NFC South Winner (Over/Under season wins).
Odds as per Centrebet @ 27 August
New Orleans Saints $1.65 (9.5 games – Over $1.48/Under $2.65)
Carolina Panthers $5.25 (8.5 games – Under $1.48/Over $2.65)
Atlanta Falcons $5.25 (8.5 games – Under $1.60/Over $2.35)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8.00 (7 games – Under $1.91/Over $1.91)
Gargy: I feel this could be one of the best divisions in football. The Saints will have a top 5 offence, The Bucs will improve a lot this year and the Falcons will surely improve, and finally the Panthers who are still good, but wont reach 2013’s lofty heights. The $2.10 for the Saints is skinny and it sucks you cannot multi up the divisions winners- but $2.10 is better than bank interest- Load up*.
They have Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham, they have a good group of receivers including Brandon Cooks and their defence continues to improve. However they are a risk at the over 9.5 games; the NFC is a very tough division and this year they play the NFC North and AFC North and there aren’t many easy wins amongst those 8 games.
Each year on average 6 teams do not reach the play offs in back to back years. The Panthers, even with Cam Newton at QB and Greg Hardy and their good defence, will be one of those teams this year. Back under 8.5 games because I just cannot see them wining 9 games – where will their points come from?
I think the bookies have the market right for the Falcons with 8 wins, it is not enough to sneak into a play off spot given how strong the NFC is, but it wont be the worst record in Football; Matt Ryan is an excellent QB, White and Julio Jones are an awesome one two punch, but their defence isn’t good enough.
Lastly and by no means worst is the Bus who drafted well, shopped well during free agency and will be my surprise packet within this division. Back over 7.5 wins and whilst I don’t think they will get into the play offs, go back through the records and all of Lovie Smith’s team have good defence.
Shirt my mate, are you with me and the Saints or do you like someone else big guy?
Shirty – with you on the Saints buddy, but I don’t necessarily share your enthusiasm for the rest of the Division. I will be on Saints for over 9.5 wins. I think the Falcons will be the big improvers out of the division on last year, but then I had them as contenders last year and got badly burned so I say that with no confidence. The Panthers will struggle to score points this year and I reckon I would have a better than even shot of making it on the roster as a back up receiver – they lost all three main targets in the off season leaving Newtown with three new receivers to throw to, and this after finally finding his mojo last year. They’re an under 8.5 bet for mine. Finally, the Buccs. Always lot’s of talk about the Buccs, rarely any output. They’ve fired the coach and bought in Lovie – could this year be the year they turn it around and live up to expectations? They went 4-12 last year, so can’t get much worse, and they have a promising 35 year old journeyman QB who was coaching High School football in 2011 and now…wait, what? The Buccanneers are being touted as a sleeper side and possible playoff contender with Josh freaking McGowan under centre? Sure, he was good filling in for Cutler at the Bears where he went 3-2, but his previous record over 8 seasons as a back up prior to that little burst included 32 fumbles and 44 interceptions. And we are now supposed to buy the story that with age comes skill and wisdom, and he is now the guy?? Not with my cash buddy.
*Gargy wrote this preview a week ago – the Saints have now been smashed into $1.65 – he had them as a get on at $2.10, and I’m guessing he would still be having a nibble at the tighter odds. I am sure he will tell us in the comments whether this is still a GET ON at the new price, assuming he doesn’t spend the whole post abusing me for taking so long to post this preview to the interweb…