NFC South betting preview: Brady and the Bucs are contenders, Saints poised to rebound
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are favoured to win the division for a second straight season. Photo by Jason Behnken/AP.

The NFC South is one of the most unbalanced divisions in football, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers listed as a heavy betting favourite to win for the second straight season.

The latest: Tom Brady and the Bucs have Super Bowl aspirations while the New Orlean Saints look to rebound with a new coach at the helm. The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are projected to be basement dwellers, both holding bottom-six odds to win the championship.

Check out our NFC South betting preview.

NFC South betting preview

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

MarketOdds
To win Super Bowl+750
To win NFC Championship+350
To win NFC South-278
Win total (11.5) Over (+120) or Under (-148)
To reach playoffsYes (-590) or No (+440)

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Odds as of 12:15 p.m. on 08/16/2022.

Best team bet: Buccaneers to make the NFC Championship game (+150)

Brady has made it to the conference championship game in nine of his last 11 seasons as he's shown no signs of slowing down. At 44 years old, he led the league in passing yards (5,316), touchdowns (43) and completions (485).

Todd Bowels enters his first year as Tampa's head coach and we think it'll be one to remember.

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Odds to win the NFC South
Avery Perri

The defensive-minded coach has some of the NFL's best disrupters on his side of the ball including newly acquired Akiem Hicks. He'll slot in alongside Vita Vea, Devin White, Lavonte David and Antoine Winfield Jr., among others.

Tampa Bay gave up the third-fewest rushing yards per game (92.5) while generating 29 takeaways last season.

Brady and the Buccaneers almost cashed this prop last season but fell agonizingly short of a historic comeback against the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round. In a weakened NFC, we expect the ageless wonder to lead his team to the final four yet again.

This team is absolutely stacked and we believe they'll be playing football well into January 2023.

Best player bet: Mike Evans over 10.5 recieving touchdowns (-112)

Mike Evans caught 14 touchdown passes last season and 13 the year prior to that. With Brady at the helm, we expect the 6-foot-5 receiver to continue producing at a Pro Bowl level.

Evans is one of the most dynamic receivers in the NFL, blending a combination of size, speed and hands that is hard to replicate. Another key reason we love this prop is Evans' availability. The star receiver is rarely injured, missing just one game over the past two seasons.

Brady has a stable of weapons available but Chris Godwin is coming off a torn ACL and Julio Jones isn't quite what he used to be.

As a result, we still like Evans to assume the lion's share of red zone looks this year.

O/U win total analysis: The 11.5 total is a lofty number but we see no reason why the Buccaneers can't eclipse it, especially considering they get to play the Falcons and Panthers each twice.

Brady-led teams have passed this mark in three of the past five seasons, including last year's 13-4 mark.

With Bowels at the helm, Tampa Bay boasts an elite defence to complement its star-studded offence.

Pick: Over 11.5 wins (+120)

New Orleans Saints

MarketOdds
To win Super Bowl+4,000
To win NFC Championship+1,800
To win NFC South+340
Win total (8.5) Over (-106) or Under (-115)
To reach playoffsYes (+120) or No (-148)

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Odds as of 12:15 p.m. on 08/16/2022.

Best team bet: Division finishing position - second (+105)

We absolutely love this bet for the Saints.

Brady and the Bucs should continue to churn out victories at an unsettling pace while the Panthers and Falcons will be lucky to crack five wins apiece.

In our minds, this is the perfect sweet spot for a New Orleans team that's entering its first season without Sean Payton at the helm since 2006 (not including 2012 when the head coach was suspended a full season for Bounty Gate).

Jameis Winston and Co. won't have to win an absurd amount of games for this to be in play — even a 6-11 season could lock down this prop.

We're confident the Saints will be better than that, though, and can see anywhere between 9-11 wins for the re-tooled squad.

Best player bet: Chris Olave over 700.5 yards (-106)

We've recently seen a massive uptick in production from rookie receivers, and we think Chris Olave will continue that trend with the Saints.

Five rookies eclipsed this total last season and six did the year before that. The speedster from Ohio State was the third WR off the board this year at 10th overall and arguably has the greatest upside in his class.

Olave has the benefit of slotting opposite Michael Thomas with Jameis Winston under centre. While some may construe those two facts as a negative, we think they'll work in Olave's favour.

Winston was solid prior to his injury last season with 14 touchdowns and 1,170 passing yards in seven starts, while Thomas should allow the rookie to feel his way through the NFL process without drawing too much attention.

O/U win total analysis: This line asks a simple question — are the Saints an above .500 team or a below .500 team?

We believe that Dennis Allen has a top-three defence to complement an underrated offensive unit and therefore feel confident in the Saints securing nine-plus wins this year.

