NFC West betting preview: Los Angeles is running it back
The Los Angeles Rams look like they'll be the class of the NFC West again in 2022. Photo by Elaine Thompson/AP.

Before 2021, the NFC West had consistently been considered the toughest division in the NFL. That title no longer applies thanks to the Seattle Seahawks taking a step back, but the talent on the remaining three teams is still significant.

The latest: Prior to the preseason it's difficult to discern who might buck expectations, but all eyes will soon be on the San Francisco 49ers' Trey Lance as the athletic dual-threat quarterback is the biggest X-factor in the division.

Here's our NFC West betting preview:

NFC West betting preview

Los Angeles Rams

To win Super Bowl+1,100
To win NFC Championship+1,000
To win NFC West+125
Win Total (10.5)Over (-110) or Under (-110)
To make playoffs-278

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Odds as of 3:15 p.m. on 08/04/2022.

Best team bet: Win the NFC West (+125)

Considering how little the Rams lost from their roster after a Super Bowl win, it's a surprise to see this bet at plus-money odds. The 49ers are no pushovers, but Los Angeles has a more established quarterback, a deeper group of skill position players and a more star-studded defence.

Some of the defensive starters on this club are underwhelming, but any unit headed by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey has a high ceiling. The offence also has a chance to get even better in 2022 with the addition of Allen Robinson II at wide receiver and a full season from Cam Akers at running back.

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Odds to win the NFC West
Nick Ashbourne

Best player bet: Aaron Donald to win defensive player of the year (+700)

Considering the defensive tackle has won this award in three of the past five seasons, these odds look pretty generous. While there's some concern about his age (31) and the likelihood that the league's elite edge rushers will put up bigger sack totals, he remains an absolute powerhouse.

Donald's play did not fall off at all last season, and he showed in the Super Bowl that he's probably still the most impactful non-quarterback in the NFL. The biggest obstacle to the superstar winning this award might be voter fatigue.

He sits second on the DPOY odds board behind Myles Garrett.

O/U win total prediction: During the five seasons of the Sean McVay era, the Rams have won at least 11 games three times. In four of those years, the club featured Jared Goff behind centre.

With Matthew Stafford at QB, 11 or 12 wins is a fair expectation for a club that has star power on both sides of the ball and is led by one of the best coaches in the league.

Many teams deal with Super Bowl hangovers due to an exodus of players seeking big contracts, but the Rams are intact and ready to defend their title.

Pick: Over 10.5 wins (-110)

San Francisco 49ers

To win Super Bowl+1,600
To win NFC Championship+1,500
To win NFC West+160
Win Total (10)Over (-104) or Under (-118)
To make playoffs-225

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Odds as of 3:15 p.m. on 08/04/2022.

Best team bet: Opponent for team's first loss — Denver Broncos (+180) 

This is a specific bet, but it's got an excellent chance to cash thanks to the 49ers' clear-cut early-season schedule. San Francisco's first two games project to be easy wins against the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks — who have two of the five worst rosters in the NFL.

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NFL Week 1 odds
Steven Psihogios

Then a trip to Denver could be a serious problem for San Francisco.

Not only are the Broncos always tough at home thanks to the altitude at Empower Field, but new quarterback Russell Wilson has shredded the 49ers in his career. He's 16-4 against them with 11 of those games coming during the Kyle Shanahan era.

Best player bet: Deebo Samuel over 920.5 receiving yards (-106)

The move from Jimmy Garrapolo to Lance could lower San Francisco's ceiling when it comes to raw passing yardage, but that's not a given, and the dropoff for Samuel this line projects looks extreme.

Last season the gifted and versatile wide receiver managed 1,405 yards through the air to go along with his rushing production.

We don't expect him to match that career-high total, but Lance should be able to get him the ball enough to prevent him from falling off the map.

O/U win total prediction: Thanks to Lance's massive range of outcomes in his first season as a starter, San Francisco is a tough team to pin down. Even so, Shanahan has made competent starters out of subpar talents like Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard in the past, and Lance oozes tools.

