2024 NFC South Betting Preview: Division Winners


While the summer solstice officially marks the beginning of our hottest season, the NFL has already brought an enhanced focus of content for the upcoming season. Articles, podcasts and Twitter timelines are zeroing in on the upcoming season, and best ball content is flowing like water. Sportsbooks have posted a plethora of future NFL bets such as player props and conference champions.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll provide NFL betting content by previewing every division. I’ll cover key divisional storylines, provide a breakdown for each team and give out my favorite bet to win each division. I started with the AFC East and NFC East in our first week, backing the Jets to end a 22-year drought as divisional champions and the Eagles to reclaim the top spot over the Cowboys. Last week, we outlined why the Steelers (+700) are worth backing as the biggest long shot in the AFC North and how the Packers (+210) will stop the Lions from repeating in the NFC North. This week, I stayed with the chalk and picked the favorite Texans to win the AFC South. Today, let’s look at the NFC South.

NFC South Betting Preview

The NFC South title has been dominated by two teams the past seven seasons. The Saints nabbed four straight division crowns from 2017-2020, with the Buccaneers winning the last three NFC South titles. Per Sports Odds History, we can see that the projected NFC South champion has maintained wild odds in June, leading to volatility and great betting value. 

Year Team Record Odds
2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12-4 -240
2003 Carolina Panthers 11-5 +650
2004 Atlanta Falcons 11-5 +165
2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-5 +500
2006 New Orleans Saints 10-6 +700
2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7 +450
2008 Carolina Panthers 12-4 +275
2009 New Orleans Saints 13-3 +200
2010 Atlanta Falcons 13-3 +200
2011 New Orleans Saints 13-3 +125
2012 Atlanta Falcons 12-4 +125
2013 Carolina Panthers 12-4 +500
2014 Carolina Panthers 7-8-1 +260
2015 Carolina Panthers 15-1 +180
2016 Atlanta Falcons 11-5 +600
2017 New Orleans Saints 11-5 +500
2018 New Orleans Saints 13-3 +140
2019 New Orleans Saints 13-3 -180
2020 New Orleans Saints 12-4 -110
2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-4 -155
2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-9 -300
2023 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-8 +550

Currently, the Falcons (-115) are the dominant betting favorite, with the Buccaneers (+300) and Saints (+340) within striking distance. The long shot is Carolina (+1100), which is trying to rebuild under new head coach Dave Canales. Will Atlanta grab their first division title since 2016 with Raheem Morris now guiding the Falcons? Will the Buccaneers win their fourth straight crown? Will the Saints get revenge after losing a tiebreaker for the NFC South to Tampa Bay last season? Can Canales work his magic in Year 1?

Here’s my betting breakdown of the NFC South.

Carolina Panthers

(DraftKings Division Title Odds: +1100)

CHARLOTTE, NC – OCTOBER 01: Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) during an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Carolina Panthers on October 1, 2023 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire)

I have interest in betting the longshot Panthers to win the division at +1100. Everything went wrong in Bryce Young’s first season, but Canales accepted the head coach job with a plan to maximize the talents of his second-year quarterback. Carolina added an elite separator in wide receiver Diontae Johnson and traded up to draft explosive wideout Xavier Legette in the first round. With veteran Adam Thielen coming off a 103-reception season, the Panthers suddenly have a strong receiving corps. 

Carolina drafted versatile running back Jonathan Brooks, who is already ahead of schedule on his rehab from a torn ACL last November. While their offensive line struggled last season, there is reason for optimism with the addition of guards Damien Lewis and Robert Hunt. 

The Panthers went 2-6 in one-score games, proving they were much more competitive than their 2-15 record. Carolina had a win total of 7.5 games for most of last year’s offseason and still has one of the best backup quarterbacks in Andy Dalton. The Panthers have a comparably easy non-conference schedule to Atlanta, with winnable games at the Raiders, Broncos and Bears. It’s certainly a long shot, but it’s much more reasonable than most bettors will think. In 19 of the past 20 seasons, at least one NFL team has gone from last place to first place in the division. Could the Panthers be that team? 

New Orleans Saints

(DraftKings Division Title Odds: +340)

It’s hard to back a team when you don’t believe in the quarterback, and this could be the final year for Derek Carr in New Orleans. Their win total has dropped to 7.5 games, and there are lingering contract concerns for Alvin Kamara. The Saints roster has talent on offense, with wide receiver Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed a solid, but unspectacular duo. But their offensive line is a mess, projecting as the league’s worst per FTN’s Dan Fornek. The Saints defense is decent, especially in the secondary. New Orleans’ defensive line needs to be much better, and the addition of Chase Young is not enough. 

I don’t like the Saints offensive line, defensive line, quarterback or head coach. After failing to win the division after an extremely easy 2023 schedule, I’m not backing New Orleans in 2024. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(DraftKings Division Title Odds: +300)

TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 17: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass during the regular season game between the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 17, 2023 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Baker Mayfield had a fantastic season, but can he repeat that? I doubt it, which makes me lower on the Buccaneers than the market. 

Tampa Bay has minimal talent. Their defense was strong but is another year older without significant additions and losing cornerback Carlton Davis to the Lions. The Buccaneers still lack a strong offensive line and ranked just 28th in run offense DVOA. Running back Rachaad White had a productive fantasy year but struggled in all advanced metrics. Per FTN Charting Data, White averaged just 1.7 yards before contact, and his 16.2% avoided tackle rate was 17th out of 23 running backs with at least 200 carries. 

The Buccaneers must get off to a good start or this season could go south quickly. They have a brutal stretch of games from Weeks 5 to 10 before their bye. They play at Atlanta, at New Orleans, home to Baltimore, Atlanta again, before traveling to Kansas City and hosting San Francisco. Tampa Bay was a huge surprise last year and won a playoff game against Philadelphia, but the regression monster is coming in 2024. 

Atlanta Falcons

(DraftKings Division Title Odds: -115)

The Falcons have a two-game projected win advantage over every other team in the NFC South. Atlanta carries a 9.5 win total at -140 to the over. I like the Falcons roster but have concerns over their schedule. While they do have the easiest overall schedule per Vegas projected win totals, that is a direct result of the poor overall division. The Falcons play at home against the Chiefs, Cowboys and Chargers and play five of their last eight games on the road. They could very easily start the season 0-3, opening the year against Pittsburgh, at Philadelphia and home to Kansas City. 

I am still baffled by Atlanta selecting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick in the draft after signing veteran Kirk Cousins, who turns 36 years old in August. They really need to add a pass rusher to ensure last year’s pass pressure improvement can be sustained. Cousins is coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon, which adds doubt to a Falcons passing attack that has yet to maximize the production for wide receiver Drake London or tight end Kyle Pitts. 

The Falcons defense showed strong improvement last season, moving from 27th to 11th in yards allowed per game and doubling their sack total (42) from 2022. However, they will need to adjust to the loss of defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, who took the same position in Jacksonville. New head coach Raheem Morris is an accomplished defensive mind, but there is simply too much turnover at key positions to back the Falcons as a massive divisional favorite. 

NFC South Winner Picks

The Pick: Carolina Panthers

Yep, believe it. 

Head coach Dave Canales will model his success with Tampa Bay’s offense with the Panthers in 2024. Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero battled injuries all season and produced a defense that allowed the fourth-fewest yards of any NFL team last year. Cornerback Jaycee Horn is now fully healthy after only playing in six games, and the Panthers added Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Wonnum to help bolster their sacks and pressures. The public is down on Panthers after a disappointing rookie season for Bryce Young, which is perfect time to take a flier on this year’s best “worst to first” candidate.

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