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Previewing the NFC South from a Betting Perspective


Similar to the NFC North, the NFC South features three very competitive teams expected to win around nine games and be in a position to reach the playoffs. Let’s take a look at division and see exactly where they stand from a betting perspective heading into the season.

NFC South Division Odds; Regular Season Wins
Atlanta Falcons +360; 8.5
Carolina Panthers +475; 8/8.5
New Orleans Saints -150; 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1100; 6.5

Atlanta Falcons

The one constant for Atlanta is quarterback Matt Ryan who enters off of another stellar campaign in which he posted a QB Rating of 70.6. They moved on from offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian which was probably the right move. Dirk Koetter replaced him, in fact, the Falcons have three new coordinators this season (OC, DC, and special teams) which speaks to the pressure that is mounting on head coach Dan Quinn after last year’s sub-par 7-9 output. Despite having a defensive pedigree, it’s been an obvious weakness for the Falcons under Quinn. Going back the last four years in terms of DVOA the Falcons ranked 31st, 22nd, 26th, and 22nd. Last year they were hit hard by injuries, specifically Deion Jones who is a big time difference maker. You want to assume the unit is going to be healthier in 2019 but their schedule offers no breaks. Not only is the division loaded with capable offenses but Atlanta must face the likes of Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and the Los Angeles Rams. Under Quinn, Atlanta is a respectable 39-30 straight up but only 31-37-1 ATS including 19-27-1 ATS as chalk. If the defense is able to turn the corner, perhaps there’s bet-on potential but I’m leery of there being much of a change.

Carolina Panthers

One of the more “flighty” teams in the NFL. Carolina has essentially alternated between “good” and “bad” seasons dating back to 2013. Last year was a season within a season as they started 6-2 but then dropped seven straight games. Cam Newton’s health, or lack thereof, is always a focal point, but it’s the defense that was the main culprit of last season’s decline. Defensive coordinator Eric Washington remains but late last year, head coach Ron Rivera stepped in and called plays and is expected to do so again in 2019. The Panthers are also expected to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 which Rivera has a strong background executing going back to his days with the Chicago Bears. They brought in Gerald McCoy to help with the transition though I’m curious to see how it impacts Luke Kuechly who has made a career playing behind four down linemen. Pressure on the quarterback is the goal after the unit dropped from 50 sacks in 2017 to 35 a season ago. Carolina has historically been able to get by with a stout front seven and lesser talented secondary. Not the ideal division to be playing in with that sort of make up. And of course Newton, who is now 30 years old, is a big question mark. Due to a shoulder injury, Newton simply couldn’t throw the ball down field (0-7, 1 INT on passes 25+ yards L6 games). He’s reportedly in better health but the reality is he’s never going to be an above average passer and the days of letting him run wild are long gone due to all of the wear and tear. He’ll still make plays and when healthy, can perform at above a league average level but it’s tough to project this team beyond a few games without knowing whether or not Newton will be at full strength.

New Orleans Saints

Much is being made of Drew Brees’ late season decline but I’m not ready to write him or this offense off. The way he started the season (11 games, 29-2 TD-to-INT ratio) was simply unsustainable and despite some regression he completed nearly 70% of his passes in the playoffs to go with a 4-2 TD-to-INT ratio. Yes, he’s 40 years old, but times have changed. Quarterbacks don’t take as many hits, they are in better shape, and given the continuity and talent New Orleans has offensively, they should once again be a top five unit. The defense was very young last season and despite that and multiple key injuries, they still finished 11th in DVOA. Stopping the pass was a chore at times and will continue to be, especially in this division, but the aforementioned youth movement helped take a defense that ranked 30th in DOVA in 2016 to the league’s upper-third. Perhaps there are some concerns about a “hangover” with how the season ended but they are still the top power rated team in the division and a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Two-time NFL coach of the year Bruce Arians takes over a franchise that hasn’t been to the postseason in 11 years. The organization has made a litany of personnel mistakes over the last four or five years and Arians will have his work cut out for him in terms of trying to overcome a poorly constructed roster. Offensively, they should be fine assuming they are able to clean up some of sloppy play that plagued the unit in 2018. How about 35 giveaways? Jameis Winston has played 56 games, thrown 58 interceptions, and fumbled 38 times. And despite Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s error prone ways, the offense still managed to produce over 5,100 yards through the air. With Arians in charge, that type of production should continue. Defensively, they graded out near or at the bottom in virtually every category. And to make matters worse, they garnered only 17 takeaways. New defensive coordinator Todd Bowles worked with Arians at Arizona and offers some upside with his attacking and blitz-heavy scheme. But it’s very hard to envision much improvement. McCoy left for Carolina, Lavonte David is already banged up, Jason Pierre-Paul was in a car accident and is it out until October, and Vita Vea is out for four weeks. And the addition of Ndamukong Suh is iffy from a chemistry standpoint. The biggest positive in my opinion is that Arians brought in one of the deepest coaching staffs in the league. From coordinators to strength and condition to sports science. Arians is clearly trying to change the culture of the organization and that’s a good starting point. If anything, the dramatic offseason changes should result in more sound and consistent football.

Veteran pro sports bettor Erin Rynning has a long history of success in the NFL. Since 2012, he’s delivered 57% documented winners including 59% last season. ER’s full season subscription is available here

Erin Rynning

Whether it’s with his bets or service selections, Erin Rynning is a market mover, while continuing to prove he’s one step ahead of the bookmakers around the world. Known for his NBA prowess with 13-straight winning NBA seasons, ER is equally deft across the sports spectrum. Since 2012 he’s flashed a combined documented football record of 403-310 57% and over 88 units of profit on a 1, 1.5 and 2 unit scale. In addition, he’s won and placed in contests on the Las Vegas scene including a 15th and 33rd placing in last season’s legendary Westgate Supercontest out of 2748 entrants, while placing 2nd in the inaugural Supercontest Gold.