Join us as we analyze the NFL Futures Book Odds from some popular markets for the NFC West. We share free picks for this interesting and ever-changing division.
The Arizona Cardinals had a breakout season in 2014, but 2015 will reveal if Bruce Arians' team is the real deal in the NFC West, with the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks the presumed favorites in the division as well as the conference. And many have scoffed at the chances of the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams, but much for those two teams will depend on QB play and anything could happen, and definitely will this coming season. Let’s look at some Futures Book Odds from some popular markets for the NFC West and then make a couple of NFL picks on this interesting and ever-changing NFL division which has teams from the Midwest (Rams), Southwest (Cardinals), West (49ers) and Northwest (Seahawks) regions of the United States all in its funky ranks.
Don’t Expect Arizona Cardinals to Lead NFC West Like Most of the 2014 Regular Season
Like a couple of divisions in the NFL in the Regular Season, the NFC West was a little bit quirky in 2014/15. Someone must have spiked the punch at the NFC West Holiday party and the buzz didn’t kick in until Week 12, when Gravity and Evolution and History suddenly took over like it was written by some crazed Seattle-based screenplay writer. After Week 11—in a 16-game (17-week) Regular Season—the surprising Arizona Cardinals, under the direction of underrated Head Coach Bruce Arians (21-11-1 ATS) had a stronghold on the NFC West with a 9-1 record, with the defending division champion Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers both sitting with 6-4 records and it looking like Pete Carroll’s team might not even make the postseason. And in some bizarre quirk in the schedule, Arizona had only played 2 divisional games after 11 weeks (2-0). Then, the proverbial worm suddenly turned. Thwimp. The Seahawks beat the Cardinals in Week 12 in Seattle, 19-3, and then proceeded to win their next 7 games, including 2 NFC Playoff games to get to Super Bowl XLIX where they ended up losing to the AFC champion New England Patriots because it’s apparently easier to pass from a millimeter out then to give the ball to your All-Pro RB, Marshawn Lynch (+650 to be NFL Regular Season Rushing Leader, 5Dimes). Things happen.
So Seattle (12-4) won the NFC West again, the Cardinals (11-5) had an incredible season, despite playing the majority of it without starting QB Carson Palmer (ACL) and finishing with a 2-4 mark down the stretch; the Niners went from 6-4 to 8-8 and lost their Mojo, several players after the season as well as their Head Coach (Jim Harbaugh); and, the St. Louis Rams (6-10) fought through injuries and seemingly Quarter-backless days to survive the season looking forward to a brighter Future. You could say it was just another year in the NFC West, but it really wasn’t. It was a little weird. Anytime the Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFL at 9-1 with backup Drew Stanton at QB, the season itself may be up for drug testing. But reality finally caught up with the screenplay, and the Seahawks (10-2 vs NFC) rolled off a 6-game Win streak to end the Regular Season and pulled off the 4th Quarter comeback in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers at home in Seattle to make it to the Super Bowl. And that’s how the West was won. At least in the NFL in 2014.
This season in the NFC West, expect less quirkiness, with all eyes on the Cardinals (7-1 Home) and QB Palmer as he returns from his injury. And again, the schedule allows for some early season dreaming, but in Weeks 6 and 7 reality rears its ugly head with games against the AFC North’s Pittsburgh Steelers in the Steel City and against the Baltimore Ravens at Home in Glendale at University of Phoenix Stadium (Cardinals -1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, NFL Games of the Year). Some are still high on Arizona (310 PF-299 PA, +11) and its Defense and Head Coach and Homefield advantage can’t be denied, but the 49ers and Rams aren’t as bad as many perceive and Arizona is probably closer to these two NFC West teams in talent level than it is to mighty Seattle (7-1 Home) and may be on the downswing this year and not make the Playoffs. The Cardinals big problem? The ability to score with ease and not have it be like scoring TDs are like passing Kidney Stones. Maybe with Palmer back and superstar veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald (125/1 Most Receiving Yards Regular Season, 5Dimes) playing his last season the Offense can become more prolific, but that will probably mean that Palmer, RB Andre Ellington and WR Michael Floyd will all have to have career seasons and remain injury-free. And, easier said than done in the NFL where tackles are tantamount to car crashes at like 20 mph speeds. Car crashes over and over and over and over again. And by considerably bigger cars built better and faster than they were in the Eighties and Nineties.
