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June 26, 2018 Staff Writer

NFL News

2018 NFL Betting Futures: Rams Strong Favorites on the NFC West Odds

The Los Angeles Rams surprised many last year by easily winning the NFC West title with an 11-5 mark, finishing two games ahead of the Seattle Seahawks. This season, the Rams are strong -130 favorites (bet $130 to win $100) to repeat as division champions over the three other rebuilding teams, including the Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals.

Los Angeles had one of the most balanced squads in the NFL in 2017 with a strong offense and defense and improved on both sides of the ball this offseason in hope of making a run at the Super Bowl. Offensively, the Rams added two new wide receivers in Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. They also picked up defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters to make the defense even better. If third-year quarterback Jared Goff continues to make strides, then this team will have a solid shot to not only win the NFC West again but also go deep into the postseason.

The 49ers are listed as the +275 second choice (bet $100 to win $275), with most of the hype surrounding this team coming from one player – quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The fourth-year player went a perfect 5-0 after taking over as San Francisco’s starter following his trade from the New England Patriots, instantly upgrading the offense. While Garoppolo certainly looks like the real deal, questions remain about his supporting cast and how the defense stacks up against other teams in the division. Keep in mind, the 49ers went 1-10 in their first 11 games last year without him.

Despite taking a step back last year at 9-7, Seattle has still won the NFC West three of the previous five seasons with one of the most dynamic signal-callers in the league in Russell Wilson. The Seahawks may hold some value to win the division as the +400 third choice, but a lot of that obviously depends on how Wilson and their defense performs. Gone are defensive end Michael Bennett (Philadelphia Eagles) and cornerback Richard Sherman (San Francisco), two leaders who will be sorely missed. Tight end Jimmy Graham also signed with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent, so Wilson will need to find some other weapons that can help him out. One figures to be rookie running back Rashaad Penny, their first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Cardinals won the division in 2015 and enter this year as the longest shots to take home the NFC West title at +1200. With a new head coach in Steve Wilks and a new quarterback – likely veteran Sam Bradford over rookie Josh Rosen – Arizona will be hard-pressed to contend even after a solid 8-8 campaign in 2017. Bradford’s injury history is a major concern, but the Cardinals will also have Mike Glennon and Rosen in case he gets hurt again. Rosen appears to have a promising future as their first-round pick, and future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald can aid in his transition.