This is the third of eight division previews for the 2015-16 NFL season. You can also check out the NFC West and NFC North previews. Once again, the data displayed comes from simulating the entire season 10,000 times.
This division doesn’t have a clear front-runner such as the Seahawks or Packers like in the two previous posts, but we’ll start with the New Orleans Saints:
2014 Record: 7-9 2015 Home Games: DAL, NYG, JAX, TEN, DET 2015 Away Games: PHI, WAS, IND, HOU, ARI
The most likely scenario is a 9-7 season but in this division that is good enough for the top billing. I’ve already claimed that the Saints have the easiest schedule this season. Some of that is due to divisional opponents, but two very winnable home games against the Jaguars and Titans doesn’t hurt either. The narrative brigade will claim that the Saints will sorely miss Jimmy Graham but the media and fans tend to overrate the value of skill position players.
|Saints O/U||Over %||Under %||Implied Odds|
|8 wins||50.7%||29.7%||-171 / +171|
|8.5 wins||50.7%||49.3%||-103 / +103|
|9 wins||30.3%||49.3%||+163 / -163|
Not much here in terms of market value according to the simulation so no bet for me here.
Up next are the Atlanta Falcons:
2014 Record: 6-10 2015 Home Games: PHI, WAS, IND, HOU, MIN 2015 Away Games: DAL, NYG, JAX, TEN, SF
Atlanta is a touch behind the Saints, with an 8-8 record as the most common result. While head coaches add little to a team’s projected win total, getting rid of Mike Smith couldn’t have hurt.
|Falcons O/U||Over %||Under %||Implied Odds|
|8 wins||42.8%||36.6%||-117 / +117|
|8.5 wins||42.8%||57.2%||+134 / -134|
|9 wins||24.1%||57.2%||+237 / -237|
There is slight value on Falcons Under 8.5 but not enough to whet my appetite enough to pull the trigger.
Nipping at Atlanta’s heels are the Carolina Panthers:
2014 Record: 7-8-1 2015 Home Games: PHI, WAS, IND, HOU, GB 2015 Away Games: DAL, NYG, JAX, TEN, SEA
The Panthers most likely result is also 8-8 but their average win total is slightly less than the Falcons. The main culprit is the difference in schedules. As last year’s division winner, the Panthers get the pleasure of playing the Packers and Seahawks as their two additional games. Meanwhile the Falcons get the Vikings and 49ers in place of those two games. That difference in schedule is enough to put Carolina behind Atlanta despite the Panthers having a stronger overall rating within the model.
|Panthers O/U||Over %||Under %||Implied Odds|
|8 wins||36.8%||42.7%||+116 / -116|
|8.5 wins||36.8%||63.2%||+172 / -172|
|9 wins||19.7%||63.2%||+321 / -321|
Carolina Under 8.5 is the play here as you can get -135 or -130 if you shop around.
Next up are the Buccaneers led by new quarterback Jameis Winston:
2014 Record: 2-14 2015 Home Games: DAL, NYG, JAX, TEN, CHI 2015 Away Games: PHI, WAS, IND, HOU, STL
Not a great outlook in Tampa Bay but I think that is expected with a rookie quarterback and very little to build on from last season. The most likely result is a 5-11 season with a winning season of 9+ wins being very unlikely.
|Bucs O/U||Over %||Under %||Implied Odds|
|5.5 wins||52.3%||47.7%||-110 / +110|
|6 wins||31.9%||47.7%||+150 / -150|
|6.5 wins||31.9%||68.1%||+213 / -213|
5Dimes has Tampa Bay Under 6 at -130, and you may be able to find a better price at some squarer books if you shop around. This bet is +EV and gives you the chance to root against Jameis Winston; everybody wins.
Finally, we have the NFC South division odds:
|Team||Division %||Implied Odds|
I’ll be back tomorrow with the NFC East preview. If you would like to comment on this post or any of the NFL previews, head on over to our new forum and get in on the discussion.
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