NFC West Odds
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.
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.
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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.
Odds to win NFC West - lines at Bovada
San Francisco ½
St. Louis 8/1
NFC West teams futures odds:
Odds to win NFC title
San Francisco 11/2
St. Louis 40/1
Odds to win Super Bowl
San Francisco 10/1
St. Louis 75/1
2012-13 win totals
San Francisco 10 (Over +110/Under -140)
Seattle 7 (Over -170/Under +140)
Arizona 7 (Over +120/Under -150)
St. Louis 6 (Over -140/Under +110)