2019 NFC South Predictions with Betting Advice
The NFC South has been an extremely competitive division for as long as I can remember. The Panthers, Saints and Falcons have each won multiple division titles over the course of the last 11 seasons, but it's the Saints who own the last two with records of 13-3 and 11-5, respectively.
This season, the race for the NFC South crown figures to be as tight as ever with every single team getting better in one way or another in the offseason. If you like watching high-scoring games, this is the division to monitor closely as it has an abundance of talent scattered throughout the four teams.
As we kick off Week 2 of the preseason this week, I'll be taking you on a guided tour of each division to prep you on what to expect for the upcoming season. Keep in mind, injuries can occur at any moment to derail a season, so getting too hyped up on a division preview is never a good thing.
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Season Win Total 8 (o +100)
NFC South Win Odds (+500)
As Cam Newton goes, so do the Panthers. The quarterback's health is the biggest talking point. And while we saw how hurt Newton was to finish last season, most people believe he will be 100 percent healthy to start the season. If he is, and Christian McCaffrey takes the next step in his path to becoming a superstar, the Panthers are going to push for the division in a big way.
The only problem remains the defensive side of things as they lost a few key players in the offseason. And in a division with high-powered offenses like the Bucs, Saints, and Falcons, the defense is going to need to find a way to get stops, or else they are getting blown out. I think 5/1 odds on Carolina may be the best value play of the NFC South, but it's all dependant on Newton's health.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Win Total 6.5 (o +105)
NFC South Win Odds (+1200)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are likely to finish in the basement of the NFC South, but I believe they may just be the most entertaining team to watch. They have an offense that is predicated on getting the ball downfield and winning games 40-37. Bruce Arians is a great coach, and he should be able to keep Jameis Winston in positions where he can succeed on and off the field. Mike Evans is back and ready for a big season once again, while Chris Godwin will be looking to follow up a solid season, and the addition of Breshad Perriman gives the Bucs a trio of solid weapons. The defense got better with a few key acquisitions in the offseason, including the signing of Kentrell Brice and Orion Stewart and the drafting of Sean Bunting and Jamel Dean to bolster the secondary.
New Orleans Saints
Season Win Total 10.5 (o +130)
NFC South Win Odds (-180)
The New Orleans Saints were a bogus missed call away from going to the Super Bowl last season. One has to think that's going to be fuel to the fire this season. And with most of the key players returning, the Saints have to be considered one of the favorites to win the NFC.
There's been a lot of talk about when or if Drew Brees is going to slow down, and we just don't see it happening this year. He's got his favorite target locked up long term in Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara is ready for another massive year. The defense, which was once an afterthought, showed us last year that they can, in fact, step up in big spots and shut down the opponent. It's tempting to just pencil the Saints in for another division crown, but the NFC South is going to be extremely competitive this year, with the Falcons and Panthers all getting better, so laying -180 is not something I'm in a hurry to do.
Season Win Total 8.5 (o -135)
NFC South Win Odds (+350)
The Atlanta Falcons are hoping for a bounce-back season this year as they struggled to a third-place finish in the division and missed the playoffs a year after being in the Super Bowl. There has never been any doubt about the talent that the Falcons possess, but the way it gets utilized - specifically the way it was utilized last year by offensive coordinate Steve Sarkisian - often leaves Atlanta coming up short.
Well, Sarkisian is gone, and in comes Dirk Koetter. Koetter isn't exactly the greatest OC on planet earth, but he is definitely an upgrade over Sark, and we expect him to push the right buttons offensively to get the Falcons to where they want to go.
Defensively, the Falcons decided to pay their key players big money, so they fully expect a bounce-back season from that unit as a whole. They need to stay healthy, though, as they saw what life was like without their two key guys in Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, who missed 23 combined games last season. It's a tough division, but the Falcons have the talent to pull off the upset and claim the NFC South.
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