NFC West NFL 2018 Season Predictions And Betting Picks
For those NFL fans who love to gamble, its been a terrific year.
Thats because on May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on gambling known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
Now instead of having to go to Las Vegas to bet on professional and college football games, gamblers will be able to go to their local betting parlors and casinos in whichever state they live to place whatever NFL bets they like.
Unfortunately, though, thats going to take a little more time to get set up.
So until all those new American parlors and casinos are put in place (and they will be!), online betting will continue to rule.
However and wherever you choose to place your bets, the 2018 NFL season will provide fans with plenty of opportunities to gamble, so we thought wed offer a little help in that department.
This article series lists the current odds posted at four of the top online NFL betting sites:
- BETOnline (BO)
- Intertops (IT)
- SPORTSBetting (SB)
- GT Bets (GT)
Weve included the betting odds for every team in each NFL division, their chances of winning their division, their conference and the Super Bowl. But remember, odds can change, so be sure to check whats actually listed online before placing any bets.
Only gamble what you can afford to lose but study the odds to keep your losing to a minimum and shop around for the best odds to keep your winning to a maximum.
This is the NFC West
All four teams in the NFC West have made Super Bowl appearances (three of them have won) but only the Los Angeles Rams had a chance to make the playoffs last season.
In 2017, the Los Angeles Rams went 11-5 and won the NFC West with their new head coach Sean McVay, whod replaced five-year coach Jeff Fisher after his 2016 team went 4-12. They lost in the playoffs to the defending NFC champions, the Atlanta Falcons, 26-13. Their offseason was active, and football fans are expecting great things from the 2018 Rams.
The Seattle Seahawks went 9-7, ended up second place in the division and were eliminated from the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Seahawks are counting on quarterback Russell Wilson to return to Super Bowl winning form and a slightly deepened secondary to compete in order to get back to the playoffs where they belong.
After the 8-8 Arizona Cardinals missed the playoffs for the second straight season, head coach Bruce Arians retired, so general manager Steve Keim hired a new one, and also changed offensive and defensive coordinators and created a brand new quarterback room, including a first round pick from UCLA.
The San Francisco 49ers went 1-10 to start the season, so new general manager John Lynch signed former backup to Tom Brady turned free agent Jimmy Garoppolo who came in and helped the team win their last five games of the season. If Garoppolos the real deal, the 49ers could be the NFC West team to bet on.
The Los Angeles Rams (+1200 to win SB LIII)
For the first time in 12 seasons, the 11-5 Los Angeles Rams made the playoffs in 2017 but were sent home by the defending NFC champions, the Atlanta Falcons, 26-13.
The Rams have managed to turn around their low scoring offense and spark their second year quarterback Jared Goff to life, all thanks to the youthful leadership of new head coach Sean McVay.
McVay and Goff see eye to eye
Coach McVay, who was a college wide receiver and the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, has been calling the offensive plays and constantly throwing in last minute audibles that Goff has learned to effectively communicate to his team and execute.
Theyll target free agent pickup wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who had 65 catches for 1,082 yards and 7 TDs with the Patriots last season.
The Rams offense will be coordinated by committee for the 2018 season. Heres how it will work: the 8th ranked run game will be coordinated by promoted line coach Aaron Kromer while the 10th ranked pass game will be coordinated by promoted tight ends coach Shane Waldron.
The gamblers question: will this committee-led approach to offense lead to excellence or total confusion?
Gurleys a monster, count on it
All Pro running back Todd Gurley averaged 4.7 yards per run last season. He was ranked second in the NFL last season after running 279 times for 1,305 yards (87 per game) and 13 TDs. And he also caught 64 passes for 788 yards and 6 TDs.
Gurley was voted the No. 6 player in the NFL by his peers on the famed Top 100 Players of 2018 list. His only apparent weakness ball security. Last season, 2 of his 5 fumbles were lost.
Offseason moves helped Rams defense
General manager Les Snead signed cornerbacks Marcus Peters, who had 5 interceptions for the Chiefs last season, Aqib Talib, who had 31 combined tackles and an interception for the Broncos and Super Bowl winner Sam Shields, whos ready to play after sitting out last season in Green Bay recovering from his concussions. The 2017 Rams were last in the league in interceptions, grabbing only 7.
Snead also signed defensive end Ndamukong Suh, who had 51.5 career sacks with 4.5 for Miami last season. Suh will play end across from All Pro Aaron Donald, who had 11 sacks himself.
With McVay, Goff, Gurley, Kupp and Cooks firing on all cylinders, the 2018 Rams are a sure bet to win a lot of games, especially given that All Pro kicker Greg the Leg Zuerlein is ready to go after his successful back surgery in December.
