We continue our 2011 NFL Betting divisional previews as we look at the NFC West, and after picking six decided favorites and one co-favorite to win the other seven divisions, this is the division that should offer some value, which is ironic considering this is the worst division in football.
Still, not only do we think that the 49ers don’t deserve to be even money while the Rams are +275, but we actually think the Rams should be favored, making the 49ers probably the worst NFL futures bet at this ludicrous price.
St. Louis Rams (+275): The Rams made tremendous strides since winning one game two years ago, finishing 7-9 in 2010 with a chance to win the NFC West before losing at Seattle in the season’s final game. We feel that they will take the next step this year and win the division. Sam Bradford was solid and poised as a rookie and will only get better, eventually becoming the next superstar quarterback. Steven Jackson is a great running back that takes pressure off of Bradford and the Rams’ great pass rush led by Chris Long and James Hall recorded an impressive 43 sacks last year.
(Also see: Rams Super Bowl Odds – Over/Under Wins – NFC Champ Odds)
San Francisco 49ers (+100): Now Mike Singletary may have been a flop as a head coach, but is the coaching change to Jim Harbaugh enough to make this team even money? We find that highly doubtful. Sure, the Niners have some nice pieces in place on defense and they have a solid running game, but is Alex Smith a good enough quarterback to take them to the promised land? Now we have no doubt that San Francisco will be better than the 6-10 it was last season, but the big quarterback edge the Rams possess over the 49ers will make a world of difference.
(Also see: 49ers Super Bowl Odds – Over/Under Wins – NFC Champ Odds)
Arizona Cardinals (+300): Speaking of quarterbacks, there are rumors that the Cardinals are the favorites to land Kevin Kolb. This team had some of the worst quarterbacking in the league a year ago, so Kolb would be a step in the right direction. Two things to keep in mind though are that if the Kolb thing falls through, Arizona currently has the unimpressive Derek Anderson on top of its depth chart, and also that while quarterback is the team’s biggest need it is not its only need. The translation is that this is a third place team either way, with the difference being they will finish closer to the 49ers with Kolb and closer to the Seahawks without a quarterback upgrade.
(Also see: Cardinals Super Bowl Odds – Over/Under Wins – NFC Champ Odds)
Seattle Seahawks (+600): The Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 record last season, which must have made the league unhappy, although they did upset the Saints in the first round. Thus, this first to worst prediction is really not that bold, as a decrease of two wins should be “good” enough to get the job done. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck can’t stay healthy and it is not even a given that he will be back, and Seattle’s other quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, is a train wreck. The Seahawks got very little production from the offensive skill positions last year and the defense has lots of holes.
(Also see: Seahawks Super Bowl Odds – Over/Under Wins – NFC Champ Odds)
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