NFL Football Betting: NFC Preview

The NFL season is approaching, and if recent years offer any meaningful indication, the NFC will be a total dogfight once again. The NFC has produced a different champion in each of the past four seasons. In the past 10 seasons, only one team has repeated as NFC champion: Seattle in the 2014 season. Nine different NFC teams have made the Super Bowl in the past 10 seasons. Three of them – New Orleans, Seattle and Philadelphia – won their first Super Bowl championships. What happens in one season often doesn’t carry to the next, and that is something one must keep in mind when assessing the NFC field in any season these days.

NFC Favorites

The Philadelphia Eagles (+340) were so good last year, and more precisely, so good even when starting quarterback Carson Wentz was injured, that they have been installed as the slight favorites to win the NFC. The parts of the defense fit together. The offense could succeed with big plays, but it could also move the ball patiently and in short strokes, thereby draining the clock and keeping the defense fresh. Doug Pederson has become a superstar coach in a very short period of time, and general manager Howie Roseman has shown a deft touch in crafting the roster and keeping most of the team together. The Eagles will be a tough out this year, but Wentz’s health is not a certainty, casting some doubt about the Eagles’ readiness to defend their first Super Bowl title.

The Green Bay Packers (+360) represent the second choice on the board, and that is an understandable reaction given the immense talent of Aaron Rodgers, who is as good a quarterback as there is in the NFL. If you wanted to put him above Tom Brady, you could make the case, if only because Rodgers is several years younger than Brady and is more mobile. That is not a negative commentary on Brady but a positive commentary on how much Rodgers is still in his prime. If Rodgers is healthy for 16 games, the Packers make a perfectly reasonable pick to win the NFC.

However, that pick must still be considered in a larger context.

The Los Angeles Rams (+550) and Minnesota Vikings (+650) both have elite defenses and solid offenses. The Rams have assembled a cast of big-name players across their roster, while the Vikings, with more no-name players from last year’s breakout team, grabbed a prominent quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Both will be extremely tough for the Packers and everyone else in the NFC.

The San Francisco 49ers (+640) are priced this highly because many believe quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is the real deal. How he played late in the 2017 season, though, might not be an indicator of how well he will play across 16 games, so be cautious about the 49ers. The other favorites on this list all make good choices.

NFC Sleepers

The Atlanta Falcons (+800) are priced accordingly. They have a chance to do well but shouldn’t be seen in the top tier of contenders. The New York Giants (+1000) are priced way too highly. Stay away from betting on them or believing in them. They have not addressed their suspect offensive line. The New Orleans Saints (+1200) are underpriced. Drew Brees will always give them a chance. This is the best NFC dark horse pick available.