There was a complete upheaval of the NFC West last season, and if you played the odds accordingly, you made a nice pile of cash. This year’s NFC West odds reflect not just the overall results of the 2017 season, but this offseason as well, as the Los Angeles Rams continued to tinker with their team via free agency and trades.
But championships aren’t won on paper, or internet pages. Nope, when it comes to your NFC betting options, all that’s going to matter is what happens on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays (with a handful of Saturdays in December and January).
By the time we get to the end of this NFC West betting guide, there won’t be a surprise at the top of the division, but the teams in the middle might come as a shock.
NFC West Division Odds
Los Angeles Rams -350
San Francisco 49ers +333
Seattle Seahawks +1200
Arizona Cardinals +5000
The Rams are 2-0 and sport a 27-point average margin of victory. Both the Seahawks and Cardinals are 0-2 and look to be in serious trouble. The Cardinals are making an early case for the top pick in the 2019 Draft after getting outscored 58-6 in their first two games.
Los Angeles Rams
Win totals: Over 9.5 (-116), Under 9.5 (+114)
You should never crown a team in the offseason, but the Rams certainly did enough with their roster since February to place themselves firmly in the Super Bowl conversation. The Rams added cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters to the secondary via trade, then brought in Ndamukong Suh to play alongside Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers on the defensive line. As long as Los Angeles and Donald get their contract issues taken care of before the season starts, this should be a loaded unit everywhere but linebacker.
Offensively, L.A. traded its first round pick to the New England Patriots for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks should be an easy upgrade over Sammy Watkins and has already looks dominant in Sean McVay’s offense in the preseason. The Rams will play a three-wide look on the majority of their snaps with Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp all weaving their way through secondaries.
The trigger man, Jared Goff, will make all the difference in how far the Rams can go. Running back Todd Gurley will be an early frontrunner for league MVP, but if Goff can continues to develop at the rate he did last season under McVay, this could be a 30-plus TD season. I like the over and I like the Rams to play deep in the postseason.
Projected win total and finish: 12-4, first place NFC West
San Francisco 49ers
Win totals: Over 8.5 (-110), Under 8.5 (-120)
No team, with the exception of the Los Angeles Chargers, has claimed more preseason championships this year than the 49ers. For the first time since Jim Harbaugh was forced out of the building, there’s some justified excitement in Santa Clara. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo finished 2017 a perfect 5-0 and has yet to lose an NFL start spanning two teams. That’ll change this season, but San Francisco is on the upswing. Will it be enough to catch the Rams?
Head coach Kyle Shanahan is one of the finest young minds in the game. The issue is, he still doesn’t have the roster to push this team to double-digit wins. You have to factor in a patchwork offensive line in your NFC West betting strategy. This should be a much-improved defense if Richard Sherman can stay healthy, but this is basically the same group that surrendered 383 points last year, the fourth highest total in the NFC.
The Niners will score plenty of points, but they’re a year away from securing a postseason berth.
Projected win total and finish: 9-7, second place in the NFC West
Win totals: Over 5.5 (-110), Under 5.5 (-120)
Nobody is talking about the Arizona Cardinals, but this could be the sneakiest team in the NFC. So many pundits have already plugged in Josh Rosen as the starter at some point, but I’m here to tell you, if Sam Bradford doesn’t get hurt, Rosen will never see the field.
There’s no scenario where Rosen beats out Bradford in camp. If you go back to their college tapes, he’s not even the potential pro prospect Bradford was coming out of Oklahoma. Now, there’s every chance that Bradford’s brittle health will derail his season. And, frankly, that possibility is the only reason I don’t have the Cardinals finishing second and possibly hitting 10 wins, even with the losses on their defense.
David Johnson is the best player in the NFL everyone seems to have forgotten about. Arizona has plenty of weapons for Bradford to use, a decent offensive line, and a solid enough defense that helped this team, despite shaky quarterback play, finish 8-8 last season. This is a better unit than the one that took the field in 2017 and Steve Wilks was the right hire as head coach.
Projected win total and finish: 8-8, third place in the NFC West
Win totals: Over 9 (-105), Under 9 (-125)
Since Pete Carroll was hired as head coach, the Seahawks have never finished worse than 7-9 and that was in his first two seasons. It’s important to realize that his first 7-9 season came in 2010. It was good enough to win the NFC West and, not only that, they blasted the New Orleans Saints to win their first playoff game.
As long as Russell Wilson is healthy and suits up for the Seahawks, they have a chance in any game. The problem is, the team has done absolutely nothing to help him stay healthy for the last few seasons. The offensive line is one of the worst in the league and when they have used top picks on the line, they haven’t worked out.
Add to that the fact that Seattle is in what I like to call a “soft rebuild” and a long season is on the horizon. Take the under.
Projected win total and finish: 7-9, fourth place in the NFC West
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