NFC South Picks & Odds: Bank on -190 Bucs…

Sunday Night Football Predictions

If you rock up at your bank any time soon and ask for 50 percent interest on your savings, what are the odds your bank manager says yes? Well that’s exactly what is on offer with our picks in the NFC South in 2021.

It may not be the flashy choice, and we don’t generally like advising people to wager when there is a ‘-‘ before the number in NFL Betting, but some times it just has to be done. And done hard.

Here we have a Super Bowl champion team with the greatest winner in the history of the game at quarterback, returning pretty much everybody to try to win it all again.

And it goes up against a trio of franchises all of whom have huge question marks against them. It’s unreal – and STILL the Bucs are available at -190. Heck, double that to -380 and we’d still be interested.

Tampa opens its season against Dallas at home Thursday night in front of the national TV cameras (there is a terrific Brady offer from PointsBet too), so time is short. You need to take the bet, and before that we need to get you over the line.

Odds to win NFC South

Tampa is a firm favorite, but in our humble opinion it should be even skinnier. Way skinnier. Here’s the latest:

  • -190 Tampa Bay Buccaneeers (BetMGM, Borgata)
  • +475 New Orleans Saints (PointsBet)
  • +900 Atlanta Falcons (widely available)
  • +1200 Carolina Panthers (FanDuel)

NB: Odds correct on Saturday September 4, 2021

NFC South Analysis & Predictions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Most Super Bowl winning teams have a tough time imagining a repeat. The salary cap, the sheer grind it takes to win a Lombardi Trophy – it doesn’t happen very often these days. Generally when Tom Brady is involved.

And guess what, Brady returns for a second season in Florida with a ton of reasons to believe he and his team will be even better in 2021.

Like we said, they managed to return all of their starters – unheard of for a team which has just won a championship. And Brady won’t have to contend with the torn MCL which apparently bothered him all of last year (Superman he almost certainly is). Finally, he should have sobered up now after that boat trip the day after Super Bowl LV.

Brady has also now had a full offseason with his stellar receiving corps, in something resembling normality. Remember last year he came into the franchise during a COVID-ravaged winter. What he and Tampa eventually achieved blows your mind.

The Bucs are strong on both sides of the ball and the minimum expectation here is that they breeze through the division and go deep into the playoffs. A Super Bowl repeat? Would not surprise us at all.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints have been perennial winners for well over a decade now. Pretty much since Sean Payton and Drew Brees joined up on Bourbon Street. But now Brees is no longer there, and the winning is replaced with questions.

Former number 1 overall draft pick Jameis Winston (a former Buc to boot) will start for the Saints at QB after beating out the multi-talented Taysom Hill.

Payton was right to give the gig to Winston on one hand – he has way more natural talent and ability to put points on the board than Hill. But his career so far has been littered with turnovers. Lots and lots of turnovers.

The Winston move is low-risk financially, but on the field it’s boom or bust. He could be really good, or he could be a disaster. The signs so far in his career = point to the latter.

While the Saints have that huge question at QB, they are also without WR1 to start the season.

Michael Thomas is on PUP after foot surgery and will likely miss the first five games of the season. There is a significant drop-off on the depth chart after Thomas, so this is a big issue. Throw in the fact he is not on good terms with the team right now and you should be worried about putting any dollars down on the Saints.

New Orleans still has plenty of talent, but this is a QB-driven league now and a passing league. The fear is the Saints will be severely compromised in both areas, at least for the start of the season. That may change, but probably not until Tampa is down the road and en route to a division title.

Atlanta Falcons: We actually think the Falcons may have a pretty nice year and surprise a few people, but they are not challenging the Bucs for the division title. Not even close.

Gone is future Hall of Fame WR Julio Jones to Tennessee – a decision Atlanta had to take just so it could get under the salary cap and pay its rookie draft class.

Speaking of that draft class, in comes Florida TE Kyle Pitts, who is seen by many scouts as a generational talent. If the Falcons offensive brains trust can find smart ways to use him, it should be fun to watch Matt Ryan throwing to him.

Calvin Ridley gets the opportunity to step up and be a true WR1, and the Falcons should be great to watch. But in reality they are just starting a rebuild – though they would never admit it.

Carolina Panthers: When Panthers owner David Tapper gave former Baylor HC Matt Rhule a seven-year deal to turn his ailing franchise around, we liked the move. Carolina had been trying to hang onto the past in the hope of “one more run” for. too long. A root and branch rebuild was needed.

We like a helluva lot of the moves that Rhule and his front office have made. They are building a terrific defense down in Charlotte, and they will terrorize a lot of O-lines in the coming months.

But one specific area will kill Carolina in 2021 – and it’s their own O-line. Stryker believes you win in the NFL up front, in the trenches. You protect your QB, give yourself the ability to run the ball. Nothing is more opponent.

If you believe Stryker is indeed right then Carolina we have a problem – and a big one. The Panthers have pass blockers up front who better resemble turnstiles right now. They may as well carry “Open” signs around their necks.

This is hardly the background in which to dump a quarterback who is coming off a disastrous spell with the lamentable New York Jets. A former high draft pick who failed to live up to his reputation in the Big Apple.

We didn’t love the decision to trade for Darnold, but we didn’t hate it either. It was low-risk financially and in terms of draft capital – with a huge upside if he can be fixed.

Watching preseason though, the signs are not good. The odds of Darnold landing on his back are significantly shorter than him completing anything meaningful right now.

Like many teams in the league Carolina is a franchise QB away from being a very good team. But they don’t have it yet.

For that reason, we are most definitely out.

NFC South Picks

Like we said right at the start people, this is just too good to be true. Opportunities like this in life are few and far between.

Tampa are rock-solid in a division full of holes elsewhere. And they are still available at just about 50 percent interest on your down payment. The time to strike is now.

OddsCritic Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the NFC South at -190 (BetMGM, Borgata)