Football season is upon us, and that means it’s time to start previewing some NFL divisions from a DraftKings Sportsbook perspective. Below I’ll break down all the odds in the futures market for the four teams in the NFC South.
NFC Conference Odds: +275
NFC South Division Odds: -200
Team Win Total: 12
To Make Playoffs: -700
Award Contenders: MVP: Tom Brady (+1400), DPOY: Devin White (+1800)
Week 1 Spread: -6 (vs. DAL)
After an average 7-5 start to Tom Brady’s career in Tampa Bay, he found a way to do it again — ripping off eight straight wins to grab a Wild Card spot and win the Super Bowl. The 44-year-old quarterback battled through a torn MCL during the playoff run, and somehow seems poised for another big season.
The Buccaneers are the first team in the history of the salary cap era to win the Super Bowl and bring all 22 starters back the following season. Yet, because Tampa didn’t actually win the division, it also gets one of the softest schedules in football. We’ll address the rest of the field below, but injuries aside, it’s tough to imagine the Bucs don’t take the division this season, positioning them for another postseason run.
NFC Conference Odds: +1600
NFC South Division Odds: +350
To Make Playoffs: +100
Award Contenders: OPOY: Alvin Kamara (+1600), CPOY: Michael Thomas (+1200) and Jameis Winston (+1600), COY: Sean Payton (+1800)
Week 1 Spread: +2.5 (vs. GB)
One of the reasons that Tampa Bay is so heavily favored within the division is the quarterback turnover in New Orleans. With Drew Brees retired, we have a QB battle for Week 1 between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. As of Aug. 3, Winston is the -140 favorite to get the first snap in Week 1 on DraftKings Sportsbook, but that’s a much slimmer number than we saw when the line opened.
Quarterback aside, I’m not too high on the Saints for 2021. Sean Payton is a good coach, but I think betting this team to miss the playoffs at a reasonable number is worth considering. Michael Thomas will once again be sidelined for an extended period of time, headlining a group of Saints battling issues entering the season. Brees seemed to master the swing pass to Alvin Kamara, so we’ll have to see if the new QB is also capable of helping Kamara put up the same numbers — which wasn’t always the case last season.
NFC Conference Odds: +3000
NFC South Division Odds: +900
Team Win Total: 7.5
To Make Playoffs: +190
Award Contenders: MVP: Matt Ryan (+3500), OROY: Kyle Pitts (+750), COY: Arthur Smith (+1400)
Week 1 Spread: -3.5 (vs. ATL)
The Falcons have taken some sharp money on the over for their win total, which on Aug. 3 is juiced to -130. It’s not a huge ask, at 7.5 you could cash the over and still have an 8-9 losing season. Even with the loss of Julio Jones, Atlanta plugs in an elite pass-catcher in TE Kyle Pitts, who was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft and should make an immediate impact on offense.
It’s the same old issues with the Falcons — defense. However, the old coaching regime that gave us questionable decisions at best is out, and Arthur Smith is in (and one of the Coach of the Year favorites). I don’t see much value on the betting board for Atlanta unless you believe they have enough on defense to be a .500-type team. Pitts for ROY would be the only other consideration to beat out, but he has a tough QB and RB class to outperform.
NFC Conference Odds: +4000
NFC South Division Odds: +1000
Team Win Total: 7.5
To Make Playoffs: +210
Award Contenders: DROY: Jaycee Horn (+1400), OPOY: Christian McCaffrey (+1000), CPOY: Christian McCaffrey (+800) and Sam Darnold (+1800), COY: Matt Rhule (+1600)
Week 1 Spread: -4.5 (vs. NYJ)
Despite finishing 5-11 in 2020, the Panthers managed to stay out of the basement in the division (thanks to the Falcons). Matt Rhule even had some buzz going for Coach of the Year, but the team just couldn’t finish games. They’ll see what they have in Sam Darnold, and pray that a change of scenery unlocks his potential, but there’s still a lot of concern with the rest of this roster.
The return of a healthy CMC will no doubt help on offense, but the defense was a major issue at times last season. Jaycee Horn is a legit ROY contender and will help there, but there are still a lot of unknowns with this Panthers team. If you’re feeling risky, the upside is there for this team to compete, but they have the longest odds in the division for a reason.
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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
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