The Sports Gambling Podcast Network is back, bringing you our NFC South divisional picks, props, best bets, and value picks. Come back each week for our division preview series; we have plenty more off-season features on the way!
The NFC South division may seem wide open for the taking to some, but I believe there are only two front runners. For these divisional picks and prop bets, I have taken into consideration the following: Rosters, the strength of each team’s schedule, projected win totals, 2022 records, and good ole fashion gut instincts.
NFC South Divisional Picks and Props
New Orleans Saints
2022 Record: 7–10
Projected Win Total: 9.5
Home Opponents: Falcons, Panthers, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Giants, Buccaneers, Titans
Away Opponents: Falcons, Panthers, Packers, Texans, Colts, Rams, Vikings, Patriots, Buccaneers
The New Orleans Saints probably have the best roster in the division from top to bottom. They have a new starting quarterback in Derek Carr, which should most certainly be an upgrade from what they were working with last season. They return a defense that ranked fifth in total defense last season, and best of all, they have the easiest strength of schedule!
New Orleans signed last season’s rushing touchdown leader Jamaal Williams, drafted Kendre Miller, and should have Michael Thomas back in the lineup this year. Yes, I know that Kamara is facing some suspension, most likely six games, but I don’t think that has a huge impact on them overall.
I worry about the Saints being their own worst enemy. They had the 12th most penalties last season. Not exactly where you want to be in those rankings.
2022 Record: 7–10
2023 Projected Win Total: 8.5
Home Opponents: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Vikings, Packers, Texans, Colts, Commanders
Away Opponents: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Titans, Cardinals, Jets
The Atlanta Falcons have the second easiest strength of schedule and are probably one of the most underrated teams in the NFL, both on offense and defense. Let’s focus on the offense quickly. They ranked second in rush play percentage in 2022, second in rushes per game, second in rushing yards per game, and ninth in rushing touchdowns per game while finishing 15th in points per game.
With the eighth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected standout running back Bijan Robinson. He should be able to come in and help their run game get even better and is now a reliable target for Ridder in the passing game.
If they don’t let games get out of hand, they can hang in there with most teams and definitely the rest of the teams in the division.
2022 Record: 7–10
2023 Projected Win Total: 7.5
Home Opponents: Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Packers, Vikings, Texans, Colts, Cowboys
Away Opponents: Falcons, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers, Titans, Seahawks, Dolphins.
The Carolina Panthers have a decent roster. Not the ideal first sentence when explaining a team’s outlook, but it’s true. They aren’t really dominant in any position. Sure, they have some great players like Brian Burns and Shaq Thompson, but that isn’t enough to carry them into the playoffs.
The offense will probably finish toward the back half of the rankings with rookie QB Bryce Young. I do expect their defense to at least finish 16th or better, though. With the fourth easiest strength of schedule, the Panthers could make some noise, yet I still don’t think they overtake the Falcons or Saints for first or second in the division.
Frank Reich was hired to help take the Panthers to the next level, which I do believe he does, just not this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2022 Record: 8–9
2023 Projected Win Total: 6.5
Home Opponents: Falcons, Panthers, Bears, Lions, Jaguars, Saints, Eagles, Titans
Away Opponents: Falcons, Bills, Panthers, Packers, Texans, Colts, Vikings, Saints, 49ers
Fire the Cannons. The Buccaneers will finish…uhhhh, last in the division? Come on. Do we really think Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask are leading this team to a division title? The videos are already coming out of OTA’s showing both of these QBs throwing inaccurate balls. Without either of these guys being on their game, the Bucs’ chances of winning the division are very slim.
The Bucs have some nice pieces on offense. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rachaad White are real weapons, but I fear they will be underutilized. I imagine this team will be underdogs for 85%, if not more, of their games. Their defense was not bad in 2022, but I expect them to take a step back without Tom Brady at the helm. Tampa has a definite uphill battle.
NFC South Division Winner:
My Best Bet:
New Orlean Saints +135(FD)
My Best Value Bet:
Atlanta Falcons +230(FD)
Division Straight Forecast and Division Exacta Order:
I am convinced that the Saints and Falcons will finish first and second in the division. As a result, I think that betting on them individually is fine, but the sneaky way to play this is by taking these two flip-flopped in the Division Straight Forecasts.
Taking the Saints to win the division and the Falcons to finish second is +285(DK). On the flip side, taking the Falcons to win the division and the Saints to finish second is +425(DK). Im just hitching my wagon onto these two teams in the NFC South.
For the Divison Exact Order (Teams to finish 1,2,3,4 in the division), I think you can take a few combos here and still make a profit. Again, I am taking the Saints and Falcons as the top two teams. Saints, Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers +425(DK). Saints, Falcons, Buccaneers, Panthers +900(DK). Falcons, Saints, Panthers, Buccaneers +650(DK). Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Panthers +1300(DK).
NFC South Prop Bets I Like:
Kyle Pitts 80+ Receiving Yards in 3+ Regular Season Games +250 (DK)
Atlanta Falcons Regular Season Division Wins: OVER 3.5 +125 (DK)
Chris Olave Regular Season Receiving Yards: OVER 1000.5 -110 (DK)
Drake London Regular Season Receiving TDs: OVER 4.5 +100 (DK)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Regular Season Wins: Under 6.5 -142 (FD)
Carolina Panthers to Score 1+ Touchdowns in Every Regular Season Game +500