New Orleans: Team to Beat in the NFC South

The NFC South should be won this season by the New Orleans Saints. The Carolina Panthers will likely give the Saints a run for their money, while the Atlanta Falcons will rebound from a poor 2013 season.

The current lines on Bovada and betonline have New Orleans favored to win the NFC South at 11 to 10, while Carolina is at 11 to 4, the Atlanta Falcons at 11 to 4 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the long shot at 13 to 2.

The Saints last season led by a vastly improved defense under Rob Ryan ended the regular season Power Rankings as the No. 3 teams trailing just Seattle and Denver.

The edge of playing at home was significant for members of the NFC South last season. The four teams were a combined 23-9-2 against the spread at home. All four of the teams, in the division were .500 or better at home last season ATS, with the Saints at 7-0-1 ATS and the Panthers at 6-1-1 ATS the leaders.

Away from home, however things were not as successful with the division combining to go 9-23 against the number, including a bettor’s nightmare of 1-7 ATS for New Orleans.

According to info on topbet and sportsbook.com, New Orleans was 0-3 ATS as a ‘dog during the regular season, prior to covering on the road versus Philadelphia and Seattle during the postseason.

Last season, the NFC South played the AFC East and was 9-7 SU. This season the division’s AFC opponents are the members of the AFC North.

The AFC North should not be as strong as in prior seasons, but going into Cincinnati will not be easy. The Bengals won SU and ATS all eight home games during the regular season last year. That means it will be extra tough on Carolina and Atlanta who face the Bengals on the road.

Amongst the teams in the NFC South, New Orleans has attracted the most action on the futures boards to win the NFC South and the Super Bowl.

Overall, the Saints are one of the top-bet teams. One online site opened the Saints at 20 to 1 to win the Lombardi Trophy in February of 2015, but bettors have bet New Orleans down to 10 to 1.

Following the Saints, the NFC South team that is most bet is Atlanta. The Falcons opened on most sites as a 50 to 1 long shot to win the Super Bowl, but are down to a current line of 35 to 1.

Tampa Bay, which will have Lovie Smith guiding the team this season, was dropped to 30 to 1 from 100 to 1. Carolina has been surprisingly lower than one might expect. The Panthers opened at 20 to 1 but have lengthened their odds to 40 to 1, as there has been little action or risk placed on the team.

NFC South projected win totals

Atlanta Falcons – 8.5 with the UNDER at -125

Carolina Panthers – 8 with the OVER at -150

New Orleans – 9.5 with the OVER at -175

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 7 with the OVER at -145

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