NFC Divisional Races Nearing the Midpoint

As we approach the midseason in the NFL, the playoff picture in the NFC is starting to come into focus as we try to separate the pretenders from the contenders in each division. The odds below are from BetMGM.

NFC East

Behind three touchdowns from star receiver A.J. Brown, the Philadelphia Eagles (7-0) remain the NFL’s lone undefeated team. Already established as division favorites, the Eagles saw their odds pick up additional steam from -350 to -400. Who’s catching Jalen Hurts and Co.?

As great as the Eagles have been, their lead in the East is only 1.5 games over the 6-2 Dallas Cowboys, led by Defensive Player of the Year favorite Micah Parsons. With Dak Prescott back under center and Tony Pollard looking like RB1, the odds on Dallas have moved from +450 to +400.

The team the market is counting out is the New York Giants (6-2), who are not only tied with the Cowboys but still have two games remaining with Philly. Last week’s matchup against Seattle had the feeling that the loser is a pretender. Their second defeat sent NY spiraling from +700 to +1400.

NFC North

The biggest division favorite in the NFC is quarterbacked by…Kirk Cousins! You like that?!?! Minnesota improved to 6-1, having the largest lead in their division, which is why their odds went from -600 to -1000. Going all in, the Vikings traded for TE T.J. Hockenson, another weapon for Cousins.

Reciprocally, the Green Bay Packers (3-5) are longshots to win the North for a fourth-straight season. They opened as the NFC’s biggest division favorite (-155), but four games back in the loss column is too much for even Aaron Rodgers to overcome, hence the shift from +500 last week to +800

NFC South

This is the most surprising division, and even at 3-5, the Tampa Bay Bucs remain the favorite but confidence and their odds (-250 last week to -135) are waning. The Bucs are a mess and have dropped three straight. When healthy, they’re talented, but it’s getting late, early in South Florida.

The Atlanta Falcons (4-4) are the only first-place team without a winning record. They still have to overcome their preseason status as the fourth choice to win the South. It’s taking time, but perception is changing slightly in Atlanta’s favor as they’ve gone from +300 last week to +260.

Don’t count out the New Orleans Saints (3-5); the market isn’t after doing so last week when their odds were +1000. The Saints didn’t just snap their two-game losing streak; they were dominant in their 24-0 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Maybe there’s value at +400 if their D can keep it up.

NFC West

The San Francisco 49ers (4-4) avenged their early-season loss to the Los Angeles Rams to move ahead of their rival in the standings and go from a plus-money favorite (+130) to -140. It didn’t hurt that newly acquired Christian McCaffrey delivered on the promise of an improved offense.

Conversely, the Los Angeles Rams (3-4) fell into third place in the West and look like a shell of the 2021 Super Bowl Champions. Their odds have moved from +165, on the heels of San Francisco as the favorite, to +450, which better reflects their position in the NFC West. Are the Rams done?

Moving ahead of LA are the first-place Seattle Seahawks (5-3), who have won three-straight games behind solid QB play from Geno Smith. Are people buying in? Not entirely, but there’s enough steam to move their odds from +500 a week ago to +300. They might be a legit threat in the West.

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