2014 Odds to Win NFC West with Picks and NFL Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 7/9/2014
BetOnline has you covered for the start of a new season in the NFL with a complete list of futures odds as well as team and player props. As part of ongoing series covering the betting odds to win each of the NFL's eight division titles, I have made my way over to the National Football Conference starting with a look at the highly-competitive NFC West.
Seattle Seahawks Odds to Win the NFC West +110
Seattle had been a team on the rise in the NFL for the past few seasons under head coach Pete Carroll, with playoff appearances in 2010 and 2012, but things gelled quickly last year with a run all the way to a Super Bowl title. Now the challenge will be to stay on top, which has proven to be a very difficult task for a number of champions in recent years. Most of the pieces remain in place for another deep run as long as the Super Bowl hangover does not linger too long.
The Seahawks' recent success starts with their complete dominance at home. During Carroll's four-year tenure with the team, Seattle compiled a record of 9-7 at home in his first two years, and since then it has just one loss in its last 16 home games. The Seahawks' defense has been the other key, and last season this unit was ranked first in the NFL in both yards and points allowed. Russell Wilson has proven to be a legitimate franchise quarterback in this league, so the only thing standing in the way of continued success is a letdown from last year's accomplishments.
San Francisco 49ers Odds to Win the NFC West +140
"Hungry" could be one way to describe the 49ers heading into this season after three straight trips to the NFC title game and one Super Bowl appearance, but "burned out" could be another. It's extremely difficult to keep playing at a high level in this league as the losses in the biggest games of the year start to pile up. Talent-wise this team has everything it needs to make another deep run, but head coach Jim Harbaugh could be facing his toughest test heading into his fourth season with the team.
The pressure will be dialed up high on fourth-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick this season after signing a new big-money deal a few months back. He has shown the ability to be one of the elite gunslingers in this league, but it will take much more than a NFC West title to join those ranks. This is another team that relies heavily on its defense, so the offseason turnover in the secondary through free-agent losses could be something to watch. The 49ers did add safety Jimmie Ward in the first round of the draft to help plug one of the holes.
Arizona Cardinals Odds to Win the NFC West +700
Is Arizona a team on the rise and a real threat to challenge the top two powers for the division crown this season? You tend to get that feeling after the Cardinals went 10-6 last year but failed to make the playoffs. Veteran quarterback Carson Palmer is back to lead the offense, but if this team is going to take the next step it will most likely be behind a defense that was ranked first in the league against the run and seventh in points allowed.
Some of the offseason pieces that were added to make the move to the top of this division include free agent tackle Jared Veldheer and running back Jonathan Dwyer on offense and cornerback Antonio Cromartie on defense. Second-year head coach Bruce Arians used the 27th pick of the first round of the draft to add safety Deone Bucannon, and the team picked up quarterback Logan Thomas in the fourth round.
St. Louis Rams Odds to Win the NFC West +1100
The Rams have had a few false starts in recent years starting with seven wins in 2010 after going 1-15 the season before. After falling back down to 2-14 in 2011, the team has shown some signs of consistency with seven-win seasons the last two years. Veteran head coach Jeff Fisher heads into his third season at the helm with the expectation level high and the betting odds are in his favor with the moneyline on "over" 7.5 wins in 2014 set at -150 .
To take that next step St. Louis is going to need a solid 16-game season from Sam Bradford. He has all the tools to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, but injuries have plagued him in two of his first four seasons in the league. The Rams suffered a few major losses to their offensive line in free agency, so it was no big surprise that they selected tackle Greg Robinson with the second overall pick in the draft. They also added some much-needed depth to the defense by using six of their remaining 10 picks on that side of the ball.
NFC West Season Picks and Predictions
The betting odds suggest that it will once again be a two-team battle between Seattle and San Francisco for the NFC West title, but this could easily be the most competitive division in the NFL. My official pick to win the division is the 49ers simply because it appears to be their turn, but I am also taking a hard look on the under play for both San Francisco's (10.5) and Seattle's (11) projected win total as both teams could struggle to get to 10 wins.
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