The NFC South proved to be one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL throughout the opening week of the 2022-23 NFL betting season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Dallas Cowboys in their season debut, while the New Orleans Saints staged a dramatic comeback to upend a gritty effort from the Atlanta Falcons who simply just couldn’t seal the deal. Even the Carolina Panthers showed they had something in the tank battling back from a 20-7 fourth-quarter deficit to make a game of it before ultimately falling at home to the Cleveland Browns.
Even so, this is and will continue to be a two-horse race between the Bucs and Saints with the teams earning the title each of the last five seasons.
Week 2 presents NFL bettors with an interesting conundrum with both teams set to meet up in the Caesars Superdome for the first of two regular season soirees. Should you be of the belief Tampa Bay meets expectations and goes on to win this division, you might want to hold off investing on “The Goat” and see if N’awlens continues to dominate the recent rivalry first.
Should the Saints win, you’ll get a better entry point into the market next week. The flipside to that coin would be to invest in New Orleans now since their rate of return will shorten up dramatically should they extend the win streak to three straight over the Bucs.
Let’s break down the current offerings at BetRivers Sportsbook and see if there’s anything else to get involved in.
Bet NFC South Title Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -305
I personally own a Buccaneers under ticket (11.5) and don’t believe they have what it takes to run away with division bragging rights like they did a season ago. Getting Dallas to open the season was a blessing in disguise, but the AFC South as a whole is much improved in the eyes of this author. That was highly evident with what went down in Week 1. Each of the Bucs next three games are going to be wars, and that Week 5 tilt versus the Falcons won’t be a walk in the park either coming off the Sunday nighter against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Now is definitely not the time to invest in Todd Bowles’ troops repeating with their odds of winning the division the chalkiest they’ve been all year. Losses will be absorbed over the next month due to the opposition faced and the roster not being at full strength. Should a struggle come to fruition, it’s wise to hold off until the schedule lightens up and the cost is more palatable.
New Orleans Saints +300
So I faded the Saints last week in Hotlanta thinking the team was going to need some time to gel under the newish coaching staff. The absence of Sean Payton was clearly apparent early in the fourth quarter with the Falcons owners of what looked to be a commanding 26-10 lead. Then in the blink of an eye, Michael Thomas went HAM by logging his first two touchdown receptions of the season, and the defense stiffened keeping Atlanta scoreless the rest of the way. That opened the door for Will Lutz’s game-winning 51-yard field goal with 19 ticks remaining on the clock.
The 27-26 non-covering comeback win is one I believe sets this team up for some early success. So long as Jameis Winston performs efficiently and doesn’t kill the club with boneheaded turnovers, the Saints are going to be in the division race all the way through. They own an easier strength of schedule on par with the Bucs and get the benefit of three of their first five games being played at home. I’m a big fan of the mixture of excelled veteran and young talent on this squad and believe the team is worthy of a futures investment right now.
Carolina Panthers +1600
I’m not buying the Panthers owning shorter odds than the Falcons right now. Baker Mayfield simply just isn’t the elixir the roster needed to become division title worthy. Why this team was laying points last week was a real head-scratcher. They looked dead in the water before hitting an extra gear in the fourth quarter. Even so, the defense knew the Browns were going to attempt to run the ball down their throat ad nauseum, and they still couldn’t stop Nick Chubb and Co who went on to rack up 217 yards on 39 total carries (5.6 YPC). Hard pass!
Atlanta Falcons +3300
The Falcons own the toughest perceived schedule strength within the division by a wide margin per Sharp Football Analysis. I was bearish on this squad in the offseason recommending total bettors take a flier on the under of their 4.5-game season wins total. But since watching them in the preseason and seeing how Arthur Smith’s troops battled New Orleans in the opener, I’m now a bull.
The offense is going to put points on the board while the defense possesses one of the better secondaries in the game. Should everything fall into place, they could surpass their wins total with ease.
That being said, this team isn’t competing for the NFC South title this season. It will however cover a bunch of games en route to setting the tone for years to come. Sell the futures odds and buy the over of their readjusted win total! If you can find odds on them finishing third, I’d bet that in a heartbeat!