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Cardinals Not Out of NFC West Race

It’s just about the halfway point of the 2016 NFL season and we’ve already seen two games end in ties. The two teams who played in the first draw of the year – the Seahawks and Cardinals – are basically the only teams left standing in the fight for the NFC West crown.

Bovada updated its lines for the NFL division futures and has pegged the 'Hawks with a -350 line to reclaim the NFC West title from the Cardinals, who counter back at +350.

In my opinion, this is still a two-dog race between Arizona and Seattle – like most thought it would be at the beginning of the season – and I also believe it will be a closer one than sportsbooks are guessing.

The Seahawks have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the NFL and the key cog in their success, Russell Wilson, is not even close to being at 100 percent health right now. Through seven games, Seattle’s signal-caller has his worst career QBR (50.6) and is just the 13th-most efficient quarterback in the league. Since coming into his own as the Seahawks’ No. 1, he had not posted a QBR under 70 and was actually the third-most efficient QB in the league last year. Seattle’s entire offense hinges on the mobility of Wilson and his ability to keep opposing defenses on their heels. With his multiple injuries and Seattle's complete lack of a rushing attack, the offense has become one-dimensional and predictable. Wilson is not a good enough pocket passer to lead this team to a division crown on his arm alone.

Nothing has disappointed me more than what the Cardinals have – not – been able to achieve this year. I touted them at the start of the year as my favorite team to win the Super Bowl. One thing I did not predict, however, was that Carson Palmer would spontaneously combust and fall off a metaphoric cliff. The defense has been as good as advertised even with a not totally healthy Honey Badger and I’m still holding out hope that Palmer can find a shade of the quality he played with all last season. If he can do that, this team could still roll. Arizona still has some of the most versatile offensive weapons in the league and possesses the fourth-most efficient defense.

Although they sit a game and a half back of the Seahawks for first in the West right now, the Cards could easily make up that gap in an NFL season that has been as unpredictable as you could ask for.

2016 NFC West Champion

Odds as of November 3 at Bovada

  • Seattle Seahawks -350
  • Arizona Cardinals +350
  • Los Angeles Rams +1000

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After the division was dominated by the Seahawks and 49ers since 2010, the Cardinals took a turn as division champs in 2015. This season, the division features two legit Super Bowl threats in the Seahawks and Cardinals, along with the rebuilding Rams and 49ers who will compete to stay out of the division’s basement.

Odds to win the division are tight with the Seahawks favored at -110 and the Cards not far off at +140. Both teams are in the top eight for the hardest schedule this season based on 2015’s results, but it’s the Cardinals who might have the edge over their division rival when analyzing each team’s schedule. Both teams hit the East Coast for a handful of games, but Arizona gets a big break in Week 1 when they host a Patriots team who will be without suspended QB Tom Brady. The Seahawks won’t get this luxury, as they travel to New England for a game in Week 10. This could be the deciding factor in what should be a close race.

The LA Rams went 7-9 last season but finished on a strong note, winning three of their last four games. They also had the Seahawks’ number, winning both games against them. That’s no excuse to jump on their +750 odds to win the division though as the Case Keenum – Jared Goff QB competition doesn’t exactly put fear in the hearts of the rest of the division. They haven’t won the division since 2003 and that trend will continue this season.

San Francisco is a distant +2000, which has them tied with the Browns for the longest odds in division futures markets. Chip Kelly will call the shots for a team that will try to improve on a 5-11 record last season, but it won’t be easy out of the gate as they travel to Carolina in Week 2 followed by a game in Seattle in Week 3. They won just one game within the division last season and will likely be kicked around again by Seattle and Arizona. If you’re considering placing a bet on them to win the division, stop and quit gambling on sports… and maybe stop watching sports altogether.

2016 NFC West Champion

Odds as of August 16 at BetOnline

  • Seattle Seahawks -110
  • Arizona Cardinals +140
  • Los Angeles Rams +750
  • San Francisco 49ers +2000

Archived Articles

The NFC West is a division of have and have nots. The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals are both legitimate NFC title contenders while the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers are likely a year away from being anything more than competent.

The Seahawks have opened as a -135 odds on favorite to win the NFC West next season with the Cardinals coming in at +140. Either the Seahawks or the Cardinals have won the division banner in each of the past three seasons with the other gaining a wild card berth the past two years.

There has not been many major roster changes this offseason for the Seahawks, but they will need to deal with the retirement of Marshawn Lynch. However, Lynch finished behind Thomas Rawls and Russell Wilson in rushing yards for the team last season.

The Cards are in much of the same position as the Seahawks with very little roster turnover during the offseason. Arizona may have added one of the best talents in the NFL draft in Robert Nkemdiche who could help bolster a rather pedestrian pass rush last year.

