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Vegas Likes the Saints to Repeat as NFC South Champs in 2018 — But the Falcons? Not So Much….

The New Orleans Saints won the NFC South Division Championship for the first time in 4 years last season, and the oddsmakers out in Las Vegas apparently like the team's chances of repeating that feat once again during the upcoming 2018 NFL season later on this year.

According to the very latest odds released by Bovada Sports Book, New Orleans is +180 — or a 9-to-5 bet — to win the NFC South once again when play resumes for keeps, beginning on September 9th.

Photo courtesy of Scott Threlkeld, New Orleans Advocate

Here's what the casino's NFL analyst Stephen Campbell had to say about the Saints specifically, in his review of the division's 4 teams and each of one of their chances to win it outright.

"On the heels of three consecutive 7-9 campaigns, the Saints broke away from the doldrums of mediocrity and finished the regular season with an 11-5 record in 2017. New Orleans suffered a heartbreaker in the divisional round in a game it surely should’ve won against the Minnesota Vikings, however, as Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs on a last-second touchdown to give the Vikes a 29-24 win in what’s been dubbed the “Minnesota Miracle.”

"Don’t expect the Saints to let that disappointing finish slow them down, though. Besides, the Saints proved they’re a contender again after rallying to win 11 of their final 14 contests. New Orleans had a strong offseason, bringing in linebacker Demario Davis, tight end Benjamin Watson, safety Kurt Coleman, cornerback Patrick Robinson and guard Jermon Bushrod. The Saints’ vastly improved defense should be even better in 2018 and the emergence of the one-two running back punch of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram will continue to take more pressure off aging quarterback Drew Brees."

Unfortunately for the Saints' hated and despised arch-rival the Atlanta Falcons, Campbell and Bovada aren't as enthused about the dastardly Dirty Birds' chances of pulling off that similar type of feat in 2018 for themselves.

Bovada has the Falcons just slightly behind the Saints at +190 — or a 20-to-1 bet — to win the division and projects them to finish as the runner-up for the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Hinton, The New Orleans Advocate

Here's Campbell's take on the always-dangerous Falcons squad:

"After spending the offseason hearing all about their disastrous second half in Super Bowl 51, the Falcons were a puzzling team in 2017. Some games they looked like serious contenders, while looking lost on both sides of the ball in others. Atlanta did end up with a solid 10-6 record in the regular season, however, and beat the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round before falling 15-10 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round."

"Oddsmakers are clearly expecting the Falcons to return to form due to their +190 price to win the NFC South, but it’s the riskiest bet in the division, in my opinion. The offense took a major step back in offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s first year at the helm, and Adrian Clayborn, Dontari Poe and Taylor Gabriel departed the team in free agency. Quarterback Matt Ryan can only do so much to carry the franchise, and unless they bounce back in a major way this year, the Falcons’ competitive window may start to close sooner rather than later."

Campbell's projections appear to fall in line with several other early prognostications for the NFC South Division in 2018 that are currently out there among several different sites, which cover the sport.

Interestingly enough, he doesn't view the division's other Playoff team from last season — the Carolina Panthers — to have nearly as much of a chance to win the title as either the Saints or Falcons do.

Campbell has the Panthers at +290 — or a 30-to-1 bet — to win the division and projects them to finish as the 3rd place team for the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of The New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are projected to finish last, at +600 — or a 60-to-1 bet — to win the division and projects them to be a few years away still from becoming a serious contender.

(To read the entire Bovada Sports Book-Las Vegas NFC South odds for 2018, click HERE)......

Saints News Network Editor / Featured Columnist and Lead Analyst Barry Hirstius is a 50-year old semi-retired journalist and former New Orleans area sports editor and columnist previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints NFL football team. Additionally, he is a frequent guest on a variety of Sports Talk Radio programs that cover the Saints. Barry is also a New Orleans native that dating all the way back to his childhood in the early 1970's, attended games at the old Tulane Stadium and grew up as a long-time Saints fan; following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.......

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