The NFL season is only five weeks old, but quite a few division races look much different than they did just a month ago. As such, some of the preseason bets you made on division winners might already look really out of date. Never fear though, there’s an opportunity to go back in and make new picks now. In this pieces, I’ll walk you through how you should bet each NFC Division moving forward.
NFC East: Do not trust the Cowboys
Dallas flew out of the games to a 3-0 start that had fans of “America’s team” very excited. Then they started to play respectable teams. Now, Jason Garrett’s team is stumbling at 3-2 heading into a must-win game against the Jets on Sunday.
Instead of counting on a Cowboys comeback, you should be backing the Eagles at -129. Doug Pederson’s team has dealt with a troubling rash of injuries on the young season, but they’ve still managed to fight and claw their way to a 3-2 start. The key here is that they’ve already played a much tougher schedule than Dallas. That, coupled with the improving play of Carson Wentz at quarterback makes Philadelphia a rather easy choice here.
NFC North: The Vikings are the value
If odds weren’t a factor, you’d be smart to believe the Packers will capitalize on their 4-1 start to win the NFC North. There’s just enough value to back Green Bay at +120. Instead, we like the idea of trying to find value with the Vikings.
Minnesota hasn’t looked great on the young season, but they’re just one game behind the Packers with a record of 3-2. Dalvin Cook and the run game have been amazing. It’s up to Kirk Cousins and the passing game to find some consistency as the season rolls along.
You can currently get the Vikings at +300 which puts them well ahead of Green Bay in terms of potential value. Look for Mike Zimmer to get this defense right down the stretch. If that happens, the Vikings can overcome Cousins’ shortcomings and emerge with an NFC North title.
NFC South: The Saints are marching in
When Drew Brees went down with injury, a lot of NFL fans expected to see the Saints crumble in his absence. Instead, Teddy Bridgewater has piloted New Orleans to a 4-1 record. It’s reasonable to assume that this team is going to take off when Brees does return to pilot Sean Payton’s offense.
That’s why we support you backing the Saints even though oddsmakers have stripped away a lot of the potential value. -275 is the best number you can get on New Orleans at the moment. Admittedly, there’s not a ton of upside there.
The other wager worth considering here is the Panthers at +400. Kyle Allen has done an amazing job of keeping Carolina in the thick of things. However, it’s hard to imagine him outdueling Brees down the stretch. Feel free to hedge your bet with a wager on the Panthers if you think Cam Newton is going to come back and key a big run.
NFC West: Fly with the Seahawks
This is a very strange division from a betting perspective. The 49ers are 4-0 but still have worse odds to win the NFC West than the Rams. The difference between the two teams is negligible, but it’s clear that oddsmakers aren’t convinced that San Francisco is for real.
The craziest thing about the division is that you can get the Seahawks at +240 to finish ahead of both Los Angeles and the ‘Niners. As a reminder, Russell Wilson’s team sits at 4-1. That’s only a half-game behind San Francisco and it’s a full game ahead of Jared Goff and company.
In close situations like this it makes sense to put your money behind the quarterback you believe in the most. Would you trust Goff, Wilson or Jimmy Garoppolo to make a big play for your team in the clutch. The answer to that query is Wilson by an absolute landslide. Bet on Seattle to win the division and make it one of your stronger bets of the season.