- The New Orleans Saints are sizable underdogs (+375) in the NFC South odds divisional market.
- Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are worthy favorites, but the -300 price might be too inflated.
- The Saints are the biggest NFC South market liability at the BetMGM online sportsbook.
Over the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ NFL betting lines for the 2022 season.
I wrote about the Bucs’ heavy price in the top-heavy NFC South.
I wrote about the Julio Jones addition.
I also wrote a longer piece about Tom Brady’s masterful understanding of the salary cap and how his team-friendly deals ultimately afforded his teams (both in New England and Tampa) a more competitive edge.
Tampa is a worthy favorite in the NFC South and remains a legitimate Super Bowl contender. However, one key element of the divisional discussion remains unsaid here.
Don’t we need to talk about the Saints?
New Orleans Saints NFC South Odds
I saw something this offseason in New Orleans that I thought was a bit peculiar.
With Sean Payton departing and an uneven quarterback room still trying to succeed Drew Brees, one might think the Saints’ leadership group would downplay their success in 2022.
I would expect some classic coachspeak. Something like: “Aww, shucks. We like our group, and we’ll take the season one game at a time.”
Then, bettors like me could run to their nearest sportsbook and hit the under on the Saints’ win total.
Instead, the Saints have repeatedly, vigorously reaffirmed throughout the offseason that they feel they will compete for the division title in 2022.
An unmistakable talent gap distinguishes the rosters in Tampa and New Orleans.
However, there’s also an unmistakable winning streak the Saints have piled up against the Bucs. New Orleans owns a seven-game regular-season winning streak against Tampa, dating back to 2018 – before Brady ever arrived as the helmsman at Raymond James Stadium.
Betting the Saints: Podcast Guest Isn’t Sold on New Orleans
Last week, I asked Bobby Thompson (Bucs Report) to talk about the NFC South odds market on my podcast, The Lion’s Edge Tampa is a pretty sizable (-300) favorite.
Thompson was steady in his confidence around Brady and the Bucs’ roster, even as he agreed with me that the price to bet Tampa was hefty.
“I’m just as shocked as you are [about the Bucs’ price],” Thompson said. “But this division is extremely, extremely weak.”
Thompson predicted a season split between the Bucs and Saints before summing up with a Bucs truism that’s hard to refute: “Any time your quarterback is Tom Brady, you’re the favorite to win the division.”
2022 Saints Predictions
Many advantage bettors may have a tough time laying -300 juice to buy an NFL team with a new head coach and a 45-year-old quarterback.
Thompson observed that the Bucs are the rightful favorite in the NFC South. However, with the Saints priced at +375, I can’t help but wonder if the divisional market has been skewed too far in the Bucs’ favor.
A price nearing 4-to-1 is lucrative for a team that’s continued to show year-to-year mastery over its key divisional opponent. Those head-to-head games matter in tight races.
The betting public at the BetMGM online sportsbook appears to agree with me, as more than half of the tickets in this market are backing New Orleans at a considerable number.
The Saints remain BetMGM’s largest liability in the NFC South.
Want to check out the full NFC South podcast with Bobby Thompson? Don’t forget to subscribe to The Lion’s Edge for intelligent, weekly insights into trends and betting tips across the online sports betting world. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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