NFC South Division Odds
(The Spread) – The NFC South Division figures to be ultra-competitive this season with four competitive quarterbacks and some high-octane offenses.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Falcons are favored at +130 to win the NFC South Division in 2013, although not by a very wide margin. The Saints have the next-best odds at +150, while the Buccaneers are +500 and the Panthers are +550.
Atlanta had what many would argue as a solid offseason after signing free agent running back Steven Jackson to replace the departed Michael Turner, and convincing tight end Tony Gonzalez to stave off retirement for another season. With Jackson and Gonzalez teaming up with Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones, the Falcons offense remains one of the most potent in the league. While their offensive line and defense remain question marks, Atlanta could very well push to play in the Super Bowl this season.
As for the Saints, the return of head coach Sean Payton following his year-long suspension for the “Bountygate” scandal in 2012 is the biggest storyline. With Payton back calling the plays and putting together the game plans for Drew Brees, the Saints will once again be viewed as a playoff contender. Whether or not new coordinator Rob Ryan can fix a defense that was one of the worst in football will be the question.
The Bucs, meanwhile, should be competitive again in Greg Schiano’s second season as head coach. They’ll need to avoid another second half collapse but Tampa Bay certainly has enough talent to compete, even in a stacked division. The key might be quarterback Josh Freeman, who remains an enigma at this point in his career. If he can play with more consistency, the upgrades that the Bucs made this offseason to the defensive side of the ball (i.e. the trade for Darrelle Revis and the signing of safety Dashon Goldson) could be enough to put them over the top.
While the Panthers are viewed as the long shots to win the division heading into the season, they’re also the biggest wild card in the South. Cam Newton is so dynamic that he can win games on his own, but he has limited weapons in the passing game outside of veteran Steve Smith. The running game will once again have to carry the offense (and that includes Newton’s rushing abilities) if Carolina is going to make a surprise run at the postseason.
2013-14 NFC South Division Odds to Win
Atlanta Falcons +130
New Orleans Saints +150
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +500
Carolina Panthers +550