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Examining the Over/Under 2018 Win Totals for the NFC South

Drew Brees

Drew Brees

The NFC South was the only division that produced three playoff teams last season. Defending champion New Orleans is looking to rebound after losing a heartbreaker in the Divisional Round in Minnesota. Carolina came close to knocking off the Saints on the road in the wild-card game while Atlanta stunned the Rams on the road and gave Philadelphia all it could handle before falling in the Divisional Round. This season, the NFC South could be decided by Tampa Bay and how the Buccaneers fare against their division mates. Let's take a look at the South Point sportsbook's win total numbers and see if there's any value in the over/under for each team.

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Atlanta Falcons

Over 9.5 wins EVEN...Under 9.5 wins -120

Offense: It's the usual suspects on this side of the ball for the most part. Matt Ryan has his deadly duo in the backfield of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Effective as both runners and receivers, they have been able to weather injuries and maintain decent production out of the backfield. Out wide it's Julio Jones, who got a raise this year as the team reworked his contract, and Mohamad Sanu. The big question will be is if Calvin Ridley can be effective and play well in his rookie season. He's got the measurables and should get favorable matchups sharing the field with Jones and Sanu. The offensive line also figures to be pretty strong although the right side could be an issue.

Defense: Losing Adrian Clayborn to the Patriots will hurt, but Vic Beasley led the league in sacks in 2016. Takkarist McKinley takes over for Clayborn and he had six sacks last season. The linebackers may not be well known, but Deion Jones was first alternate and went to the Pro Bowl in his second season. Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford are solid corners, but they need to pick up more interceptions. Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal are serviceable safeties with upside. 

Verdict: Atlanta kept the nucleus together for the most part and is hoping it can repeat last season's success. The problem is that most of the division also got better so it may not get any easier for the Falcons. They begin with the Eagles on the road before hosting the Panthers, Saints and Bengals. Atlanta also has to play at Pittsburgh and Green Bay this season. I think the over might be worth a look here at this price. 

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Carolina Panthers

Over 9 wins +120...Under 9 wins -140

Offense: Norv Turner takes over at offensive coordinator, replacing Mike Shula. Cam Newton needs to bounce back after throwing 16 interceptions as he has regressed since being named MVP in 2015. The coaching staff continues to say that they will pepper Christian McCaffrey with touches, but also don't want him to shoulder the load by himself. McCaffrey is a very good safety valve and he'll be backed up by veteran C.J. Anderson, who is replacing Jonathan Stewart. The wide receiving corps added Torrey Smith and first-round pick DJ Moore, and this group needs to take a step forward. Tight end Greg Olsen played in just seven games last season so his healthy return should give the offense a boost. 

Defense: The defense is going to be pretty stout especially if the key guys can stay healthy. Adding former Falcon Dontari Poe to this front line is almost unfair. He's going to help big time and hurt a divisional rival at the same time. Julius Peppers is back once again and he's about to suit up for his 18th season. There probably isn't a better linebacking group than Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson, but Kuechly needs to stay on the field. The secondary is the biggest question mark as the team hasn't been able to replace Josh Norman and could struggle covering top-flight receivers. 

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Verdict: This squad has an odd mix of older and younger players. Newton has to play better if Carolina hopes to repeat last season's success. A legitimate playmaker needs to emerge at wide receiver. The Panthers open with three of their first four at home, but also have road games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. They oddly play the Saints twice in the last three weeks. Nine is not a bad number, but I think the under is in play as well.

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New Orleans Saints

Over 9.5 wins -135...Under 9.5 wins +115

Offense: The Saints have done a good job of developing their ground game to take pressure off of Drew Brees, who is entering his 18th season. Mark Ingram is suspended for the first four games, so it will be the Alvin Kamara show early. Kamara is a game-changer out of the backfield, especially when you get him in the open field. Cameron Meredith signed in free agency and could be a nice sleeper after tearing his ACL last August. He'll join Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn and tight end Benjamin Watson as the primary pass catchers. The offensive line is pretty strong. 

Defense: Gone are the days when this side of the ball is a joke. They finished 10th in total defense as coordinator Dennis Allen has done big things here. Cameron Jordan is one of the top pass rushers and he has Sheldon Rankins opposite him, and the Saints hoping for big things from first-round pick Marcus Davenport. The linebacking unit could be better with Demario Davis signing in free agency. The secondary is led by Marshon Lattimore and Patrick Robinson, who won a Super Bowl with the Eagles last season. Kurt Coleman patrols the safety position along with Marcus Williams. 

Verdict: New Orleans went 11-5 last season and has Super Bowl aspirations in 2018. The Saints have one of the best home-field advantages in football and get the Rams, Eagles and Steelers in the Superdome. The toughest stretch is Weeks 3-8 with four road games in that span. The money move is probably right as I lean to the over as well.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Over 6 wins -130...Under 6 wins +110

Offense: Jameis Winston will be suspended the first three games so it's Ryan Fitzpatrick's team early on. When Winston does return, he'll have Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin as his primary wide receivers as well as the tight end tandem of Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Doug Martin is now in Oakland, so the backfield touches will be split between Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie Ronald Jones II. The offensive line could be a weak spot. 

Defense: Tampa Bay continues to think that free agency is the way to fix the defense and we'll see if it eventually pays off. Beau Allen and Vinny Curry come over after winning a Super Bowl with Philadelphia while former Giant Jason Pierre-Paul was acquired via trade. I'm interested to see what Vita Vea can do at defensive tackle in his rookie season. Linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander had health issues last year and need to stay healthy. The secondary was awful last year and will be led by veterans Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes with several rookies figuring to play a lot of snaps. This is not the division to be in with a shaky secondary.

Verdict: Dirk Koetter needs a good showing in 2018 because his seat has to be really hot after going 14-18 his first three years. Tampa Bay hosts Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in September, but follow that up with a stretch of four out of five on the road in Weeks 4-9 (with a bye included). It could be a really rough year in Tampa Bay. The under may be worth a look at this price.

-- Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.