Gamblers keep this in mind: Zuerlein was 95.0% accurate last season and led the league in scoring with 158 points (11.3 points per game) despite playing only 14 games due to injury.
Place your bets.
Odds that the Los Angeles Rams will win:
The NFC West: BO: -140, IT: -133, SB: -140, GT: -135
The NFC Championship: BO: +650, IT: +600, SB: +650, GT: +510
The Super Bowl: BO: +1200, IT: +1000, SB: +1200, GT: +900
The Seattle Seahawks (+5000 to win SB LIII)
For the first time in six seasons head coach Pete Carrolls 9-7 Seattle Seahawks didnt make the playoffs in 2017, mainly because their 15th ranked offense was unbalanced.
Their passing attack was 14th in the league but their rushing game was 23rd, so general manager John Schneider used the offseason to bring in a new runner.
A first-round running back NOT named Barkley
The Seattle running backs room was emptied when Eddie Lacy became a free agent and Thomas Rawls signed with the Jets. Enter Rashaad Penny, a first-round drafted running back from San Diego State who ran the ball 289 times for 2,248 yards and 23 TDs last season, plus had 19 receptions for 135 yards and 2 TDs.
The gamble some teams had Penny rated in the second or third round, so it remains to be seen if he was worthy of a first-round pick. Especially given that Georgia running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and LSUs Derrius Guice were all still available.
Seahawk defense under new management
The only player in NFL history to win a Super Bowl ring in three consecutive years is new defensive coordinator and former NFL linebacker Ken Norton Jr. Hell work with newly signed free agent linebacker Barkevious Mingo (47 combined tackles, two pass deflections and two sacks for the Colts last season) as well as All Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner (133 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2 interceptions in 2017) and K.J Wright (108 combined tackles and 1 interception).
Seattles secondary had 14 interceptions last season, tied for 8th in the league, but theyre losing cornerback Richard Sherman, whos left for the 49ers. Theyve signed Dontae Johnson (SF) and drafted Tre Flowers (Oklahoma State) in the fifth round plus second-team All Pro safety Earl Thomas is returning after a season where he made 88 combined tackles and 2 interceptions.
Wilson needs to stay safer
Last season, quarterback Russell Wilson led the NFL in touchdown passes after completing 339 passes for 3,983 yards with only 11 interceptions. New offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will need to work with the Seahawks offensive line, who didnt keep Wilson safe in 2017 by allowing 43 sacks.
Schneider gave Wilson some additional targets by signing wide receivers Jaron Brown (ARZ), Brandon Marshall (NYG), who says hes healed from his season ending ankle surgery, as well as receiving tight end Ed Dickson, who grabbed 30 balls for 437 yards and a touchdown for Carolina last season.
In 2018, it will be up to Wilson to find ways to win games and improve his middle-of-the-NFL offense, or theyll remain an outside bet to even win a Wildcard spot in the playoffs.
Odds that the Seattle Seahawks will win:
The NFC West: BO: +500, IT: +400, SB: +500, GT: +400
The NFC Championship: BO: +2500, IT: +1800, SB: +2500, GT: +1500
The Super Bowl: BO: +5000, IT: +3300, SB: +5000, GT: +3000
The Arizona Cardinals (+10000 to win SB LIII)
In 2017, the Arizona Cardinals only won eight games and missed the playoffs for the second season in a row. Shortly thereafter, fifth-year head coach Bruce Arians retired, so general manager Steve Keim hired Steve Wilks, the former coordinator for the Carolina Panthers 7th ranked defense.
During training camp and preseason games, Wilks will be working with new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to figure out wholl be the Cardinals starting quarterback in 2018.
Not an easy choice.
The choice for quarterback is Bradford for now
Keim signed free agent starter Sam Bradford, who spent most of 2017 on injured reserve. In 2016, Bradford had 395 completions for 3,877 yards, 20 TDs and only 5 interceptions. The big question is whether Bradford can return to those pre-injury numbers quickly enough before fans start calling for the kid.
The kid being Josh Rosen, the first-round drafted UCLA quarterback who completed 283 passes for 3,756 yards, 26 TDs and 10 interceptions for a passer rating of 147 last season. At training camp, Wilks is allowing Rosen to compete for the starters job, letting the rookie run the second-team offense and giving him occasional reps with the starters. Hes even given Rosen a locker in the Veterans room, something entirely unheard of.
