The Saints were an impressive 11-5 SU last season in route to a wildcard berth in the NFC, but will they be able to match that in an improved division this season? The NFL Odds for the Saints might just be overvaluing them this offseason.
Super Bowl (+2000)
New Orleans had a pretty good season despite some of the injuries sustained throughout the 2013 season, but in the end even though they made it to the playoffs, they couldn’t do anything once they got there. In fact, even after being huge favorites in the NFL odds to win the division last season, they lost out to the Panthers, who ended the year 12-4. Even though Carolina’s fate in the playoffs was no different than the Saints, at least New Orleans lost to the eventual Super Bowl champs. This upcoming season looks to be good for the Saints, but even if they match their 11-5 record from a season ago, will it be enough to win the division?
Much like their Super Bowl price, I think the Saints may be overvalued slightly in the NFL odds. They were not able to retain, or replace some key components lost in free agency, and it could have a big affect on this big strike offense. They lost two key offensive linemen in New Orleans this offseason, and if they can’t replace them both, it might be trouble for Drew Brees and this offense. Not only were the Saints more dependent on the run last season, but also keeping Brees upright is priority number one in New Orleans. If they can’t do that, this division just got wide open. At 10:1 to win the NFC and 20:1 to win the Super Bowl, the Saints are looking overvalued.
NFC South (+120)
I think the same can be said about the Saints’ NFL odds to win the division from LVH Sportsbook. At +120, there are a bunch of different wagers that have way more value, and way less risk than a +120 wager on the Saints to win the division. Coming off of a strong year where they didn’t win should be indication enough to not bet the Saints, but along with the improved South division, the Saints might not get back to the 11-win mark this season.
The Saints’ schedule post-bye is really tough, and there isn’t a gimme game on their schedule from Week 7 on. If they want to duplicate what they did last season, just with a division win, they are going to have to start the season at least 4-1 to accomplish it. The NFC South plays the AFC North and the NFC North this season, two of the tougher divisions in football. In fact, from Weeks 8-11, the Saints play a brutal stretch of four teams that were all in the playoffs last season.
With all of the turnover, and with the improved conference and division, I’m simply not finding many good reasons to recommend the Saints for your NFL picks this offseason. Everything will have to fall into place for them to get back to the Super Bowl, and their price to win the division is not even worth your or my time.