NFC West Predictions and Betting Odds for Top Team in Standings
by George Monroy - 11/3/2014
Heading into the season we all knew the NFC West was perhaps the toughest division in the NFL and that it had three potential playoff teams and two Super Bowl contenders. At the end of Week 9 that consensus may have switched quite a bit after both Seattle and San Francisco began to struggle early, but the one thing that may not have changed is the fact that the road to the Super Bowl still runs through the NFC West.
Seattle and San Francisco are still good teams, but the biggest surprise has been the rise of the 7-1 Arizona Cardinals, who have the best record in the NFL after the first half of the season. Dallas and Denver may have been the talk of the league after the Cowboys' 6-1 start, yet all that Super Bowl chatter of a matchup between two of the NFL's most popular teams was extremely premature. The question now on the table is whether or not Arizona can continue its dominance over the last half of the season.
Let's take a closer look at the NFC West and reevaluate the division with predictions and analysis. All odds come from Sportsbook.ag
St. Louis Rams: +7500
St. Louis is no longer in the division race, but it could play the role of spoiler with three matchups against Arizona and Seattle left on the schedule. The Rams are sitting on a 3-5 record, yet they have played their division rivals tough this season and already produced a win over Seattle and a 1-1 split against San Francisco. If the team can manage to take a game against Arizona, the division race could turn into a tight one as the Cardinals could be looking at four or five losses on their record.
Prediction : 6-10, with a win over Arizona
San Francisco 49ers: +1000
San Francisco is essentially out of the race in the eyes of the oddsmakers with a 4-4 record with two straight losses. The team, however, has a manageable schedule to close out the year and could conceivably finish with a 10-6 record and put itself in contention for a wild card spot. As for the division odds, it would take an utter collapse by the Cardinals for San Francisco to have a chance.
Prediction : 9-7 misses playoffs
Seattle Seahawks: +140
Seattle is sitting on a 5-3 record and a +140 line to win the division. The oddsmakers seem to have faith that the squad will right the ship sooner rather than later and break off an extended winning streak to close out the year. The odds at +140 are simply not correct for a squad that continues to deal with internal struggles and recently traded away Percy Harvin after rumors of locker room issues and fights.
The Seahawks will face a tough schedule to end the season and have matchups against Arizona, Philadelphia, Kansas City and St. Louis on the docket. The average bettor might assume that the Seattle of last season will eventual show up and win six or seven straight games, but unfortunately that team no longer exists, and the Seattle is probably on course for two to four more losses. Seattle is not worth a bet with the odds so low at +140, and the line would need to be in the +200 range before the wager would have value.
Prediction : 10-6, in contention for wildcard
Arizona Cardinals: Division odds -120
Arizona is shockingly still being underrated by the oddsmakers' and is essentially a small favorite to win the NFC West while holding a two-game lead on Seattle and three-game lead on San Francisco. A big part of that is because the Cardinals have a brutal schedule over the back half of the year and still must face Seattle twice, St. Louis twice, Detroit, Kansas City and San Francisco.
A best-case scenario would be two losses for the team since they are highly unlikely to beat the Seahawks in Seattle the first time they play during Week 12. Arizona may already have a few must-win games on its schedule if the team plans on capturing the division crown, and looming home games against Kansas City and Detroit will be essential for the team to win. In reality, Arizona probably has three more losses and a 12-4 record is what the team will end up at. Wagering on Arizona at -120 feels like a steal.
Prediction : 12-4, Division Winners.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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