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Early 2014 NFC South Division Predictions + Sportsbook Betting Odds

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NFL.com’s Adam Schein recently wrote the following about the 2014 NFC South:

“I get paid to have an opinion. That’s how I make a living. The words “I don’t know” usually don’t fly in my world. However, I’m asking for an exception.

Because when it comes to ranking the four teams in the NFC South — the Atlanta FalconsCarolina PanthersNew Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — well …

I don’t know.”

The quote sums things up nicely regarding this division. The New Orleans Saints will be the odds-on favorites at the start of the season, but it could be an entertaining ride to see who surprises us throughout the year.

Odds to Win from Sportsbook.ag

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +700

There’s no nice way to put it: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an awful 2013-14 season. At 4-12, they shared last place in the division with the Atlanta Hawks, and they were just half a game ahead of the Washington Redskins for last place in the entire conference.

The good news is that this team has talent. Some of it may be a bit hidden, but there are players on this roster who can make a difference, and if they step up, you’ll be looking at a completely different ball club in 2014—hence why Shein has called this division one of the most exciting in all of football.

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The problem is not analyzing this group for talent; it’s predicting whether or not they’ll actually step up. This team went through a rather large overhaul this offseason, and with a new coach and new players on board, you could see a vastly improved record.

Atlanta Falcons: +360

The Atlanta Falcons shouldn’t be as bad as they were in 2013-14. They just shouldn’t be.

Last season, the Falcons saw injuries bog them down. You can’t put all the blame on health, but it’s the biggest reason the team dropped from 13-3 in 2012 to the 4-12 (tied with the Bucs) in 2013. Now the team has a healthy roster returning—not to mention a slew of draft picks including OT Jake Matthews (sixth overall).
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Combine all that with the dynamic trio of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White, and you’ve got another team destined to be improved in 2014.

Carolina Panthers: +350

The Carolina Panthers are coming off of a surprisingly great 2013-14 season. Not only did the team boost its record from 7-9 to 12-4, but it did so while establishing one of the most daunting defenses in the NFL.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, their 2014 offseason hasn’t appeared to be as substantial as their 2013 offseason. That makes it difficult to project massive improvements, but as long as the youngsters continue to develop and nobody regresses too far, there shouldn’t be too big a dip in the standings.

The catch here is that while Carolina hasn’t improved drastically, teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers very well might have. Expect more of a balance of power in the NFC South this season.

New Orleans Saints: +105

The New Orleans Saints are the favorites in the NFC South entering the season, and it’s easy to see why. They’re coming off of a season that saw them go 11-5, and more importantly, it saw them win their first road playoff game in team history.

Drew Brees will have another weapon at his disposal in 2014 in wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The rookie wide-out will likely be a target from early in the year, and with New Orleans’ potent offensive attack (specifically through the air), the first-year player has a chance to be a dark horse for Rookie of the Year.

The bad news for New Orleans is that four of the first six games are on the road. That’s hardly the best way to gain momentum. The good news, however, is that, while there are difficult stretches in the schedules, it’s not as tough as last season’s.

Expect parity to be more of a factor in the NFC South than it was in 2013, but don’t be shocked when the Saints go marching into first place at the end of the year.

The 2014/15 NFL futures betting season is here in full force! If you like to bet on the NFL, you are in the best possible place for online betting.

CappersPicks.com has NFL odds up on a ton of futures, and you will also find NFL lines up for early games as well.


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