San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) throws a pass as Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Demone Harris (96) pressures during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn, File)
- The NFL season opens Thursday night with the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers host the Cowboys
- The Chiefs are the biggest division favorites at -290 to win the AFC West
- A look at all the division odds along with analysis can be found below
The NFL season kicks off Thursday night when the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys.
Both the Buccaneers (NFC South) and Dallas Cowboys (NFC East) are favored in the 2021 NFL Divisional odds. Other favorites include the Buffalo Bills (AFC East), Baltimore Ravens (AFC North), Tennessee Titans (AFC South), Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West), Green Bay Packers (NFC North), and San Francisco 49ers (NFC West).
Let’s look at all the division odds with the start of the season just hours away.
2021 NFL Divisional Odds
|New England Patriots||+360|
|New York Jets||+1800|
|Kansas City Chiefs||-290|
|Los Angeles Chargers||+490|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+1700|
|Washington Football Team||+220|
|New York Giants||+430|
|Green Bay Packers||-165|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-240|
|New Orleans Saints||+440|
|San Francisco 49ers||+190|
|Los Angeles Rams||+200|
Odds as of September 9th at FanDuel
49ers Overtake Rams in NFC West
The only division in which the favorite has changed since the odds were first posted in February is the NFC West.
The San Francisco 49ers (+190) are now slight choices over the Los Angeles Rams (+200) to capture the division title. The Rams opened as the favorite at +165, and the 49ers were second at +200.
Both the 49ers and Rams made big offseason moves to add quarterbacks. San Francisco traded three first-round draft picks to move up to No. 3 and select Trey Lance from North Dakota State while the Rams pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Detroit Lions to acquire Matthew Stafford.
— NFL (@NFL) September 1, 2021
Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers to the Super Bowl following the 2019 season and remains the starting QB – for now. However, coach Kyle Shanahan plans to also use Lance at times, primarily to run read-option plays.
Stafford gives the Rams the big arm coach Sean McVay has been seeking. While Jared Goff took the Rams to the Super Bowl three years ago, he has since regressed and was exiled to the Lions.
Can’t wait to see the Matthew Stafford sidearm in LA 🔥 (via @thecheckdown)
— NFL (@NFL) September 3, 2021
This is a tight division race from top to bottom in the eyes of the oddsmakers. The defending champion Seattle Seahawks are at +270, and the Arizona Cardinals’ odds are +600.
A defense led by tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey tips the scales slightly to the Rams. However, if you are looking for value, the Cardinals are an intriguing choice as quarterback Kyler Murray appears poised for a breakout season in his third year in the NFL.
Chiefs Big Favorites in AFC West
The Kansas City Chiefs are the biggest favorites on the board at -290 to win the AFC West for a sixth consecutive season.
The Chiefs have been to the Super Bowl the last two seasons. However, after winning two years ago, they lost 31-9 to Tampa Bay this past February as quarterback Patrick Mahomes was continually under duress from the Buccaneers’ pass rush.
The Chiefs offensive lineman has undergone a complete overhaul after left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was brought in from the Baltimore Ravens in a trade and left guard Joe Thuney was signed as a free agent. They will be joined by three rookies in center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith and right tackle Lucas Niang.
Joe Thuney leads the way for the BIG Sony Michel run 😤pic.twitter.com/VsmtUYPPXb
— PFF (@PFF) December 29, 2020
Mahomes will be complemented by plenty of playmakers in wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. If the line is even adequate, the Chiefs should score plenty of points and outdistance the rest of the field in the division.
The Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Las Vegas Raiders all look improved. So, while the Chiefs are still the pick, there is enough of a chance of another team knocking them off their perch to give them little value at -290.
NFC Least Teams Bunched Up
The most wide-open division is expected to be the NFC East. Of course, that doesn’t mean it will be the best division after the Washington Football Team finished in first place last season with a losing record at 7-9.
The Dallas Cowboys are the favorites at +150. However, the Philadelphia Eagles’ odds are just +450 despite being projected to finish in last place.
The biggest reason the Cowboys are favored is the return of quarterback Dak Prescott, who fractured his ankle in Week 5 last season and missed the rest of the year. He has plenty of firepower around him with running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup.
Reminder: Before last year’s injury, @Dak was dominating. 📈📈📈
— NFL (@NFL) September 9, 2021
However, the Cowboys needed to bring in former Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn as coordinator to fix a defense that gave up 29.6 points a game last season.
Washington won the division a year on the strength of a defense that includes star linemen Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, and Daron Payne.
Ageless quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was signed as a free agent. He is being counted on bolster an offense that has emerging stars in wide receiver Terry McLaurin and running back Antonio Gibson.
Every morning I wake up and pray to the fantasy football gods for Antonio Gibson to get 80+ targets in 2021pic.twitter.com/91Tr2pdkqQ
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) September 7, 2021
It’s a make-or-break season for New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, while Jalen Hurts is now the unquestioned starter at QB for the Eagles following the offseason trade of Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts.
With Fitzpatrick stabilizing the offense, though, Washington looks like a good value bet at +220 to repeat.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.