- The New Orleans Saints are -400 favorites to win the NFC South in the opening odds for the 2020 NFL season
- The Carolina Panthers are longshots to come out on top and the Falcons and Buccaneers aren’t much better
- See the odds for the division and who your early bet should be below
For the first decade of its existence, the top of the NFC South was defined by turnover: no team repeated as champs until the Carolina Panthers in 2014. Now heading into 2020, repeating is a cinch.
The early NFC South odds have the New Orleans Saints walking to their fourth-straight division title, with seemingly little resistance from their rivals. While Tampa and Atlanta have reasonably long odds, the Carolina Panthers are barely getting a puncher’s chance at claiming the crown.
2020 NFC South Odds
|New Orleans Saints||-400|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+700|
Odds from March 3
Who offers the best value in the South?
Carolina’s at a Crossroads
Save for the Bengals and Dolphins, no team has a worse chance than the Panthers to win their division. It’s a big drop after opening 2019 with average odds around +690. Following a 4-2 start to the year, their odds dipped as low as +300, before the wheels came off.
Now, with a new head coach and a starting quarterback recovering from foot surgery, the questions of whether the Panthers will blow it up abound.
A lot can still happen in the coming months, but as of now, the #Panthers are moving forward with Cam Newton as their starting QB, sources say. While his foot is healing well, it will be several months until it’s game-ready — a timeline that complicates any potential trade.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 25, 2020
But why tear this team down to the studs? Cam Newton has one more year left on his deal and his trade value has never been lower. Not to mention, Matt Rhule signed a six-year deal with the Panthers; he does not have to rush into a rebuild. If he wants to run it back one last time and see if Newton has any juice left, that move makes sense.
Christian McCaffrey, one of the league’s most versatile offensive weapons, is in the prime of his career. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are a fine one-two punch at receiver. The only notable loss the offense suffered is at tight end, where soon to be 35-year-old Greg Olsen left for Greener pastures.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) February 27, 2020
Carolina’s immediate needs entering this offseason are on the defensive side of the ball, so how they approach free agency will really tell us how invested owner David Tepper is in winning right away.
If the Panthers let key guys like Tre Boston and James Bradberry walk, that’s the canary in the coal mine that they are punting this season, before a Newton deal ever materializes.
The Saints Keep Marching
New Orleans ticked off their first task on the offseason to-do list: they got a quarterback. Drew Brees has committed (at least verbally) to returning for another year and while we’ve yet to see what his new deal will do to New Orleans already tight cap number, getting a future first-ballot Hall of Famer is always a good thing.
Best Passer Rating since 2017
(min. 20 GP)
Drew Brees – 111.3
Patrick Mahomes – 108.9
Ryan Tannehill – 105.4
Lamar Jackson – 104.7
Russell Wilson – 103.6
Deshaun Watson – 101.0
Kirk Cousins – 99.9
Jimmy Garoppolo – 99.2
Carson Wentz – 98.3
Matt Ryan – 97.4
Alex Smith – 97.2
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) February 24, 2020
However, as I mentioned before, this team has a few questions to answer over the summer and not a ton of space to play with. It’s very likely come training camp, the gap in the NFC South appears closer than these odds would suggest.
If you’re going to make a bet at all right now, I would say jump on the Panthers. It’s been almost two years since we’ve seen him, so football fans may have forgot what peak Newton looks like, but he’s pretty darn good.
2016. You can’t walk out to a receiver and place the ball in his hands any more accurately than this throw. Cam Newton to Ted Ginn. This ball traveled 55 yards in the air. On a dime.
— John Ellis (@OnePantherPlace) January 11, 2020
To have that guy leading a team that’s +1800 to win the division is the kind of thing you’re hoping for when you play these early season odds.
It’s also not impossible to envision a world where the Buccaneers win the South too, but that only happens if they get an upgrade over Jameis Winston at QB. And if they do sign or trade for someone better, their odds will drop immediately. So if you have faith in GM Jason Licht, now would be the time to bet Tampa.
I for one, do not.
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