2016 NFC West Division Odds Preview and Pick
The NFC West is our final stop in our preseason look at NFL division odds going into the 2016 NFL season. The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks once again look to be the cream of the crop inside one of the nastiest divisions in the entire league. Arizona made it to the NFC title game after stealing the division last season, while the Seahawks also made it into post-season play.
With Seattle and Arizona contending for the top of the division, it remains to be seen just where the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams fit in. Can Chip Kelly light a fire under a stagnant Niners squad? Will a move to Los Angeles finally get the Rams going? Let’s find out by analyzing the 2016 NFC West odds:
Seattle Seahawks -110
Seattle looks like a classic rebound case, as they were in two of the last three Super Bowls and despite struggling in 2015, still made the playoffs and even won a game once in. Marshawn Lynch is retired, but Russell Wilson has elevated his game to new heights and the Legion of Boom is as deep and brash as ever.
The Seahawks do need to answer some concerns about their rushing attack, but the team drafted two running backs and Thomas Rawls looked plenty capable of being a feature back last year. If the ground game is up to snuff, there is no reason the Seahawks can’t be a top flight NFC contender, let alone win this division. That being said, Bovada isn’t giving them fun NFC West odds, so you’d have to bet the farm to make any coin. They very well could take the division back this year, but they’re not a suggested bet in 2016.
Arizona Cardinals +140
Arizona won the division in 2015 and arguably is still the best NFC West squad around. Carson Palmer does need to shake a complete meltdown in the NFC title game, but the Cardinals are otherwise rulers of their own destiny.
David Johnson looks to bust out as one of the most dynamic running backs in the league, while the electrifying Chandler Jones sets the edge for an Arizona defense that was already an elite unit without him. Palmer is the ticket here, as he was at his best in 2015, but shrunk in a pretty massive game. If he can bounce back, Arizona could win the division for the second year in a row and potentially chase the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl.
Unlike Seattle, Arizona is a major threat to win the NFC West AND their odds aren’t atrocious. You should like their chances to win and at +140 you’re seeing a much better payout than if you roll with Seattle.
Los Angeles Rams +750
The Rams are still a middling bunch, as either Case Keenum or Jared Goff will be under center in 2015, and neither has the ability yet to win games on their own. That puts a ton of pressure on Todd Gurley’s rushing, as well as a very good defense.
There is no denying L.A. is a dark horse here, but the competition at hand is just over-whelming. The Rams are ultimately a balanced team that will be in a lot of games, but will again be stuck around the 7-9 or 8-8 range. Their ceiling feels to be an ambitious 9-7 run that falls just short of the playoffs. Even if they somehow best that, they need to finish ahead of both the Cardinals and Seahawks, and that’s just not happening.
Los Angeles offers a very nice return in the event they finally get over the hump, but they’re just not there yet.
San Francisco 49ers +2000
Say what you want about Chip Kelly, but in three years with the Philadelphia Eagles, he posted two winning seasons and won an NFC East title. The guy has his own style and vision, but he knows how to build a team in his image and so far he’s had at least modest success.
That probably won’t carry over into San Francisco, though, at least not in year one. Carlos Hyde is very interesting in a Chip Kelly system and the same could be said for speedster Torrey Smith, but this is shaping up a sa gimmick squad, at best. The Niners lost a ton of defensive bite over the past few years and Blaine Gabbert is likely to run the show on offense.
Bovada gives the Niners awful +2000 odds to win the NFC West, and that honestly sounds just about right. A cursory bet on San Francisco could be worth it for fun, in case the world falls apart, but we wouldn’t bet much.
NFC West Prediction
This division comes down to the Seahawks and Cardinals and we still think Arizona is the better, more complete team. Bruce Arians shoots from his hip and we’re banking on Palmer bouncing back in a big way. Arizona is just insanely stacked on both sides of the ball, that it’s tough to see them failing. They might not win the Super Bowl, but they’ll put themselves in a great spot by first securing their division crown.