New receivers for whoever starts
2nd round draft pick wide receiver Christian Kirk caught 71 passes for 919 yards and 10 TDs in his junior (and final) year at Texas A&M. Kirk also scored a touchdown on 10 punt returns for 191 yards and one touchdown on 22 kickoff returns for 490 yards.
The Cardinals also signed free agent receiver Brice Butler (DAL) who had 15 catches for 317 yards and 3 TDs last season. Theyll all join Larry Fitzgerald and J.J. Nelson to help fill the gap left by the departure of John Brown to the Ravens.
Is Johnson truly healthy?
Last season, the Cardinals rushing offense only averaged 86.6 yards per game, third worst in the NFL. Running back David Johnson missed most of 2017 due to a wrist injury, but in 2016, he ran 293 times for 1,239 yards and 16 TDs and caught 80 balls for 879 yards and 4 TDs.
To help a healthy Johnson find holes in 2018 (and to keep their quarterback safer), Keim has re-tooled the right side of the offensive line. He signed free agent guard Justin Pugh formerly with the Giants and tackle Andre Smith, formerly with the Bengals. Keim also drafted versatile lineman Mason Cole (Michigan) to bring in a solid backup.
The odds are not in favor of the Cardinals doing well in 2018 – Johnson has to get back to pre-injury form so he can be the counter-attack to whichever quarterback starts, but theyll face a schedule thats tied for eighth toughest and that makes them a true long shot.
Odds that the Arizona Cardinals will win:
The NFC West: BO: +1200, IT: +1100, SB: +1200, GT: +1800
The NFC Championship: BO: +5000, IT: +3300, SB: +5000, GT: +4000
The Super Bowl: BO: +10000, IT: +8000, SB: +10000, GT: +8000
The San Francisco 49ers (+2400 to win SB LIII)
The San Francisco 49ers went 6-10 in 2017, but really, the big story only concerns five of those wins. Those belong to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the New England Patriots backup who new general manager John Lynch traded a second-round pick in this years draft for and who started the final five games and went 5-0.
This seasons gamble is all about whether Garappolo is for real, and whether he works well with his offensive coordinator, whos also his head coach, Kyle Shanahan. From the looks at Garappolos impressive arm at training camp, hes a sure bet to bring some more wins and more to San Francisco.
Garoppolo surrounded by ready hands
In Week 17 last season, tight end George Kittle and Garoppolo connected for a game high 4 receptions for 100 yards, adding to Kittles season numbers of 43 catches for 515 yards and 2 TDs. That connection will add to an already successful 49ers passing offense that threw for 245.3 yards per game last season, 9th best in the league.
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon only made 40 catches for 500 yards and zero touchdowns for the 49ers in 2017, but his potential with Garoppolo could match his prior year with the Redskins when he caught 79 balls for 1,041 yards and 3 TDs.
Receiver Marquise Goodwin cant wait to earn his three-year, $20.3 million contract extension, and exciting 2nd year receiver Trent Taylor hopes Garoppolo will help him improve on his rookie numbers: 43 catches for 430 yards and 2 TDs.
Gamblers question: Did the Patriots make a mistake letting Garoppolo go or will he disappoint when put in charge of an offense?
49-ers offensive line problems addressed
The 49ers offensive line averaged 104.0 running yards per game, which was ranked 21st in the league last season. Lynch signed center Weston Richburg (NYG) and guard Jonathon Cooper (DAL).
Lynch also signed free agent tackle Andrew Lauderdale (NO), traded right tackle Trent Brown to the Patriots and drafted right tackle Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame) in the first round. McGlinchey should contribute right away and eventually be able to replace left tackle Joe Staley, who turns 34 in August.
Sherman healthy but rusty at training camp
Newly acquired cornerback (and 4 x Pro Bowler ) Richard Sherman has been healing his Achilles for the last eight months, so its not surprising that hes shown a bit of rust during training camp.
Hes looked slow, but thats while covering receiver Marquise Goodwin, who was a sprinter in college and represented the U.S. as a long-jumper at the 2012 Olympics. Sherman has done well in 11-on-11 drills and is, according to defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, just trying to get his football legs back.
Gamblers believe in miracles, and when you look at the odds of the 49ers winning the Super Bowl, its obvious that odds makers do, too. If Garoppolo proves hes more than Tom Bradys backup hell make the rest of the 49ers better, and theres a good chance this team will make a lot of faithful betters some money in 2018.
Odds that the San Francisco 49ers will win:
The NFC West: BO: +250, IT: +275, SB: +250, GT: +265
The NFC Championship: BO: +1200, IT: +1000, SB: +300, GT: +1200
The Super Bowl: BO: +2000, IT: +2200, SB: +2000, GT: +2400