NFC West Betting: Will the 49ers Cruise to a Division Title?

Austan Kas
Austan Kas@AustanKas

With training camps underway and the first preseason game taking place tonight, now is a great time to dive into the robust futures markets via the NFL odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Here, I'm going to focus on the NFL division winner odds, but FanDuel Sportsbook offers other intriguing markets such as NFL win totals and odds to make the NFL playoffs for all 32 teams -- in addition to a slew of NFL player props.

Let's take a look at the NFC West.

NFC West Odds
San Francisco 49ers-165
Seattle Seahawks+200
Los Angeles Rams+1000
Arizona Cardinals+2700

San Francisco 49ers 2023 Outlook

Projected Win Total: 10.5 (-142 on the over)
Odds to Make the Playoffs: -430
Odds to Win the NFC West: -165
Odds to Win the NFC: +400
Odds to Win the Super Bowl: +1000 (fifth-best)

The San Francisco 49ers enter 2023 as the class of the NFC West and are one of the league's legit Super Bowl contenders, sporting the fifth-best odds to win it all (+1000). No team in the NFL is more of a favorite to win its division than the Niners are to win the NFC West (-165). Only one other squad -- the Jacksonville Jaguars at -155 -- is better than -115 to win its division.

San Francisco entered last year as a team that was elite everywhere but quarterback. They might be elite there now with Brock Purdy, who ended his rookie year with a clip of 8.6 adjusted yards per attempt, a number that would've ranked second among all signal-callers if he recorded enough pass attempts to qualify. If Purdy can repeat what he did as a rookie, San Fran will be one of the very best teams in the league.

The Niners -- who paced the NFL in point differential a year ago (+173) -- are set pretty much everywhere else. On offense, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Christian McCaffrey give the 49ers an elite cast of weapons. Defensively, the Niners gave up the sixth-fewest yards per play last year (5.0), and while they'll need to do it in 2023 sans coordinator DeMeco Ryans, San Francisco added defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to strengthen an already stout defensive front.

If there's one potential trouble area for this team, it's likely the offensive line. Mike McGlinchey left in free agency, and PFF slots the 49ers just 18th in its offensive line rankings. But that goes to show how excellent this roster is -- a position group that is roughly league average looks like a black sheep.

This team is a machine, and I'm not sure what can slow them down. Even if Purdy takes a step back, the 49ers are good enough everywhere else that they should still be one of the NFL's premier teams. The schedule helps, too, as it's the fourth-easiest going by 2023 win totals.

San Francisco is +400 to win the NFC and -430 to make the playoffs, both of which rank as the second-best odds in those markets.

Seattle Seahawks 2023 Outlook

Projected Win Total: 8.5 (-142 on the over)
Odds to Make the Playoffs: -122
Odds to Win the NFC West: +200
Odds to Win the NFC: +1300
Odds to Win the Super Bowl: +3500 (15th-best)

The Seattle Seahawks were one of the surprise teams in the NFL last year, and a lot of it had to do with Geno Smith, who thrived with his chance under center. Geno ended 2022 ranked fifth in passer rating (100.9), sixth in QBR (60.8) and eighth in adjusted yards per attempt (7.7). He was really dang good, helping Seattle reach the postseason, and Smith parlayed his superb campaign into a three-year extension.

The problem for the Seahawks last year was on defense, as they permitted the 12th-most yards per play (5.5). They attempted to address that need this offseason with two key additions, signing defensive end Dre'Mont Jones and drafting corner Devon Witherspoon with the fifth overall pick.

Seattle didn't stop there, getting some help on offense, too, by using its second first-rounder to nab Jaxon Smith-Njigba at 20th overall. JSN, Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf give the 'Hawks a nasty WR trio.

If Geno maintains his 2022 level of play and the additions to Witherspoon and Jones give Seattle a boost on D, the Seahawks can challenge the Niners in the NFC West.

Oddsmakers are a little tepid, though, listing Seattle at +200 to win the division and just -122 to make a return trip to the playoffs. But in an NFC that appears to be wide open outside of San Fran, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, the Seahawks are capable of being a dangerous team.

Los Angeles Rams 2023 Outlook

Projected Win Total: 6.5 (-134 on the under)
Odds to Make the Playoffs: +285
Odds to Win the NFC West: +1000
Odds to Win the NFC: +3500
Odds to Win the Super Bowl: +6500 (seventh-worst)

We see it every year -- things can change in a hurry in the NFL. Very few teams epitomize that as perfectly as the Los Angeles Rams did in 2022. A year after winning the Super Bowl, the Rams bottomed out, going 5-12 with a -77 point differential that was the fifth-worst in the NFL.

Injuries were definitely an issue, with Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford all missing significant time.

It wasn't all bad luck, though -- far from it. Even when Stafford played, he struggled, tossing just 10 TDs with eight picks across nine games and ranking 29th in average target depth (6.9 yards). The flaws in LA's top-heavy roster got exposed in 2022.

This offseason, the Rams didn't spend more than $4.7 million on any one move in free agency, and oddsmakers aren't banking on a bounce-back season. Just 12 months after they went into the 2022 campaign looking like one of the NFL's elite, the Rams have a win total of 6.5 (with -143 on the under). It's tied for the second-lowest win total in the league. They're +285 long shots to make the playoffs and +1000 to win the division.

There's still talent on this roster, and we know Sean McVay is a good coach. With some better injury luck, the Rams have a chance to be more competitive in 2023 than they were a year ago. But oddsmakers are pretty sure LA's title window with this current group is shut.

Arizona Cardinals 2023 Outlook

Projected Win Total: 4.5 (-120 on the under)
Odds to Make the Playoffs: +980
Odds to Win the NFC West: +2700
Odds to Win the NFC: +8500
Odds to Win the Super Bowl: +18000 (T-worst)

All signs point to this being a rough year for the Arizona Cardinals.

Their win total of 4.5 is the lowest in the league and has a -120 lean on the under. They are tied for the worst Super Bowl odds (+18000) and are also listed at huge numbers to make the playoffs (+980) and win the NFC West (+2700).

Star quarterback Kyler Murray is coming off a torn ACL and doesn't have a clear timetable for his return. Even when Kyler was healthy last year, the Cards struggled -- going 3-7 in games he started and finished -- and once Murray went out, Arizona lost its four remaining games.

Arizona enters the year ranked next to last in PFF's O-line rankings and was 12th-worst in yards per play allowed on D last year (5.5). You don't get a win total of 4.5 if you have a lot of things going for you.

With not much to look forward to in 2023, the Cardinals have no reason to rush Murray back from injury, and with a first-year head coach in Jonathan Gannon, the Cards may be taking a long-term approach to things. That's also supported by their draft-day trade with the Houston Texans -- a deal where Arizona traded the No. 3 overall pick for No. 12 and Houston's 2024 first-rounder (along with a swap of later-round selections) -- a move that could prove very fruitful if Houston struggles this season.

There is one market where Arizona is a big favorite -- they're +250 to have the worst record. No other team has odds shorter than +950.

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.