We're previewing each NFL division as kickoff for the 2020 football season approaches, and next up it's time for some NFC South predictions.
With Week 1 right around the corner, online sportsbooks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and several other states where wagering is legal are busy accepting NFL futures wagers of all kinds. In addition to standard options such a division winner, conference winner, and Super Bowl champion, there are tons of prop betting markets for each team to choose from.
Without wasting any more time, let's get to the Saints, Buccaneers, Falcons, and Panthers as we make our 2020 NFC South betting picks.
Who Will Win The NFC South In 2020?
In 2019, the New Orleans Saints went 13-3 en route to the NFC South title, winning the division handily. In fact, the Saints were the only group to go above .500, as the second-place Falcons and Buccaneers both went 7-9. This year, Tampa Bay has made massive upgrades and according to oddsmakers, are expected to compete. So who will win the NFC South in 2020?
It's no surprise that New Orleans is the favorite to win the division for a third straight season, but it is a bit surprising just by how little they're favored by.
This is a two-horse race with the new-look Bucs, whose odds are very close behind with the additions of Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. It makes sense that Tampa Bay would have the second-lowest odds but without a normal preseason or training camp, it may take some time for things to gel.
Both oddsmakers and the public are seemingly sold on the Bucs being an immediate powerhouse. That's great news for Saints backers, as the -125 price at BetMGM feels like a great price to hope that the incumbent champs aren't overtaken.
NFC South Division Winner Pick: New Orleans Saints (-125 at BetMGM)
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For similar breakdowns covering the rest of the league, check out our NFL division prediction series:
NFC South Win Total Predictions
- New Orleans Saints Over 10.5 Wins (-106 at DraftKings)
New Orleans won 13 games last season and even with the improvement of Tampa Bay, we don't see the Saints dropping by more than two wins in 2020.
According to Football Outsiders, the Saints ranked 4th in offensive DVOA, and that was with Drew Brees' injury. Now add Emmanuel Sanders and a healthy Alvin Kamara to the mix. Veteran Malcolm Jenkins joins the 11th-ranked DVOA defense from a year ago.
We'd comfortably take this over as one of our NFC South win total picks considering the schedule and the talent level of this group.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers Under 10 Wins (-125 at BetMGM)
The Bucs had one of the best run-stopping defenses in football a season ago and the new-look offense in Tampa Bay features a pretty great cast in Brady, Gronkowski, Evans, and Godwin. According to the odds, expectations are high among both oddsmakers and the public.
On paper, this feels like a double-digit win team, especially considering a middle-of-the-road schedule in terms of difficulty. But without a normal preseason and considering the fact that Brady is learning a new playbook for the first time in two decades, things may not be as seamless as we imagine.
This number can be found at 9.5 at some sites if that adds some value but for under bettors, getting this at 10 provides some margin for error with an extra victory since this feels like a nine or 10 win team in 2020 to us.
- Atlanta Falcons Over 7.5 Wins (-110 at FanDuel)
The Falcons have become a little bit like the Cowboys in the way that the question before every season has become whether Atlanta will live up to its ridiculous talent level. Following the addition of Todd Gurley, the Falcons' offense is expected to have 10 players on it who were first-round picks, but will it transfer to wins? Well, enough of them, we think.
Atlanta needs to go just 8-8 to secure the over here, and we think they do it. Even with a 3-3 mark inside the division, the Falcons can go 5-5 outside of it with a little more of the consistency that eluded them a season ago.
- Carolina Panthers Under 5.5 Wins (+100 at BetMGM)
Carolina fans should be excited about Christian McCaffery and Teddy Bridgewater, but not necessarily the upcoming season. In a division where the other three teams have a much higher overall talent level, this team isn't going to be competing for much.
After losing team leader Luke Keuchy to retirement, things aren't going to be the same on defense and Carolina will struggle to stop many of the teams on its schedule. We are thinking four or five wins for the Panthers as the rest of the division gets healthy against them.
2020 NFC South Record Predictions
Another market offered at NJ and PA betting sites in addition to win totals is NFL record predictions. Some sportsbooks, such as BetMGM, offer lucrative odds if you can pinpoint the exact number of wins for a given team. Here are our NFC South record predictions:
- New Orleans Saints Record Prediction: 12-4
- Tampa Bay Bucs Record Prediction: 9-7
- Atlanta Falcons Record Prediction: 8-8
- Carolina Panthers Record Prediction: 4-12
These records are merely educated guesses, but perhaps they could at least be used as a guideline for what to expect from these teams in 2020.
NFC South Best Bets 2020
The markets that are most commonly wagered on when it comes to preseason NFL futures are the following:
- Win Totals
- Division Winner
- Conference Winner
- Super Bowl Champion
But on top of these well-known categories, there are dozens of lesser-known prop betting markets specific to every team. The exact odds vary from site to site, but the fact that there are a nearly unlimited number of options means there is something for every bettor, regardless of preference.
We scoured several different sites looking for a steady balance of value and what we expect to happen, so here are our NFC South best bets:
- New Orleans Saints Win NFC South (-125 at BetMGM)
- New Orleans Saints First Loss: Week 3 vs. Packers (+500 at BetMGM)
- New Orleans Saints Exactly 11 Wins (+265 at BetMGM)
- Tampa Bay Bucs First Win: Week 2 vs. Panthers (-118 at BetMGM)
- Tampa Bay Bucs Second Place NFC South (+115 at DraftKings)
- Tampa Bay Bucs To Make Playoffs: No (+180 at BetMGM)
- Atlanta Falcons Third Place NFC South (-110 at BetMGM)
- Atlanta Falcons Over 7.5 Wins (+100 at DraftKings)
- Atlanta Falcons Exactly 8 Wins (+280 at BetMGM)
- Carolina Panthers 0-4 Wins (+210 at BetMGM)
- Carolina Panthers Fourth Place NFC South (-250 at DraftKings)
- Carolina Panthers First Win: Week 1 vs. Las Vegas (-115 at BetMGM)
Stay tuned for more 2020 NFL betting predictions for each division as Week 1 gets closer!
Photo Credit: Associated Press