2022 NFC South Predictions and Betting Odds
NFL training camps have kicked off, and expectations are beginning to be set for the 2022 season. One division that holds an especially interesting outlook is the NFC South. There is much more falloff in the NFC South compared to most NFL divisions. It would take a surprise for a team to upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are the second favorite to win the Super Bowl this season.
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Tampa Bay Bucs: -300
It should be no surprise that the Bucs are regarded as heavy favorites in the division. Tom Brady changed his mind about retiring and is returning to the franchise once again this year. The team also recently signed Julio Jones to add to their collection of weapons. In addition to their impressive offense, the Tampa defense more than proved their worth last year and is expected to do the same this season. There were a few losses on the roster, such as Rob Gronkowski, OJ Howard, and Ronald Jones, but the team is set up to be a legitimate title threat once again this season. Their season over/under is set at 11.5, which is tied for the highest line in the NFL.
New Orleans Saints: +360
The New Orleans Saints made some notable changes this offseason, starting with Sean Payton stepping down as head coach and Dennis Allen receiving the promotion. The team elected to put their trust in Jameis Winston as the starting quarterback and handed him a two-year deal worth $28 million. The team made a few notable upgrades to the defensive side of the ball, which is a reason for optimism. The biggest question is if Winston is ready to step in as the full-time starter as the franchise did not seem overly eager to bring him back. Their season over/under is set at 7.5 this season.
Carolina Panthers: +1000
The biggest news of the Panther offseason was bringing in Baker Mayfield to compete for the quarterback job. Sam Darnold had some positive flashes last season, but the team finished just 5-12 in 2021. Matt Rhule has raised expectations for the team this year as his seat has been rumored to be warming up a little bit. Look for the Panthers to have an improved season this year, but they still likely are a notch below divisional threat. Their season over/under is set at 5.5 for the season.
Atlanta Falcons: +2800
The Falcons exceeded expectations last year by going 7-10 in the first season with Arthur Smith as head coach. However, they are expected to take a step back this season mostly due to trading Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley being suspended. Ryan has been the franchise’s starting quarterback for the past 14 years, and it will be odd to see a new QB taking snaps. The franchise will turn to Marcus Mariota, who has not started a game since 2019. Their season over/under is set at 4.5 wins this season.
This is not a division where you should get cute with your predictions. Expect the Buccaneers to win the division for the second straight year. Tom Brady is seemingly ageless. And as long as his heart is set on competing, expect the results to follow. The -300 is a high price to pay, but there could be value in parlaying it with another team. The Buccaneers have as good of a chance as any team to compete for a Super Bowl this season, and the red carpet has been put down for them to cruise through the division. The line for divisional wins is set at 4.5, which is intriguing based on the lack of high-quality competition.
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