NFC South Outlook
August 13, 2017
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-- 2016 record (11-5) – 1st in NFC South
-- Off YPG – 415.8 (2nd) – Def YPG – 371.2 (25th)
-- Points scored 33.8 (1st) – Points allowed 25.4 (27th)
2017 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 9.5 Wins for the Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta was in the Super Bowl last year yet the oddsmakers have set this number at just 9.5 wins? They are begging you to take the OVER in our opinion and we’ll go against most and grab the UNDER here. Let’s not forget the Falcons had three straight .500 or worse seasons entering last year’s Super Bowl run. The offense made a gigantic jump last year going from 21 PPG on 374 YPG in 2016 to 34 PPG on 416 YPG. It will be awfully tough to duplicate those numbers and we expect a drop off.
QB Matt Ryan had a year with career highs in QBR, YPG, TD’s, completion percentage, and fewest interceptions. Again, very tough to duplicate that. Let’s also remember that while the offense was very good, the defense was not. They ranked near the bottom of the NFL in both YPG & PPG allowed.
Also it’s not as if this team was dominant last year. They were 11-5 and made a strong push in the playoffs. The way the lost the Super Bowl will be tough to bounce back after blowing a big lead against New England. They have a rough spot schedule wise with 3 straight road games from late October into November and then back to back road games again in mid December. We think the NFC South will be tougher this year with improvements from both Carolina & New Orleans so we’re taking Atlanta to win less than 9.5 games.
Betting Records – 10-6 ATS record / 13 Overs, 2 Unders, 1 Tie
-- In 2015 the Falcons had just 3 OVERS & 13 UNDERS during the regular season. Last year they did a complete 180 with 13 OVERS, 2 UNDERS, and 1 TIE.
-- The Birds were 5-1 ATS as an underdog (regular ssn) last year. They have now covered the number 20 of the last 27 times they’ve been tabbed an underdog (74%). They have won 13 of those 27 games outright.
-- The Birds are just 8-18 ATS as a favorite the last 3 seasons. That includes a 5-5 spread mark in that role last season.
-- Despite last year’s offensive explosion, the Falcons are the 5th worst OVER team since 2003 with 108 OVERS, 121 UNDERS, and 5 ties.
-- 2016 record (6-10) – 4th in NFC South
-- Off YPG – 343.7 (19th) – Def YPG – 359.8 (21st)
-- Points scored 23.1 (15th) – Points allowed 25.1 (26th)
2017 ASA prediction – Play OVER 8.5 Wins for Carolina Panthers
After making it to the Super Bowl two years ago, the Panthers won only 6 games last season. We think they bounce back with a solid 2017 season. We have Panthers as a pick’em or favored in 10 of their 16 games heading into the season. In their 6 games as an underdog, only New England & Atlanta would currently be favored by more than a FG vs Carolina. These numbers obviously change as the season progresses but prior to the start of the season, Carolina looks in decent shape to get to 9 wins or more.
While they did lose 10 games last season, let’s keep in mind that six of those losses came by a field goal or less. On the other hand, four of their six wins came by at least 10 points. There were drastic drop offs both offensively (31 PPG to 23 PPG) and defensively (19 PPG allowed to 25 PPG allowed) and a return to somewhere in between at the very least can be expected. After throwing 35 TD’s and 10 picks in his Super Bowl season, Cam Newton went for just 19 & 14 last year. Expect him to rebound as well. A 9-7 record (or better) is more than reasonable for this team in 2017.
Betting Records – 6-9-1 ATS record / 7 Overs, 8 Unders, 1 Tie
-- When the Panthers are tabbed as a home favorite, you may want to look at playing the UNDER. Carolina is 34-18-1 to the UNDER in that role since 2008.
-- The direct opposite is true when the Cats are a road underdog. In that spot they are an OVER team playing 29-19-1 to the OVER.
-- Since 2011, the Panthers have the 2nd best record in the NFL as a home favorite at 22-13-1 ATS (63%).
-- The Panthers are 19-6-1 ATS the last 26 times they’ve been a favorite of -7 or more.
New Orleans Saints
-- 2016 record (7-9) – 3rd in NFC South
-- Off YPG – 426 (1st) – Def YPG – 375.4 (27th)
-- Points scored 29.3 (2nd) – Points allowed 28.4 (31st)
2017 ASA prediction – Play OVER 8 Wins for the New Orleans Saints
The Saints can obviously score points but can they stop anybody? Despite their poor defense, a quick look at the key stats reveals that this team probably should have been at least .500 or better. They were 3rd in the NFL in yards per game differential at +50! That was better than 11 of the 12 teams that made the playoffs last season. The Saints also had a positive point differential. Throw in one of the top QB’s in the NFL and we think the bottom for this team is 8-8 with a chance for much better. This offense put up 30+ points in 9 of their 16 games so just a slight improvement from the defense will do wonders.
Six of their nine losses a year ago were vs playoff teams and only one of their losses was vs a team with worse than a 9-7 record. This year they face only 6 playoff teams from last season and they have only 7 true road games due to their game in England vs Miami. We see a potential run of wins from October 29th through December 3rd where they play 6 straight teams that failed to make the playoffs last year. Don’t be shocked if New Orleans is a surprise team this year.
Betting Records – 11-5 ATS record / 9 Overs, 7 Unders
-- Since Drew Brees took over as the Saints starting QB in 2006, this has been an OVER team. In fact, New Orleans has an OVER mark of 103-81-2 since 2006.
-- We stick with that Brees time frame and see that since 2006, the Saints are 44-27 ATS (62%) the game following an outright loss.
-- Brees & company are 18-8 ATS as a home favorite off an outright loss the previous week. Those numbers are from 2008 through 2016.
-- New Orleans has been tabbed a home dog only 10 times since October of 2006. In those 10 games, they have gone OVER the total 8 times.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-- 2016 record (9-7) – 2nd in NFC South
-- Off YPG – 346.4 (18th) – Def YPG – 367.9 (23rd)
-- Points scored 22.1 (19th) – Points allowed 23.1 (15th)
2017 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 8.5 Wins for Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you simply look at the key numbers, the Bucs were very fortunate to have a winning season in 2016. They finished with a 9-7 record but were outscored AND outgained on the season. The Bucs point differential of -15 was the fifth worst in the NFC with only the Rams, Niners, Bears, and Panthers falling lower than Tampa in that category. Those 4 teams all had losing records and combined for an overall record of just 15-49! After 5 consecutive losing seasons, Tampa quite possible “snuck up” on teams last year in route to their 9 win season. They were just 3-5 over the first half of the season before catching a few teams by surprise down the stretch.
Only 3 of Tampa’s 9 wins last season came vs teams that ended the season above .500. Jameis Winston did improve, however he remains turnover prone with 33 interceptions in just 2 seasons. This team ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in both total offense and total defense and a retreat to an 8-8 or worse record is most likely in store.
Betting Records – 9-7 ATS record / 7 Overs, 8 Unders, 1 Tie
-- The Bucs are just 8-16 ATS as a home favorite since 2011. Worse yet, they have lost 14 of those 24 games outright.
-- Since 1980, TB has been a favorite 215 times. In those games the UNDER has hit 124 times and the OVER just 90 times (with 1 tie).
-- Probably should tread lightly if considering the Bucs as a home underdog. They are just 12-24 ATS and 8-28 SU in that spot since 2007.
-- Tampa has the 2nd worst home spread record in the NFL since 2008 going just 25-46-1 ATS at Raymond James Stadium.
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