The PointsBet win totals for NFC West teams has a tie at the top. And not between the teams that finished atop the division in 2020.
The Rams and 49ers both have over-under numbers of 10.5, in a 17-game season.
The 49ers are in the midst of figuring out their post-Jimmy existence. Will he be the quarterback in 2021, or will the starter be the third overall pick in the draft? After a disappointing 6-10 season in 2020, is there reason to think they’ll win at least five more games in 2021?
One reason to put the two teams at the same win total is this: The 17-game formula now entails three games that will vary based on placement in the division from the prior year. The Rams finished second in the NFC West, and the 49ers finished fourth. Where the Rams play the Giants, Buccaneers, and Ravens, the 49ers instead face the Eagles, Falcons, and Bengals.
For the Rams, it’s actually worse to have finished second than first, given that Seattle’s three corresponding games come against Washington, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh. Those three games could be regarded as, overall, easier than Giants, Bucs, Ravens.
The Seahawks still have a win projection of only nine, a surprising drop, given last year’s 12-4 finish. Maybe it’s premised in part on the possibility that Russell Wilson will be traded, which could spark a free fall in 2021. Or maybe the oddsmakers don’t believe in new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.
The Cardinals, a team that went 8-8 a year ago, have the lowest total in the division, with eight. This shows that the betting markets aren’t impressed with the upgrades the team has made, via the addition of J.J. Watt, A.J. Green, and Rodney Hudson. (The Cardinals also have lost Patrick Peterson, Haason Reddick, and perhaps Larry Fitzgerald.)
Again, I don’t bet. To me, the best bet for the NFC West as of right now seems to be the Rams, over 10.5.