2021 NFC South Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
The NFC South was a two-horse race last year. The Saints eeked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by one game in the standings. However, when it really counted during the playoffs, the Bucs bested N’awlins by a 30-20 score in the Superdome.
This time around, the oddsmakers give Tampa Bay a significant edge, and things will certainly be different for New Orleans without Drew Brees.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FanDuel Odds -185
The defending Super Bowl champions will return all of their starters from last year, and this speaks volumes about their chances to take this division. On offense, Brady will be more familiar with the system, and he has had a season to get a feel for the supporting cast.
Tampa Bay’s defense really won the Super Bowl for them, and they should give the offense the ability to play downhill on a consistent basis.
Nobody wants to lay negative money on a futures bet, but the Bucs are in the driver’s seat going into the season.
New Orleans Saints
FanDuel Odds +330
Drew Brees was a constant for the Saints from 2006 through 2020, and head coach Sean Payton has not settled on a starting quarterback at the time of this writing. This is an enormous swing from a stability standpoint, and they may go with a quarterback-by-committee approach.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas had surgery on his ankle in June, and the precise timetable for his return is up in the air. Running back Alvin Kamara is a huge asset. However, overall, the offensive weaponry is a bit underwhelming in my opinion.
Because of economic realities, the Saints had to shave down their payroll, so they lost five quality defenders. Hope springs eternal, but +330 isn’t nearly enough to entice me to put my (kind of) hard earned money on the Saints to win the NFC South.
FanDuel Odds +700
New Falcons head coach Arthur Smith will lead an Atlanta contingent that finished dead last in the division a year ago with a 4-12 record. The franchise made a statement when they did not draft a quarterback with their fourth-round pick, so Matt Ryan is going to be their guy. high
Ryan has some weapons at his disposal despite the departure of wide receiver Julio Jones. Calvin Ridley had a breakout season in 2020 with 90 catches for more than 1,300 yards, and they expect Russell Gage to take a big step forward.
They used their draft pick to take Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, who is considered to be a generational player at his position.
They have made some defense improvements, so this could be an interesting futures wager at +700.
FanDuel Odds: +950
Sam Darnold will replace Teddy Bridgewater under center for the Panthers, and versatile running back Christian McCaffery is healthy again. Unfortunately, he may not stay that way because their offensive line is not going to be an asset, and Darnold will feel a lot of pressure.
When you combine mediocre offensive talent with a questionable defense, you are not going to win a division. I can’t think of a single reason to bet on the Carolina Panthers to win the NFC South.
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