In a division that definitely had some value in 2012, will the same hold true for 2013? Let’s take a look at the entire division and decide which teams are fade material when the season begins.
Atlanta Falcons (+1400 Super Bowl, +750 NFC)
Widely considered the best team in the division is the Falcons who come in rather reasonably priced in the NFL odds. The Falcons have had some postseason struggles to say the least, but almost every team has along the way to greatness. The Falcons have the ability to be a good bet this season in the future odds, but will they choke it away like in years past?
I am a bit worried about their secondary this season. They lost both their starting cornerbacks to free agency and while they drafted two with their first two picks, if those two end up the starters, I might have to lay off the Falcons. At 7.5/1 to win the conference, they look great on paper. They could beat both the 49ers and Seahawks in the right position, and the only thing keeping me from recommending a play on the Falcons right now is that defensive uncertainty. Lay off for now, but we will almost certainly revisit this later.
New Orleans Saints (+1800 Super Bowl, +1000 NFC)
Coming in right behind the Falcons are the Saints at 18/1 to win the Super Bowl. After last season, the Saints need some lifting up, and although Sean Peyton being back is going to help, I don’t see the Saints being any better ATS this season than they were in 2012. The Saints were 8-8 ATS last season and with optimism running exceptionally high this season in New Orleans, things could be overvalued in Saints land this offseason and regular season.
New Orleans has done some remodeling to their defense that I like, but they have done little to help their rushing defense, which was worst in the NFL last season. They also didn’t run the ball well last season which once again has had been brushed aside by the Saints. 8-8 ATS might be a generous prediction for the Saints. I am selling on their future odds, and might even recommend them as a fade with your NFL picks.
Carolina Panthers (+4000 Super Bowl, +2200 NFC)
The Panthers are team making some nice improvements, but for several key reasons this season, I think we might have some great value betting on the other side of Panthers’ lines this season. We have to sell their future odds. They are in the toughest division in the NFC and the conference itself is very competitive.
The Panthers have the toughest strength of schedule of any team in the NFL this season according to their opponent’s 2012 winning percentage, and I don’t think that is going to bode well for Carolina. They were a 9-7 team ATS last season and the season before that they made money, but this season I think we have to fade the Panthers.
Tampa Bay Bucs (+4000 Super Bowl, +2200 NFC)
The Bucs had a lot of value last season despite going 7-9 SU last season. Tampa went 9-5-2 ATS last season in some instances, and the Bucs are entering another season with moderate NFL future odds. While I think their prices are pretty solid, I do think the Bucs are another team to fade this season.
Tampa drafted a QB in the 3rd round and there could be competition with lame duck quarterback Josh Freeman. If that happens, disregard all the other great talent they have, because that could make this season dead for the Bucs. QB battles create uncertainty and that creates bad markets. Sell the Bucs for now until we know whom their starter will be Week 1.