The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the NFC South last season for the first time since 2007. In between, the New Orleans Saints won it six times, the Carolina Panthers won it four times and the Atlanta Falcons won it three times.
It has been a fairly even division overall with the four teams taking their turns at the top, but this season one team seems to be head and shoulders above the rest according to our best NFL sportsbooks.
Bucs Are Big Favorites To Capture NFC South Crown
|Team||Current Odds||Opening Odds|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-325||+140|
|New Orleans Saints||+350||+220|
Odds as of June 16 at Bovada
NFC South Odds: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-325)
The 2021 Buccaneers were the only team in the modern era to return all 22 starters from their Super Bowl-winning roster the following season. They then came a couple of plays away from advancing to the NFC championship game before wasting a heroic late-game comeback against the eventual champion Rams.
This year, the Bucs enter the third year with Tom Brady at the helm and again appear to have one of the better rosters in the league. But, there are questions.
The Bucs lost Pro Bowl left guard Ali Marpet to retirement while defensive stalwarts Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul were not brought back. They will also begin the season without star receiver Chris Godwin, leaving Mike Evans and Russell Gage as the only reliable weapons in the passing game for Brady until or unless Rob Gronkowski decides to return.
The Bucs also have a new head coach this season as Todd Bowles, last year’s defensive coordinator, puts on the big visor to replace Bruce Arians, who has taken on an advisory role.
Despite the questions, oddsmakers obviously have faith in the Bucs, moving them from +140 to -325 since Brady ended his brief retirement.
With TB12, an elite offensive line and a defense chock full of playmakers, it’s Super Bowl or bust in Tom-pa Bay and anything less than a division crown would be surprising.
NFC South Odds: New Orleans Saints (+325)
If there’s a team in the NFC South that has a legitimate case to unseat the Bucs, it’s the Saints.
Now without both Drew Brees and Sean Payton for the first time since the 2005 season, the Saints will roll with longtime coordinator Dennis Allen as head coach and the always polarizing Jameis Winston at quarterback.
The Saints roster is good, and the additions of Tyrann Mathieu, Jarvis Landry and Marcus Maye along with first-round picks spent at receiver and left tackle signal that the Saints feel they are good enough to win this year.
Some may disagree based on Winston’s history in Tampa, but the former first overall pick did something in his seven games with the Saints last year that he had never done before: take care of the football.
If the Saints can get Winston back to that level (he’s returning from a season-ending knee injury), they have the defense, offensive line and weapons on paper to challenge for the division. There are questions about Michael Thomas (health) and Alvin Kamara (possible suspension), but this is a talented roster top to bottom. They are decent value at +325.
NFC South Odds: Carolina Panthers (+1400)
The Panthers had one of the worst defenses and worst offensive lines in the league last year and we aren’t expecting a whole lot to change in those areas.
The Panthers did spend a top-10 draft pick on new left tackle Ickey Ekwonu, but the rest leaves a lot to be desired. The defense should improve with players like 2021 top pick Jaycee Horn returning from injury, but this isn’t exactly a top-of-the-line unit.
But, neither of those two areas are the main issue for the Panthers heading into 2022. The big problem for this team is the position virtually no team can compete without: quarterback.
Sam Darnold is the starter on paper in the middle of June, and the team spent a third-round pick on former Ole Miss standout Matt Corral. But it’s unlikely either is the solution in Charlotte.
There are whispers about a trade to bring in the disgruntled Baker Mayfield from Cleveland, but the Browns have their own QB controversy to worry about and may need the former top pick Mayfield.
The Panthers have great weapons in D.J. Moore, a returning Christian McCaffrey and others, but without a QB they don’t stand a chance.
NFC South Odds: Atlanta Falcons (+2200)
Speaking of not having a quarterback, the Atlanta Falcons traded maybe the best one in franchise history, unloading Matt Ryan to the Colts for a third-round pick back in March.
That leaves journeyman backup Marcus Mariota as the new starter for the Falcons after they decided to give the former No. 2 overall pick a nice new contract this offseason. Atlanta also spent a third-round pick on Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder, but he isn’t expected to challenge for the top job this season.
But while the Saints and Panthers have questions at quarterback, they also have some solid pieces around their QBs on both offense and defense. The same can’t really be said for the Falcons, who have one of the worst rosters in the league.
Atlanta spent the eighth overall pick on wide receiver Drake London and has last year’s top pick Kyle Pitts as another great pass-catching option, but the offense is pretty bare bones outside those two.
The defense is even worse with holes at all three levels and no legitimate stars outside defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and corner AJ Terrell. Depending on how Mariota plays, it could be a long, tough year for the Falcons.
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How To Read NFC South Odds
An important part of sports betting involves understanding how odds are laid out at the sportsbook. You’ll see NFC South odds displayed the same way they are in our table. The team with the minus sign (-) besides its number is the favorite. Plus signs (+) indicate underdogs. In some cases, you will not see a clear front-runner (lack of minus sign) and the squad with the lowest odds is the fave.
Let’s say you’re loving Tampa Bay at -1600. A $100 bet would give you a payout of $106.25 – you get your $100 back along with your winnings of $6.25. Conversely, that same $100 on the Saints at +1200 will give you $1,300 – your original money is returned coupled with your prize of $1,200.
Dogs come with bigger rewards since there is more risk associated. However, it’s best to do your research before betting on them. When oddsmakers set the betting lines, they take into consideration everything from past performance to schedule to roster moves.
Look to our Odds Calculator to show you how much you’d win based on the odds and amount bet.
What Is An NFL Futures Bet?
If you were to wager on the chances of a certain team to win the NFC South, that is a futures bet. It is called such because you’re betting on events that will take place weeks or even months in advance. In this case, it’s on a team to take the divisional title. We suggest jumping on odds early if you can. As the season progresses, the lines will move to reflect coaching changes, injuries and teams climbing or falling in the standings.
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