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2017 NFC South Predictions and Picks

2017 NFC South Predictions and Picks

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

As far as the oddsmakers are concerned, the NFC South division will be the most-competitive division in all of pro football. Of all the divisions in the NFL, the NFC South has the closest-knit group of 4 teams from an odds perspective. At the top you have the defending division and conference champion Atlanta Falcons at +160, with the final choice in the division in the New Orleans Saints only a +450 selection. There isn't much to separate these four teams, with each team being given a realistic chance to win the NFC South.

Again, the Falcons were conference champions last season, closing the regular season strongly, before beating Seattle and Green Bay to get to the big game, a Super Bowl they probably should have won. They get to try again this season, but can they even get out of their division? Right behind them is the previous season's conference champion Carolina Panthers, a team looking to get back on the right track after a rough 2016 season. They are followed closely by a team that is considered a rising commodity in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs were second in the division last season at 9-7 and look to moving in the right direction. And just when you thought it was OK to stop watching the Saints, they made a bunch of moves that could easily upgrade their recent form.

Here, we list the odds to win the 2017 NFC South, followed by team profiles and our pick to win the division.

Odds to Win the NFC South Division in 2017:
Atlanta Falcons +160
Carolina Panthers +220
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +400
New Orleans Saints +450

A Word About the Odds: All selections to win the NFC South Division are underdogs. Their odds are represented with a plus-sign. When you see a plus-sign that simply means that the number you see is how much you win for every $100 you win. So a $100 bet on the Atlanta Falcons at +160 would win you $160. And of course, you get your bet amount back. A $100 bet on Carolina would net you $220 in winnings, while the same bet would win you $400 on Tampa and $450 on the Saints.

Atlanta Falcons (+160): A streaky season last year led to a Super Bowl berth in a game they should have won. Yet, they are only narrow favorites to win the division this season, as the NFC South has been the division with the most parity in the NFL. Last season, they lost their first game, won their next four games, went 3-4 in their next 7, before ending the season with a big 4-game win streak that won them the division. There seems to be a lack of enthusiasm for them this season. Maybe it's the fact that a lot went right last season or that they were quiet in terms of making offseason moves. Or it could just be the rise of the rest of the teams in the division and an anticipated better season from Carolina. We still think those shoveling dirt on the Falcons could be surprised this season.

Carolina Panthers (+220): While the Falcons seemed charmed last season, the Panthers couldn't seem to get anything to go their way in defense of their conference title. Injuries, underwhelming individual performances, and bad breaks across the board made it so they were unable to get out of their own way last season. While their 2015 form may be out of reach, one should expect something closer to that than their bizarre 2016 form. Newton should be better with some help up-front on the way, in addition to the potential contributions of rookies Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. One of the harder teams to figure out for this upcoming season, one should figure the Panthers will have a say when it comes to crowning a division champion this season.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+400): It's hard to look at Tampa and not consider them a team on the rise. Granted, there's not enough success available in the league for every team that showed good signs to shine, but Tampa looks pretty legit heading into 2017. Winston is maturing and has a winner's drive. The additions of DeSean Jackson and rookie OJ Howard give him more weaponry with which to work. Dirk Koetter, now in his second season, seems to have latched onto something good, as a 9-7 record last season will attest. We finally saw a long-underachieving defense start to realize its potential last season. More consistency and maturation on both sides of the ball should have Tampa in there with a shot.

New Orleans Saints (+450): The Saints are definitely the strongest choice of all teams with the worst odds to win their division. And at just +450, they're not really a longshot at all. While they have struggled with three straight 7-9 seasons, it's somehow impressive how they never really bottomed-out, despite a defense that has played at slapstick levels at times. That issue was addressed in the offseason and while it's asking a lot for all those moves to materialize well, some of them figure to help. They basically revamped their whole middle by signing three good linebackers, also adding to other areas on the "D." They beefed up their O-line, which could lead to a resurgent season from former multi-time rushing champion and first-year Saint Adrian Peterson. Drew Brees is still awfully-effective and should be in fine form as the Saints shake off their recent woes and contend for the division title.

Lootmeister's Pick to Win the NFC South Division in 2017: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and making NFL divisional prop bets at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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