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NFL 2024: NFC South Analysis, Odds, and Best Bets

The biggest news out of the NFC South this offseason has been the Atlanta Falcons signing Kirk Cousins and then drafting Michael Penix, Jr. 8th overall. Tough not to excuse their overexuberance in attacking a weakness on their team considering how big said weakness was. Even without using that pick to help shore up the defense Atlanta is still a heavy favorite to win the division.

Lets take a glance at each of the four teams in the division before welcoming in Brad Thomas (@MrBradThomas) who will offer us some odds analysis and a best bet for each squad.

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The Atlanta Falcons trot out a new Head Coach in Raheem Morris following the failed regime of Arthur Smith. Morris and new Offensive Coordinator Zac Robinson (formerly with the Rams) have plenty of toys to play with including an elite couple of running backs in Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson and plenty of unrealized potential in wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts. That talent was available for Desmond Ridder last season, but his shortcomings are perhaps the reason Atlanta went overboard to be sure they had talent taking snaps this season. Cousins is no Patrick Mahomes but this offense can be elite if the offensive line can protect the former Viking. The defense will scheme better under Morris, but the talent level is at best only marginally better than a season ago.

It may be unfair to pin it all on Bryce Young, but if the Carolina Panthers are to show tangible improvement last season’s #1 overall pick needs to be better…much better. It will not be easy. New Head Coach Dave Canales knows what he has inherited as the offense was statistically the worst in football both in total yards (265.3) and points (13.2) per game. They never snapped the ball with a lead in the 4th quarter…not once. The Panthers have added weapons for Young in running back Jonathan Brooks and wide receivers Diontae Johnson, and Xavier Legette. The defense, however, still has more than major personnel issues especially after trading away Brian Burns. Not sure they will be able to stop anyone, but if Young takes a step the season will be considered a success. If not, the Panthers will more than likely get to pick atop a draft that is expected to be full of high-end quarterback prospects.

In an effort to pull themselves out of what seems to be a consistent state of mediocrity, the New Orleans Saints hired Clint Kubiak to run their offense. The goal is to get Derek Carr on track. The veteran’s stats were just OK, and he got no help from a leaky offensive line and a running back room whose longest rush of the season was less than 20 yards. The New Orleans’ defense could not put pressure on the opposing quarterback. Thus, the overall key may be their ability to reassert themselves on the offensive and defensive lines if the Saints are to be competitive in 2024.

Read More: Rotoworld’s Fantasy Football Team Previews Hub

Capped off by their wildcard win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baker Mayfield were one of the top feel-good stories of 2023. That was Tampa’s 3rd consecutive division title. Mayfield and perennial 1000-yard receiver Mike Evans each signed extensions in the offseason and the offensive line should be improved with the addition of rookie Graham Barton. It is on the defensive side of the ball that Tampa really has question marks. The unit has its share of names, but their young players need to step up and contribute on that side of the ball. For example, it can’t just be Vita Vea along the defensive line. Calijah Kancey will need to start this season as strong as he finished last season, and the secondary will have to be more than just All-Pro Antoine Winfield.

Let’s take a closer look at the odds for each team this season with the help of NBC Sports’ Betting Analyst Brad Thomas (@MrBradThomas).

Join Vaughn Dalzell and Brad Thomas every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for Lunch Money as they find bets and have some fun at…lunchtime. Follow @NBCSportsBet and join the fellas as they turn lunch money into dinner money.

Atlanta Falcons Pic
Atlanta Falcons
  • NFC South Odds: -115 | NFC Odds: +1200 | Super Bowl Odds +2500
  • Head Coach: Raheem Morris (1st Year) | 2023 Record: 7-10 | Projected 2024 Win Total: 9.5
  • Best Bet: Falcons to win the NFC South (-115)
  • Kirk Cousins instantly revitalizes what has been a stagnant offense. New OC Zac Robinson’s ability to involve Kyle Pitts, Drake London, Bijan Robinson, and Tyler Allgeier can vault Atlanta to the top of the South.
  • Defensively, the Falcons are much better than their record suggests.
  • According to PFF.com, they finished 12th, ahead of every team in the NFC South except for the New Orleans Saints.
Carolina Panthers.png
Carolina Panthers
  • NFC South Odds: | NFC Odds: | Super Bowl Odds:
  • Head Coach: Dave Canales (1st Year) | 2023 Record 2-15 | Projected 2024 Win Total: 5.5
  • Best Bet: Diontae Johnson over 4.5 touchdowns (+105)
  • Backing anything positive for this Carolina team seems like a horrible proposition.
  • Bryce Young’s struggles were due primarily to a lack of protection from his offensive line. Young was sacked 62 times.
  • The Panthers brought in offensive linemen Damien Lewis and Robert Hunt to significantly improve the protection for the second-year quarterback.
  • They also added veteran receiver Diontae Johnson, who is coming off a five-touchdown season under one of the worst offensive schemes in the league in Pittsburgh.

Watch More: NFL Altering Comeback Player of the Year Guidelines

New Orleans Saints.png
New Orleans Saints
  • NFC South Odds: +340 | NFC Odds: +4000 | Super Bowl Odds: +8000
  • Head Coach: Dennis Allen (3rd Season) | 2023 Record: 9-8 | Projected 2024 Win Total: 7.5
  • Best Bet: Saints Under 7.5 wins (+100)
  • A bad to mediocre offense is to blame for the Saints woes in the past.
  • Now the defense - fine in years past - is getting older.
  • With the other teams in the division improving, the Saints could be in for a long season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Primary Logo
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • NFC South Odds: +300 | NFC Odds: +3500 | Super Bowl Odds: +7500
  • Head Coach: Todd Bowles (3rd Season) | 2023 Record: 9-8 | Projected 2024 Win Total: 7.5
  • Best Bet: Mike Evans Over 1000.5 Receiving Yards (-112)
  • Evans continues to hold off Father Time gaining 1255 yards while scoring 13 TDs in 2023.
  • The wideout has cleared the 1000-yard mark in each of his 10 NFL seasons.
  • New signal-caller Liam Coen put his name on the list of Offensive Gurus leading the Kentucky Wildcats’ offense in 2021 in which they were the 5th-best scoring offense in the nation.
  • Evans should get the targets to hit this number assuming good health for Mr. Reliable.

Up Next: Betting the AFC South.

Stay tuned.

Previously:
Betting the NFC West
Betting the AFC West