Before the 2021 NFL Draft, the online sportsbook posted regular-season win totals for each team. Those odds came down on Draft Day, but now that the selections have been finalized and the schedule released, NFL regular-season win totals are back. Here’s what’s changed on NFC South odds.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-175)
- April 24: 11½ -125o/-105u
- May 17: 11½ -135/+105
The Bucs are returning all 22 starters from their Super Bowl-winning season. So, their draft was never going to impact their fortunes much.
Tampa Bay drafted OLB Joe Tryon with its first-round pick, who gives the Bucs defense a versatile option. Even though Tom Brady’s performances have defied Father Time, the Bucs still felt the need to take the long view in the second round. They drafted Florida QB Kyle Trask who should eventually take over the reins from Brady, but certainly not this season.
The public is betting on the Bucs to cover their win total more than they were a few weeks ago because of their schedule. Tampa Bay’s biggest competitor in the NFC South is a Saints team that just lost its franchise QB Drew Brees to retirement. The Bucs have the fourth-least difficult schedule heading into 2021 and should be atop their division once again.
New Orleans Saints (+250)
- April 24: 9 -115o/-115u
- May 17: 9 -125/-105
The Saints have had a difficult offseason. They Brees to retirement and multiple starters due to salary cap constraints. They didn’t necessarily have a flashy draft but were able to fill some needs.
New Orleans drafted Houston DE Payton Turner in the first round, which was viewed as a reach by some analysts. The Saints managed to address positions of need in the second and third rounds, taking Ohio State LB Pete Werner and Stanford CB Paulson Adebo, respectively. New Orleans took a QB in round four in Notre Dame’s Ian Book. Following the draft, New Orleans signed DT Lorenzo Neal, Jr., the son of former Saints FB Lorenzo Neal.
I’m wary of this positive line change but the Saints 2021 opponents did combine for just a .483 winning percentage last season. With a quarterback situation featuring stopgap solutions in Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, I’m hesitant to bet with the public here.
Atlanta Falcons (+700)
- April 24: 7½ -105o/-125u
- May 17: 8 Ev/-130
This is a significant positive line move and perhaps it’s because the Falcons drafted a guy who has been getting Hall of Fame hype before taking an NFL snap. Fourth overall selection Kyle Pitts became the highest-drafted TE in NFL history and he’ll immediately make the Falcons a better offensive football team.
In eight games in 2020, Pitts caught 12 TDs and totaled 770 receiving yards on 43 receptions. Taking Pitts sent a clear signal that Atlanta is rolling with Matt Ryan, putting the trade rumors to bed. This will be an absolutely dangerous passing offense with Pitts, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley.
The Falcons also have the third-least difficult schedule based on their opponents’ 2020 records. Although the highest-ranked safety in the draft, Trevon Moehrig, was still on the board at No. 40, I liked that the Falcons addressed a big need at safety and took Richie Grant. I’m inclined to take the over, even with significant line movement already.
Carolina Panthers (+850)
- April 24: 7½ -115o/-115u
- May 17: 7½ Ev/-130
The Panthers were busy before the draft, trading for former Jets QB Sam Darnold in early April. On April 28, they traded 2020 starting QB Teddy Bridgewater to the Broncos, clearing the path for Darnold to be their guy.
The Panthers were tied for the most selections in the 2021 draft, with 11, but it appears that the public isn’t convinced that their haul improves the team. With the eighth pick, the Panthers were the first team to select a defensive player. They took South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn, an aggressive in-your-face corner. In the second round, Carolina gave Darnold a weapon in WR Terrace Marshall, Jr. The Panthers rounded out their depth with selections like T Brady Christensen, TE Tommy Tremble, and RB Chuba Hubbard.
It’s unclear how Darnold will perform with his new team but he was never given a fair shot with a bad Jets roster surrounding him. I’m personally steering clear of this line but I do think the under is more likely than the over.