2019 NFC West Predictions with Betting Advice
The NFC West is likely to be a two-horse race this season between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks. It's not to say the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals won't have a say in how the division pans out as both teams tend to play the former teams very closely and have high hopes coming into the season. Outside of the Rams' offense, this division figures to be a very defensive-minded division with above-average stop units residing with the Rams, Seahawks, and Cardinals.
Over the course of the last 11 seasons, the NFC West has been won by the Cardinals three times, the Rams twice, the Seahawks four times and the 49ers twice. That's what we like to call parity in the NFL, and the Rams could be the first team since Seattle from 2004-2007 to win the Division on three straight occasions.
As we kick off Week 3 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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Los Angeles Rams
Season Win Total 10.5 (o +130)
NFC West Win Odds (-180)
The biggest question facing this Los Angeles Rams team is the health of star running back Todd Gurley. Gurley was last seen playing sparingly in the Super Bowl, and one can only speculate on how healthy Gurley is coming into the season. Both the Rams and Gurley himself say there are no issues with the knees, but a decline in touches and production will leave the Rams hoping that Jared Goff can lead the team back to the postseason. The Rams do still have weapons surrounding Goff, including an out of this world defense.
The Rams open their season with a trip to Carolina and then they host the Saints in an NFC Championship rematch before going to Cleveland in Week 3. By then, we'll have a better indication on if the Rams are for real or if they are going to regress in a big way this season. The odds of -180 implies a 65 percent chance to win the division. And outside of Seattle, they should be able to handle the 49ers and Cardinals with ease.
Season Win Total 8.5 (o -120)
NFC West Win Odds (+285)
As Russell Wilson goes, so do the Seahawks. The Seahawks made the very important (and right decision) by locking up Wilson long term for big bucks. Wilson is now getting paid $35 million a season, which makes him the highest-paid QB in the league based on a yearly average. They also signed Bobby Wagner to a long-term deal, and that's important because now both leaders on both sides of the ball are happy.
The question the Seahawks need to answer is whether they have enough weapons surrounding Wilson to be a productive offensive team. We know they want to run the ball down the opposing team's throat with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, but can Tyler Lockett fill in the gap that a retired Doug Baldwin left? It'll be interesting to watch how the season plays out. However, one thing is for certain, they're going to have to overcome an extremely difficult schedule for the first two months of the season.
San Francisco 49ers
Season Win Total 8 (o -140)
NFC West Win Odds (+500)
The San Francisco 49ers are hoping that Jimmy Garoppolo's second season with the team goes much better than the first did. Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3 last season, but all reports say he's fully healthy and ready to go. The 49ers made some moves in the offseason to give Garoppolo plenty of weapons to work with as they signed Tevin Coleman from Atlanta and drafted Deebo Samuel from South Carolina and Jalen Hurd from Tennessee.
They also used their first-round selection to take defensive end, Nick Bosa, with the second pick in the draft. Bosa is a certified stud and he will instantly help their pass rush which was in desperate need of reinforcements. The only real concern defensively is that they didn't address their need for a shutdown corner or a legitimate safety who can patrol the secondary.
From what I've been hearing, a lot of people feel that the 49ers are a few pieces away from being a legitimate contender in the NFC. If they can find a way to take the next step, they might have value at +500 to steal away the division from the Rams.
Season Win Total 5 (o -140)
NFC West Win Odds (+2500)
When in doubt, draft a franchise quarterback. Or at least that's what the Cardinals philosophy is.
However, I don't blame them for taking Kyler Murray with the first overall pick in the offseason as Murray is a freak of nature. And what he managed to do at Oklahoma - en route to winning the Heisman Trophy - was nothing short of spectacular. Will that success transfer to the NFL level? That's the question that a lot of people are asking, but you can't blame the Cardinals for hoping so and taking a risk on him.
The Cardinals are also hoping the new hire of Kliff Kingsbury will aid Murray and the rest of the offense to much better offensive numbers. At one-point last season, the Cardinals were on pace to average the fewest amount of plays per game in NFL history - somewhere between 50-53 plays per game. This year they are hoping to reach around 70 as Kingsbury is known for his fast-pace air-raid style offense.
Based on their schedule and how many winnable games they have early on (vs. Detroit, Carolina, Cincinnati, and the Giants), I like their chances at hitting the over on the season wins total.
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