With studs like Nick Bosa and Fred Warner anchoring the defence and one of the best offensive minds in the game shepherding Lance, San Francisco could be in for a big season.

Pick: 49ers over 10 wins (-104)

Arizona Cardinals

To win Super Bowl+3,500
To win NFC Championship+3,000
To win NFC West+375
Win Total (8.5)Over (-110) or Under (-110)
To make the playoffs+120

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Odds as of 3:15 p.m. on 08/04/2022.

Best team bet: Division finishing position — third (+160)

Betting on a result this specific can be risky, but the Cardinals do appear to be in a tier of their own in this division. They are head-and-shoulders above the Seahawks — like the vast majority of NFL franchises — but their talent doesn't match up with the Rams or 49ers.

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Odds to win NFL MVP
Nick Ashbourne

Arizona's defence is aging and its offence relies on Kyler Murray to make plays out of structure.

That can be a winning formula at times, but the Cardinals have consistently scuffled down the stretch in the Kliff Kingsbury era, perhaps due to a lack of offensive variety.

Best player bet: Zach Ertz over 4.5 receiving touchdowns (-104)

Let's be clear, at this point in his career Ertz is one of the least exciting players in the NFL. All he does is catch the ball and fall down. There is an entire Twitter account dedicated to his inability to break tackles.

That said, the 31-year-old remains a competent red zone target and he's cleared this bar in four of the last five seasons.

Arizona extended him in the offseason, indicating a commitment to having the veteran play a significant role in the offence, and DeAndre Hopkins' six-game suspension could result in a few more early-season looks.

O/U win total prediction: The Cardinals' line seems pretty low for a team that managed 11 victories last season, but the Hopkins suspension weighs on the team. This is also a tough division.

Even though we're not particularly bullish on an offence-first team that lacks an enviable array of weapons at the skill positions, we still see this club as an above .500 group.

Murray will have to carry them on his shoulders but his completion percentage, touchdown percentage, yards per attempt and quarterback rating have improved every season and another step forward could allow Arizona to have a fine season despite its flaws.

Pick: Cardinals over 8.5 wins (-110)

Seattle Seahawks

To win Super Bowl+15,000
To win NFC Championship+10,000
To win NFC West +2,000
Win Total (5.5)Over (-143) or Under (+118)
To make playoffs+490

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Odds as of 3:15 p.m. on 08/04/2022.

Best team bet: Number of games won 3-5 (+150)

In the post-Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks roster could accurately be described as a smoking crater. There are some interesting weapons on offence, but the offensive line is average at best (even with the addition of ninth overall pick Charles Cross) and neither Geno Smith nor Drew Lock is equipped to unlock their potential.

On defence, the team should modernize under new DC Clint Hurtt. But the unit is devoid of blue-chip players and lacks a single established pass rusher it can count on, outside of safety Jamal Adams.

It's tough to imagine this group going winless or close to it thanks to its institutional competence under Pete Carroll and the game-breaking ability that DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Rashaad Penny bring, but Seattle is in for a long year.

Best player bet: Rashaad Penny to lead the NFL in rushing (+2,000)

This bet requires you to have faith in Penny to stay healthy, which is something he hasn't done during his NFL career with any consistency.

That said, with Chris Carson retiring due to a neck injury, Penny is a top back on a team that loves to run the ball and should do it even more in Wilson's absence. Because the Seahawks were irrelevant late in the 2021 season, many fans missed just how dominant Penny was down the stretch.

After earning the starting job in Week 13, Penny rushed for 671 yards in five games, piling up 7.3 yards per carry.

His speed and power combo is truly rare and he could put up huge numbers over a full season. Penny's lack of durability makes this a dart throw, but it's an intriguing one.

O/U win total prediction: Seattle's roster lacks both depth and quality, and the team finds itself in a division with two heavyweights.

The Seahawks are paying lip service to the idea of not tanking, but they also didn't do anything to address one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL after trading Wilson.

Carroll's personal slogan of 'win forever' looks like it'll take a hit in 2022.

Pick: Seahawks under 5.5 wins (+118)

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