Heading into the 2021 NFL season the NFC West was unquestionably the hottest division in pro football but now not so much as the Super Bowl odds will tell you.
Even though the eventual Super Bowl champion came from the West, and two teams from the West fought out the NFC title game, offseason events have leveled the playing field somewhat.
NFC West Odds
Last year we had four teams all pretty close in the betting, but this year we’ve lost one of them off the back. The Seattle Seahawks are in full rebuild mode, and sportsbooks have noticed. Latest odds are:
- +135 Los Angeles Rams (bet365)
- +190 San Francisco 49ers (FanDuel, PointsBet)
- +400 Arizona Cardinals (DraftKings)
- +1600 Seattle Seahawks (Widely available)
NB: Odds correct on June 15, 2022
NFC West Predictions
Tough puzzle to solve, this one, but it all comes back to who you trust. Namely do you trust Matthew Stafford more than Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance. That would be an emphatic yes.
While the Rams did lose Von Miller in free agency they remain a terrific roster and the addition of WR Allen Robinson just adds to an offense which should be even better with Year 2 Stafford in McVay’s scheme.
The Niners will absolutely challenge for the division, but while Kyle Shanahan sets everything up to win in spite of his QB, he will still need one to come out top in the NFC West arms race. So it’s the Rams for us at +135 (bet $100 to win $135).
There is money to be made with the lines on regular-season wins too, and our first bet here is the Rams to Over 10.5 wins. This looks a pretty comfortable ask for a roster which in our estimation still ranks in the top three in pro football. This division, which the Seahawks rebuilding, is also in no way as tough as it was in 2021.
Our final pick is for those Arizona Cardinals to implode again – pretty much like they always do, except worse this time. It promises to be a tough year ahead for Kliff Kingsbury and one which should see him on the hotseat for 2023.
OddsCritic NFC West Predictions & Best Bets
- Los Angeles Rams to win the NFC West at +135 (DraftKings)
- Los Angeles Rams to have OVER 10.5 regular-season wins at -105 (PointsBet)
- Arizona Cardinals to have UNDER 8.5 regular-season wins at -110 (PointsBet)
Odds correct when selections made on June 15, 2022
Offseason moves: Free agency and trades
Los Angeles Rams: The Rams have done a pretty nice job of holding things together since their Super Bowl triumph. They traded WR Robert Woods to Tennessee but captured former Bear Allen Robinson in free agency to replace him. The retirement of LT Andrew Whitworth was sugar-coated by the new deal for his backup Joe Noteboom. On the defensive side of the ball the Rams lost a big difference in Von Miller (six years, $120million to Buffalo), but have managed to upgrade in a different way by signing former Seahawk Bobby Wagner to a five-year deal. Now we wait to see if a deal will be cut to bring back Odell Beckham Jr, but we already know the Rams will be good again. Year 2 Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay should be even better. Of course L.A. had to wait for its first pick in the 2022 Draft – that’s what happens when you trade everything for superstar vets. The Rams though did beef up offensive line depth by taking Wisconsin guard Logan Bruss in Round 3.
San Francisco 49ers: All the questions for the Niners – like they were a year ago – are at the quarterback position. Trey Lance could not unseat Jimmy Garoppolo as a rookie but he absolutely has to in 2022. So far San Fran has not traded Garoppolo (it claims somebody offered 2 x 2s) and that speaks volumes about the level of uncertainty that Lance is ready. Outside of that the 49ers return all of their key pieces, with unicorns Deebo Samuel and George Kittle providing impossible puzzles for defenses to solve. But yeah, it all comes back to Lance – if he’s really good it will elevate the 49ers right to the top of the Super Bowl betting odds. If he’s not…
San Francisco traded its first-rounder in the deal to move up and get Lance in 2021, so their first pick in the Draft came on day 2, and it was USC DE Drake Jackson. Talented prospect but low production so far = risky pick.
SMU WR Danny Gray meanwhile could get playing time as a deep-ball threat as a rookie. The Niners just need a QB who can get the ball to him!
Arizona Cardinals: Yet again Kliff Kingsbury’s Cardinals suffered a late-season implosion after looking like the best team in the NFL for the first half of 2021. That was followed by the cold war with QB Kyler Murray and there are still big question marks heading into the 2022 season. Oh, and the Cards lost star edge rusher Chandler Jones, who signed a big-money deal in Las Vegas. Arizona followed all that up with a questionable trade on day 1 of the Draft to acquire Baltimore WR Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown. He played with Kyler at Oklahoma so maybe this one is a tip of the cap to the QB and keeping him happy. If so, quite the price to pay. Despite all that Arizona remains third favorite to win the NFC West but this should be a pivotal year for Kingsbury and his staff. The team has now locked down Murray for the future too – handing him a five-year contract extension in July worth $230.5million. It includes $160million in guaranteed money.
Seattle Seahawks: So after years trying to pretend that the ‘Legion of Boom’ was still a thing and a Super Bowl run was a possibility, the Seahawks admitted defeat. Trading Russell Wilson to Denver was the move which told us it’s rebuild in the Pacific Northwest. The haul Seattle got for Wilson was decent, but in reality not much better than what it gave up to get safety Jamal Adams (terrible deal…). The decision to release LB great Bobby Wagner straight after just rubber-stamped the decision to tap the brakes hard. Next we waited to see which direction Seattle would go at QB? Trade for a veteran, draft the starter of the future, or just wait until 2023. The answer was the last of those options – instead Seattle went heavy on offensive line in the Draft, selecting its left tackle for the next decade (it hopes) in Mississippi State’s Charles Cross and its RT of the future in Abraham Lucas of Washington State. The selection of Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker was another intriguing pick – these Seahawks are going to run an awful lot in 2022, Pete Carroll just loves that. As of now the options at QB are Geno Smith and Drew Lock – two veterans who have never lived up to much of anything. Grim times and no wonder this bunch is +1600 to win the division.
NFC West Schedules for 2022
We now know when the games will be played yet via that 2022 NFL schedule, and here is each team’s 2022 opponents:
Los Angeles Rams
Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders
Road: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Home: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Road: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings
San Francisco 49ers
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team
Road: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders
Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants, New York Jets
Road: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions.
The Rams hold the edge so far at +150 (bet $100 to win $150) but it is very tight. The Niners are right behind at +195.
The Niners won five in a 13-year period in the 80s and 90s as they built one of the league’s great alltime dynasties. The Rams grabbed their second in 2021 after winning a Lombardi when the franchise was in St Louis back in 1999. The Seahawks won their first in 2013, while for Arizona the wait goes on. The Cardinals of course came pretty close in 2008, losing an absolute heartbreaker to Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
* Best division record
* Best record in common games.
* Best conference record
* Strength of victory in all games.
* Strength of schedule in all games
* Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
* Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.
* Best net points in common games.
* Best net points in all games.
* Best net touchdowns in all games.
* Coin toss
Right now the Rams are trading as an early +135 favorite (bet $100 to win $135), not surprising with most of that Super Bowl-winning roster back again in 2022.
Those Niners still have a few questions to answer, with one big one at QB (Garoppolo or Lance?) and they are second best in the NFC West Odds right now. They are trading at around +190 (bet $100 to win $190).
Kliff, Kyler and the Cards are +400 (bet $100 to win $400) to win the West after imploding down the stretch (again) in 2021. That is third best after the Rams and the 49ers.
The sportsbooks do not believe it can happen with Seattle in rebuild mode, with the Seahawks trading at odds of +1600 (bet $100 to win $1600). It’s a long shot, and with Drew Lock or Geno Smith at QB, no wonder.