Smacken The Sportsbet Trader and Ed Wyatt continue their look at the 2018 NFL season.
The NFC South has arguably been the NFL’s most competitive division, and other than Tampa Bay, all three teams could be playoff bound.
1 New Orleans Saints 11-5
2 Carolina Panthers 11-5
3 Atlanta Falcons 10-6
4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-11
Ranking The Coaches
1 Sean Payton, NO: Super Bowl winner has the respect of fans, media, players and peers.
2 Dan Quinn, ATL: Still trying to overcome stigma of that 2nd half capitulation against New England in Super Bowl LI.
3 Ron Rivera, CAR: ‘Riverboat Ron’ is an interesting character but he can definitely motivate.
4 Dirk Koetter, TB: An 8-8 season would be a miracle in Tampa.
Ranking The QBs
1 Drew Brees, NO: An absolute superstar, a pleasure to watch.
2 Matt Ryan, ATL: A bit robotic at times, but has a great crew of receivers to throw to.
3 Cam Newton, CAR: Erratic, but definitely has the tools. Fun to watch when he’s on.
4 Jameis Winston, TB: Suspended for the start of the season, yet to prove he can do it at this level.
Ranking The Fans
1 New Orleans: Always a party in the Dome. Dancing owner Tom Benson will be sorely missed.
2 Carolina: Loud, rocking crowd, with a good pregame atmosphere.
3 Atlanta: Second best fans in the stadium, after MLS club Atlanta United.
4 Tampa Bay: To be fair, the Tampa crowd hasn’t had much to cheer about.
Odds and Opinions
–New Orleans ($2.60)
–Tampa Bay ($9)
Smacken The Trader Says
“Been a long time since this division has not been super competitive to begin the season. It’s splitting hairs between the Falcons & Saints both in prices ($2.60 & $2.63 respectively) and in terms of turnover, only $7 in stakes separates both teams.”
“Cam Newton and Company can challenge the top two, but three of the four games against New Orleans & Atlanta are the last three weeks of the season. If we are going to have a bet in this division, it will be later on in the season.”
“Agree 100%. Really hard to separate Atlanta and New Orleans, with Carolina a real chance. Tampa Bay is a mess.”
“Play-calling and game management are huge in this division. Sean Payton is fearless, while both Ron Rivera and Dan Quinn tend to make some strange choices. Could be something to consider.”
NFL Division Markets here – odds subject to change.