As for St. Louis (4-8 vs NFC) and San Francisco, the season is a mystery despite how people have bet into Futures Book markets and what most writers have written and what talking heads have all said. Both could surprise, and if everything went right for one and wrong for some others like the aforementioned division counterparts the Cardinals, the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings, one of the Rams or Niners could theoretically finish 10-6 or maybe 9-7 and maybe even snag a Wild Card berth in the NFC. Now, maybe my punch has been spiked, brother, although it would be funny to see Nick Foles triumphantly lead St. Louis to the Postseason after being traded to the Eagles for Sam Bradford or for Colin Kaepernick to lead San Francisco to the Playoffs with all that’s happened with his franchise in the City By the Bay. But expect the 2015 NFC Playoffs to look an awful lot like the 2014 NFL Playoffs, with maybe the exception of the Cardinals inclusion this time around with possibly either the Saints or Vikings replacing them.
Odds to Win NFC West Division—SuperBook vs (Highest Offshore, Online or European)
Seattle Seahawks 1/4 (-300, bet365)
Arizona Cardinals 5/1 (+665, 5Dimes)
St. Louis Rams 8/1 (9/1, William Hill)
San Francisco 49ers 15/1 (14/1, William Hill)
NFC West Teams Odds to Win NFC Championship
Seattle Seahawks 5/2 (+260, bet365)
Arizona Cardinals 15/1 (18/1, Skybet)
St. Louis Rams 20/1 (25/1, bet365, Ladbrokes)
San Francisco 49ers 20/1 (25/1, William Hill)
NFC West Teams Odds to Win Super Bowl
Seattle Seahawks 5/1 (+465, 5Dimes)
Arizona Cardinals 30/1 (33/1, Skybet, William Hill)
St. Louis Rams 40/1 (50/1, BetVictor, Paddy Power, William Hill)
San Francisco 49ers 60/1 (50/1, Ladbrokes)
NFC West Teams Select Super Bowl 50 Matchup Odds—(5Dimes)
Seattle Seahawks vs New England Patriots: +1840
Arizona Cardinals vs Baltimore Ravens: 165/1
St. Louis Rams vs Kansas City Chiefs: 560/1
San Francisco 49ers vs Buffalo Bills: 680/1
NFC West Teams Odds To Reach NFC Championship Game—(5Dimes)
Seattle Seahawks: +120
Arizona Cardinals: +615
St. Louis Rams: +800
San Francisco 49ers: +1150
Regular Season Team Win Totals—(Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Seattle Seahawks 11 Over -125, Under +105
Arizona Cardinals 8½ Over -120, Under Even
St. Louis Rams 8 Over +140, Under -160
San Francisco 49ers 7 Over +120, Under -140
Expect the Seahawks to Be Driven by Memories of Super Bowl Near-Miss, Talented New TE Jimmy Graham
Each team in the NFC West (To Be Winning Division in NFC +170, 5Dimes) has its own distinct storyline heading into the 2015/16 Regular Season. For Seattle, it’s the addition of TE Jimmy Graham who the defending NFC champs acquired in a trade with the New Orleans Saints for starting C Max Unger. For the Cardinals, the return of Carson Palmer will be the focus from jump, while for the 49ers it will be to see what remains after the figurative earthquake with the devastation of this team’s roster and departure of its beloved Head Coach. And for the Rams, there are maybe two main storylines: Can Nick Foles be the Rams QB of the Future and can this team remain relatively injury free this season? Probably only one team has any chance of actually getting to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara next February from this NFC West (To Be Winning Division in Super Bowl +320, 5Dimes), and it’s obvious who it is. The team with the best and historic Defense. The team with the killer DBs that hit like Mack Trucks. The team with underrated LB Bobby Wagner who already has 7 tackles and the Preseason hasn’t even started. The Seattle Seahawks. The NFC West was taken over a couple years back by the Seahawks, and with Carroll as Head Coach, some incredible fans and a really loving city, star QB Russell Wilson, workhorse RB Lynch, that Defense and now TE Graham to throw the football to? Sounds like another dominating season up in the Emerald City and as oddsmakers have it, Seattle is the team to beat in the NFC, let alone in their little divisional home in the NFC West.
NFC West Futures Picks: Arizona Cardinals Regular Season Team Win Total Under 8½ Even (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook); Week 4—Green Bay Packers -3 over San Francisco 49ers at Santa Clara; Week 10—Seattle Seahawks -7½ over Arizona Cardinals at Seattle (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, NFL Games of the Year)