that’s far from a guarantee with a lot of the same faces.
The Seahawks have by far the best odds to win the NFC West again for a reason. They have the most complete team and the best offense even with a questionable line. To bet the field against them, you’d have to hope for Goff to really breakout in his second year or Palmer and the Cardinals to remain healthy and get back to 2015 levels.