New Orleans gave up the fourth-fewest rushing yards (93.5) and points (19.7) per game last season and brought in Tyrann Mathieu to help shore up the secondary.

Depending on what happens with Alvin Kamara, this team could be a serious playoff threat.

Pick: Over 8.5 wins (-106)

NFC South betting preview: Carolina Panthers

MarketOdds
To win Super Bowl+12,500
To win NFC Championship+5,000
To win NFC South+1,100
Win total (6.5) Over (+105) or Under (-129)
To reach playoffsYes (+400) or No (-625)

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Odds as of 12:15 p.m. on 08/16/2022.

Best team bet: Panthers to have the worst record (+1,000)

Sorry, Panthers fans, but this season should be nothing short of a trainwreck.

A quarterback duel consisting of Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold doesn't inspire any confidence in a team that lost 12 of its last 14 games to close out the 2021-22 season.

Christian McCaffrey has played in just 10 games over the past two seasons and if injury strikes again things could start to get really ugly for Carolina's offence.

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AFC East betting preview
Steven Psihogios

The team averaged the third-fewest yards per game last season (298.9) and the fourth-fewest points (17.9) to go along with the most interceptions (21). Trying to fix that solution with Mayfield — who threw 13 picks in 14 starts last year — is like trying to put out a fire with kerosene.

We also have a bonus pick here — Matt Rhule as the first head coach to leave (+400).

Leave is a generous way to word this prop, as we think Rhule will find the unemployment line before Thanksgiving.

Looking at the schedule, there's a very real possibility the Panthers start the season off 1-6 and if they lose Week 2 against the Giants that could compound to an 0-7 start.

Best player bet: D.J. Moore over 1075.5 yards (+100)

D.J. Moore is one of the few bright spots on this Panthers roster.

The 25-year-old Maryland product has been doing more with less than just about any receiver in the NFL over the pasts few seasons, eclipsing this total in each of his last three campaigns.

Moore recently racked up 1,157 yards in 17 games last year with Darnold and Cam Newton throwing him the ball. He led the team in targets with 163, which was 53 clear of teammate Robbie Anderson.

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Super Bowl odds
Avery Perri

We're assuming Mayfield will win this job, so let's use his receivers as a baseline. In 2019, Jarvis Landry collected 1,174 yards in the air. We expect Moore to be right in this range and record his fourth straight season with 1,100-plus yards.

O/U win total analysis: Needless to say, we're not keen on the Panthers collecting seven wins next season.

Carolina won just five games last season and five the year prior, accumulating a 10-23 record under Rhule.

Pick: Under 6.5 wins (-129)

Atlanta Falcons

MarketOdds
To win Super Bowl+25,000
To win NFC Championship+10,000
To win NFC South+2,500
Win total (4.5) Over (-134) or Under (+110)
To reach playoffsYes (+675) or No (-1115)

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Odds as of 12:15 p.m. on 08/16/2022.

Best team bet: Falcons to win between 3-5 games (+105)

The Falcons aren't projected to have a great year and hold the second-longest odds to win the Super Bowl in front of only the Houston Texans.

It's extremely hard to envision a path where the Falcons win six-plus times this season but we also don't think they're quite awful enough to only net two.

The Dirty Birds still have a decent pool of offensive talent. That includes Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Pitts and the newly drafted Drake London to work alongside two dual-threat quarterbacks in Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder.

We believe three to five wins is a sweet spot where the Falcons should land this season.

Best player bet: Kyle Pitts under 900.5 yards (-112)

We like Pitts and it's clear the tight end has Pro Bowl-level talent, but we're expecting a downturn in production this season.

The Georgia product accumulated 1,026 yards in his rookie campaign but that was with Matt Ryan under centre. Ryan logged the 11th-most passing attempts last season (560) while only rushing for 82 yards on the season.

With Atlanta pivoting toward an offence that emphasizes mobility, we don't expect Pitts to get nearly as many looks or opportunities as he did last season.

The absence of Calvin Ridley is notable. We believe it takes one more weapon off the field, which should allow defences to prioritize covering the 6-foot-6 tight end.

O/U win total analysis: At 4.5 games, this is tied for the lowest win total in the NFL, alongside the Texans.

We mentioned how attractive the 3-5 win band is as a play for the Falcons. In a similar respect, we're going to lean toward the under in this play, believing Atlanta secures either three or four wins this season.

We've identified these games as potential wins:

  • Both contests vs. Carolina
  • vs. Chicago
  • @ Seattle
  • @ Washington

Assuming they lose one or more of those contests, the under should be in safe hands.

Pick: Under 4.5 wins (+110)

NorthStar Bets editorial Insiders have no influence, direct or otherwise, over the setting of odds advertised on our platforms.