For the first time in quite a while, there are legitimate expectations in Atlanta for the Falcons to make the playoffs.
The club worked with one arm tied behind its back when building the roster over the first two seasons of the new regime’s tenure. Marred by the mistakes of former leadership, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith dealt with record-breaking dead cap figures and still went 14-20.
Now, the roster is in a more competitive place. Spending hundreds of millions this offseason to bolster both sides of the ball, Arthur Blank is surely expecting better results than 7-10.
However, Vegas oddsmakers don’t see it the same way Falcons fans do. The Dirty Birds have been behind their arch rivals from New Orleans in odds to win the NFC South. Wherever you look, the Saints are the betting favorites to secure the division and punch their ticket to the postseason.
Interestingly though, the odds have continued to shift throughout the offseason. Prior to the NFL Draft, the Falcons’ win total was 7.5 games, and they were +300 to take the NFC South. Shortly after, Atlanta’s win total rose to 8.5 games with +250 odds to win the division.
Presently, those odds have got even shorter for the Falcons to take the South, which doesn’t make much sense because there haven’t been any notable developments inside Flowery Branch. It makes more sense when you learn that Atlanta is the most bet team with the highest handle to take the division, forcing oddsmakers to cover their liability.
Odds to win NFC South at @BetMGM
— John Ewing (@johnewing) July 19, 2023
Those numbers are actually even more skewed today. According to BetMGM, the Falcons’ handle is over 50% with the next closest being the Saints at 28%. Interestingly, the percentage of tickets between the two clubs is closer — 40% for Atlanta and 33% for New Orleans. After opening with the third-best odds to take the division, the Falcons are quickly rising.
A lot of bettors see Atlanta winning the division for the first time since 2016 and returning to the postseason for the first time since 2017. Las Vegas doesn’t want to see Arthur Smith’s squad win the NFC South.
Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire