- The Los Angeles Rams have +160 odds to win the NFC West after the Matt Stafford trade.
- The San Francisco 49ers are at +210, looking to bounce back after injuries derailed 2020.
- The Seattle Seahawks clock in with +270 odds to win the NFC West.
LAS VEGAS - The Super Bowl may have been less than a week ago, but that just means the offseason has already started for everyone now.
With teams already maneuvering for the 2021 season (bye bye, JJ Watt), odds are already up on the board for each division’s outcomes.
Perhaps the most intriguing division in the NFL is the NFC West, featuring the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. Each of these teams (with the possible exception of the Cardinals) has a legitimate argument for why they should be the favorite to win the division.
Here’s what the odds look like right now.
NFC West 2021 Division Winner
- Los Angeles Rams +160
- San Francisco 49ers +210
- Seattle Seahawks +270
- Arizona Cardinals +700
The Case For The LA Rams
The Rams made waves in the offseason already by trading for Matthew Stafford and getting rid of Jared Goff. Goff was clearly a limiting factor for this team, at one point being benched for John Wofford despite being available for the game.
Stafford certainly possesses a skillset that Goff does not, but integrating him into the offense could be a challenge.
That said, the Rams have tons of offensive weapons. Cooper Kupp was second in the league in yards after catch in 2020, Robert Woods is a legitimate threat, and Cam Akers looks to have a hold on the starting RB position.
The Rams should be able to pair an elite offense with a defensive unit that shut down Russell Wilson in the playoffs, which is a great start when it comes to winning any division.
The question for the Rams is whether they can put all the pieces together. They certainly have the talent, both on the field and on the sideline, but sometimes teams like this take time to gel. The Rams don’t have time. They need to win now, and the strength of the rest of their division makes that a tougher prospect than it should be.
Those betting on the Rams are really betting on Mathew Stafford to integrate into the offense well.
San Francisco 49ers, +210
The San Francisco 49ers have a very simple argument for why they should be considered a contender.
They were a Super Bowl team two years ago, and last year, they just got injured too badly to compete. Almost every important player on their team missed time in the 2020 season, a season that was marked by the team having to move to Arizona due to COVID-19.
Here’s a shortlist of players who missed time on the 49ers in the 2020 season:
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo
- DE Nick Bosa
- DL Solomon Thomas
- DE Dee Ford
- CB Richard Sherman
- TE George Kittle
- RB Raheem Mostert
- RB Tevin Coleman
- RB Jeff Wilson
- WR Brandon Aiyuk
- WR Deebo Samuel
Those are just the big names, but it’s impossible for any team to perform well when $80 million in cap space is out injured.
There are three major questions the 49ers need to answer.
Question 1: Can they stay healthy? The jury is clearly out on that. Question 2: Who will be under center? The 49ers may have made the Super Bowl with Jimmy Garoppolo, but as the Goff trade shows, making a Super Bowl doesn’t mean you can’t be upgraded.
The Niners have been linked to Texans QB Deshaun Watson and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins in trade talks.
Question 3: How do they replace all of their coaching talent?
List of #49ers coaches who departed this offseason:
Robert Saleh (HC Jets)
Mike LaFleur (OC Jets)
John Benton (OL Jets)
Aaron Whitecotton (DL Jets)
Tony Oden (CBs Jets)
Mike Rutenberg (LBs Jets)
Shane Day (QB/Pass game Chargers)
Michael Clay (ST Eagles)
— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) February 11, 2021
The Jets hired Robert Saleh as their head coach, and he brought over a lot of the 49ers defensive staff. Without Saleh, and without many of his disciples, will the 49ers defense be able to reach the level it was at in 2019?
Seattle Seahawks, +270
Remember Week 5? When the Seahawks were on top of the world, Russ was cooking, and they looked unstoppable? Well, it turns out, having one of the worst defenses in the history of the NFL will come back to bite you when the offense comes back down to earth.
For what it’s worth, the Seahawks defense actually did improve significantly in the later half of the season, but the offense fell off harder than the defense’s improvements could offset.
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) February 9, 2021
Russell Wilson has noted that he wants his voice to be heard more in personnel decisions with the Seahawks, and also noted his disappointment with how often he gets hit behind Seattle’s weak offensive line.
Russell Wilson to reporters today: “I love playing for Seattle. Loved it for years. You just never want to get hit. I've been sacked almost 400 times. We’ve got to get better. I’ve got to get better. ... I’m frustrated with getting hit too much.”
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) February 9, 2021
Wilson is not wrong, to be clear. Per PFF, he’s been hit 100 more times than any other QB since 2012.
Russell Wilson has been sacked 100 more times than any other QB since he entered the league in 2012 (441) pic.twitter.com/oz08ftC30p
— PFF (@PFF) February 9, 2021
The Seahawks appear to be the same team they always are - underperforming, over-relying on Russ, and putting him in bad situations. They have a lot of issues they need to fix, and they’re sitting at +270 solely on the talent of Wilson at this point.
While Wilson was dramatically worse during the second half of the season, his first half demonstrates the ability to play at an MVP level, and he’ll need to do that in order for anyone to want to bet on the Seahawks.
Arizona Cardinals, +700
Poor Cardinals. While every other team in the division has a genuine shot at winning it, the sportsbooks seem to have counted them out.
It’s less about them than it is about the other teams in the division. The Cardinals didn’t manage to make it this year, and the 49ers had a flukey injury season while the Rams still squeaked in above them.
They just don’t seem to have the horses to compete in this division to the degree that they need to in order to win it.
Kyler Murray was genuinely good, and Deandre Hopkins was one of the best receivers in the league, but outside of them there’s a lot of possible improvements on the roster.
One other question is how good of a coach Kliff Kingsbury actually is. Kingsbury is one of the coaches who is viewed as likely to lose his job next season.
There’s not much to say beyond that - the Cardinals don’t have the talent to compete, and they probably don’t have the coaching to compete either. Those planning on betting on the Arizona Cardinals may want to wait until the season begins before feeling confident putting money on them.
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Maxwell joined the BettingSuperBowl team in 2019 and is thrilled to be working for a website that so mirrors his interests. Maxwell is an avid follower of sports, a consumer of sports gambling news, and seeks to constantly better himself and his readers.