The Rams have plenty of quality players with their defense and Todd Gurley leading the way. If Jared Goff is a revelation than they could surprise people, but getting past both the Seahawks and Cards isn’t very likely. The 49ers will likely be starting Blain Gabbert…so that’s all you need to know.

2016-17 NFC West Champion

Odds as of May 6 at BetOnline

  • Seattle Seahawks -135
  • Arizona Cardinals +140
  • Los Angeles Rams +1000
  • San Francisco 49ers +2500

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Has the balance of power in the NFC West shifted? In the wake of a 6-2 SU start by the Arizona Cardinals followed up by a 4-4 record out of the gate by the Seattle Seahawks, many pundits around the NFL believe that's the case.

According to oddsmakers at Bovada, the Cards are -140 faves to represent the division in the playoffs. The Seahawks are notoriously slow starters, but something has appeared off about the 2015 edition of the team. There's no questioning that Carson Palmer's Cardinals have arrived and they're getting their due respect from sportsbooks as a result.

The St. Louis Rams are currently +500 at the shop thanks in large part to the play of standout rookie running back Todd Gurley. Gurley is must-see TV, but can he single handedly carry an offense that's struggled through the air? Only time will tell.

For the sake of tortured 49ers fans everywhere, we'll leave them out of this conversation. Besides, their +20000 price should speak for itself.

2015-16 NFC West Champion

Odds as of November 6 at Bovada

  • Arizona Cardinals -140
  • Seattle Seahawks +190
  • St. Louis Rams +500
  • San Francisco 49ers +20000


Following a strong 12-4 campaign, the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks head toward the upcoming season as -275 favorites at Bovada to claim their third straight NFC West division title.

The Seahawks stumbled out of the gate last season, losing three of their first six games, before winning nine of their last 10, including five wins against divisional opponents, while holding opponents to seven or fewer points in five of their final six regular season games.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals will be looking to build on a respectable 11-win campaign in 2014.

The Cardinals topped the NFC West standings for much of last season but faltered down the stretch, losing three of their last five games to hand Seattle the division crown. Arizona sits well back of the Seahawks in NFC West betting at Bovada with +400 odds to claim their first division title since 2009.

The St. Louis Rams lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford early on in 2014 to a season-ending injury and went on to post a 6-10 record, finishing dead last in the NFC West for the sixth time in eight years. Bradford was then traded to the Eagles in the offseason.

The Rams look to be a team on the rise after turning in big victories over Seattle and the Denver Broncos and recording lopsided shutout wins over the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins, but they remain a distant +1000 bet to win the NFC West at Bovada.

It has been a tough offseason for the San Francisco 49ers who saw a number of key players depart, most notably linebackers Chris Borland and Patrick Willis.

Following a solid 7-4 start the Niners finished the 2014 campaign with an 8-8 record and out of playoff contention, and are +1200 underdogs to return to the top of the NFC West in 2015 on the NFL futures at Bovada.

2015/16 NFC West Champion

Odds as of August 22 at Bovada

  • Seattle Seahawks -275
  • Arizona Cardinals +400
  • St. Louis Rams +1000
  • San Francisco 49ers +1200
2015/16 NFC West Champion

Odds as of July 20 at Bovada

  • Seattle Seahawks -225
  • Arizona Cardinals +400
  • San Francisco 49ers +800
  • St. Louis Rams +800
2015/16 NFC West Champion

Odds as of May 5 at Bovada

  • Seattle Seahawks -250
  • Arizona Cardinals +550
  • St. Louis Rams +650
  • San Francisco 49ers +750


2014 NFC West Odds Preview

The Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West title last season as a stepping stone to their Super Bowl championship, and the oddsmakers at the sportsbooks have them pegged as the favorites on the odds to claim that division crown again in 2014.

At Bovada the Seahawks are the slight +125 favorites on the odds to win the NFC West this season, after they went 13-3 overall last year and won the division by a single game over the San Francisco 49ers. Seattle also won four of their six games against NFC West opponents.

After their dominant opening win over the Packers, oddsmakers cut the NFC West odds even lower on Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks Odds to Win NFC West -200 (was +125)
San Francisco 49ers Odds to Win NFC West +250 (was +150)
Arizona Cardinals Odds to Win NFC West +750 (was +700)
St. Louis Rams Odds to Win NFC West +2000 (was +700 before Bradford injury)

The Niners, who went 12-4 overall and 5-1 in the division last season, are then just behind the Seahawks at +150 on the NFC West odds at Bovada. San Francisco ended the regular season on a roll last year, winning their last six games to make the division race interesting.

The Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams are both then at +700 on the NFC West betting lines at Bovada, with Arizona going 10-6 overall and 2-4 in the division last season, and St. Louis going 7-9 overall and 1-5 against the other three NFC West teams.


2013 NFC West Odds Preview

In 2010, the NFC West was the laughing stock of the football world, crowning a 7-9 SU team as division champion. Three years later, the NFC West is one of the league’s most feared divisions, home to two Super Bowl contenders in the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks.

San Francisco and Seattle could be fighting for not only the top spot in the NFC West, but for the top seed in the conference as well. St. Louis and Arizona are a tier below the two top dogs, but both have the potential to be competitive this season.

San Francisco 49ers (Odds to Win Division at Bovada -120)

Just one year after falling short of a Super Bowl berth in the NFC Championship Game, the San Francisco 49ers fell just one play short of winning the Super Bowl last season. San Francisco is 24-7-1 SU and 20-11-1 ATS in two seasons under Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.

The 49ers return the same elite defense that has led the team over the last two years this season, but fans and bettors will also be treated to a full season of Colin Kaepernick. Running the read option with Kaepernick, San Francisco adds an explosive offense to go with its shutdown defense. Even injuries shouldn’t prevent this team from another deep playoff run.

Seattle Seahawks (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +130)

The Seattle Seahawks also enjoyed a breakout season from a young quarterback as rookie Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to an 11-5 SU and ATS record. Seattle was 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS over its last six games before losing to Atlanta in the second round.

Wilson’s dual-threat ability coupled with the powerful running of Marshawn Lynch gives the Seahawks a strong, clock-eating offense to go with their elite defense. New acquisition Percy Harvin won’t join the team until the second half of the season, but he’ll add another dynamic to the offense when he does. The Seahawks should give the 49ers a run for their money out West.

St. Louis Rams (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +650)

While St. Louis finished just 7-8-1 SU last season, the 11-5 ATS record showed how competitive the team was. And perhaps more importantly, the Rams were 4-1-1 SU and 6-0 ATS against NFC West division rivals, showing that they could hang with the big boys.

The Rams brought in some help on the offensive line and a few new receiving options for QB Sam Bradford in TE Jared Cook and WR Tavon Austin. St. Louis is caught behind two of the NFL’s best teams in the NFC West, but could compete for a wild card spot if everything comes together.

Arizona Cardinals (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +2000)

Credit is due to the Arizona Cardinals’ front office, who went out and improved the team despite having very little chance of competing this season. Arizona’s offense was horrendous last year, leading to a 1-11 SU collapse down the stretch.

By hiring Bruce Arians as head coach and acquiring QB Carson Palmer and RB Rashard Mendenhall, the Cardinals took clear steps in the right direction and should be a lot better. Unfortunately for Arizona, its schedule shakes out to be one of the toughest in the NFL; and while the pieces are in place for improvement, it isn’t likely to happen overnight.


2012 NFC West Odds Preview

The San Francisco 49ers ran away with the NFC West last season as the only team in the division to finish the year over .500. Judging by the latest NFC West future odds it could be another cakewalk to the division title again.

On defense the 49ers were the best in the NFC last season and that should continue in 2012. Loaded with defensive talent, including Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Navorro Brown and of course Patrick Willis they were No. 1 against the run last season and pretty good against the pass as well.

If the defense is as good again it should take some pressure off QB Alex Smith. He's the wild card for a 49ers offense that added Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs in the offseason to fit in along side Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis  and Frank Gore.

Smith has the weapons, now he just has to keep it all together for the 49ers to roll to another division title and possibly a Super Bowl.

The Seattle Seahawks may be a team on the rise in the NFC West, but they're not quite there yet which is why they're a 4/1 underdog on the futures at Bovada. The first thing the Seahawks need to decide on is who's going to be QB? Matt Flynn was signed in the offseason and appears to have the inside track ahead of Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson. Seattle also needs a No. 2 receiver to step up behind Sidney Rice, which is why they're taking a look at vets Braylon Edwards and Terrell Owens in camp.

The Arizona Cardinals also have quarterback questions with Kevin Kolb starting to look like a bust. The often injured Kolb may end up losing the starting job to John Skelton. Whoever does start behind center will have one of the best receivers in football to throw to in Larry Fitzgerald, but the rest of the offense is still a work in progress.

The running game relies heavily on the health of Beanie Wells and possibly on how well rookie Ryan Williams adjusts if he's thrown to the fire.

The St. Louis Rams were the rest of the division's whipping boy last season going 0-6 against within the division and a lame 2-14 overall. Sam Bradford took a pounding when he was able to play and the Rams need Brian Quick to develop into the No. 1 wide receiver the Rams have been missing lately. The safest bet is likely the Rams NOT winning the division this season as an 8/1 underdog.