NFC West Predictions 2018
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Arizona Cardinals – 2017 record (8-8) – ATS Record (6-9-1) – Over/Under Record (6-10)
- YPG Differential +3 / Yards Per Play Differential -0.2
- Point Differential -66 (15th in the NFC / 24th in the NFL)
- Turnover Differential -4 (23rd in the NFL)
2018 ASA prediction – Play OVER 5.5 Wins for Arizona Cardinals
We’re getting some nice value with the OVER for Arizona here. Last year they entered the season with a win total of 8 and the year before they were at 9.5. Last year this team won 8 games and while we expect a bit of a drop, we don’t look for it to be a full 3 games. Sam Bradford takes over at QB and if, yes if, he can stay healthy, we’re confident they will surpass the 18 PPG they put up last year. Back up Mike Glennon has plenty of starting experience if needed. Rookie Josh Rosen is highly touted (10th overall pick) and available if needed. We look at is this way, it can’t be any worse than last year’s QB situation with a banged up and over the hill Carson Palmer, Blaine Gabbert, and Drew Stanton splitting time. Arizona also gets top notch RB David Johnson back after he was injured in the season opener last year. Last year’s team put up enough offense to get to 8 wins and we feel this year they’ll do enough to get to at least 6. The defense is where this team will win games. They were very good last year ranking 4th in the NFL in both YPG allowed and YPP allowed. New head coach Steve Wilks has been a coach on the defensive side of the ball his entire career including the last 6 years with Carolina. That’s a Panther defense that finished in the top 10 in total defense in 5 of the 6 years that Wilks was there. You can expect another good stop unit in Arizona. We think Arizona gets enough out of their offense to finish 6-10.
Against The Spread Numbers
- If you happen to find Arizona as a home underdog you might want to jump on them. The Birds are 35-18-1 in that spot since 2003 – that includes a 31-24 SU record.
- However if they are a road underdog, consider staying away. They are just 40-51-1 ATS in that spot since 2003.
- Arizona is just 14-27 ATS (34%) as a favorite of -7 or more dating all the way back to 1980.
Los Angeles Rams – 2017 record (11-5) – ATS Record (9-7) – Over/Under Record (11-5)
- YPG Differential +22 / Yards Per Play Differential +0.5
- Point Differential +149 (2nd in the NFC / 4th in the NFL)
- Turnover Differential +7 (9th in the NFL)
2018 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 9.5 Wins for LA Rams
While the Rams had an outstanding 11 win season in 2017, we think they come into this year a bit overvalued. Their win total going into last year was set at 5.5 and now it’s a full 4 games higher at 9.5. The Rams offense made a ridiculous jump from dead last in the NFL in 2016 averaging 14 PPG to first in the NFL (basically tied with Pats and Eagles) at 29 PPG. While the offense will still be very good, we have to assume there will be a bit of a drop off after the huge jump last year. Jared Goff lost all 7 of his starts under center in 2016 and then looked fantastic last year. We expect him to come back toward the mean as well this year. The offensive line basically stayed injury free all last year which was huge. This year they already have a suspension for 2 games (starting guard) and many of their starters are getting up and age and despite last year, have been injury prone. LA went heavy on offensive linemen in the draft so many of their backups will be inexperienced. Basically everything worked out perfectly for the offense last year and we just don’t think that happens again. The defense was just OK in 2016. They were middle of the pack in YPG allowed and YPP allowed. Their run defense was among the worst in the NFL allowing 122 YPG. The schedule looks much more difficult this year with a brutal October slate (@ Seattle, @ Denver, @ San Fran, home vs Packers, and @ New Orleans in a 5 week span). The Rams won’t sneak up on anyone this year and we lean UNDER here.
Against The Spread Numbers
- The Rams have been an OVER team at home. They’ve rolled up 66 OVERS and just 51 UNDERS (2 ties) at home since 2003.
- The last 10 times that LA has been an underdog of 10 or more, their game has gone UNDER the total.
- The Rams have THE WORST spread record in the NFL since 2004 with a 96-127-4 ATS mark (43%).
San Francisco 49ers – 2017 record (6-10) – ATS Record (9-7) – Over/Under Record (8-8)
- YPG Differential -2 / Yards Per Play Differential +0.0
- Point Differential -52 (12th in the NFC / 19th in the NFL)
- Turnover Differential -3 (20th in the NFL)
2018 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 8.5 Wins for San Francisco 49ers (4.5 last year)
Another situation where a team’s win total has drastically changed in just one year. San Fran came into last season with a win total of 4.5 and now it’s up to 8.5. That number was heavily influenced by how the Niners ended the season with Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting QB. After starting the year 1-10, the 49ers closed out the year with 5 straight wins. Let’s not forget this team benefitted from their schedule down the stretch beating a bad Chicago team, a bad Houston team, beat Tennessee on a last second FG, and then topped the Rams who were sitting starters (including QB Goff) because their playoff slot was already locked in. Garoppolo was very solid but let’s not forget he has little experience as he had played in only 17 career games before coming to SF. Now he’ll have serious pressure on him to perform at a high level this year, something he’s never had to deal with. The defense was OK and they add CB Richard Sherman however he is past his prime. The schedule is very tough out of the game with 4 of their first 6 games on the road and not easy games (@ Vikings, @ Chiefs, @ Chargers, @ Packers). It’s very conceivable this team could get off to a slow start which could be a problem for an inexperienced QB. We expect San Francisco now that they have a solid QB under center but we also think it will take some time. Let’s not forget this team was just 2-24 their previous 26 games before Garoppolo took over so they have some holes in their roster. This year will still be a feeling out process and we don’t think this is a +.500 team.
Against The Spread Numbers
- San Fran is an imperfect 1-9 ATS the last 10 times they’ve been tabbed a favorite dating back to 2014.
- When playing other teams from the NFC West, the 49ers have been an UNDER play. Since 2006 they have had 43 UNDERS, 29 OVERS, & 1 tie vs division opponents.
- The UNDER is 18-8 the last 26 times that San Francisco has been tabbed as a favorite.
Seattle Seahawks – 2017 record (9-7) – ATS Record (6-9-1) – Over/Under Record (7-9)
- YPG Differential +7 / Yards Per Play Differential +0.3
- Point Differential +34 (7th in the NFC / 14th in the NFL)
- Turnover Differential +8 (8th in the NFL)
2018 ASA prediction – Play OVER 8 Wins for Seattle Seahawks (10.5 last year)
Many feel the Seahawks are in a downward trend, but remember they still have one of the best QB’s in the NFL and we feel that 8 wins is probably dead on. However, we also think they have a higher probability of getting to 9 wins rather than falling to 7 so a lean to the OVER for us. Speaking of Wilson, since he took over as the starter in 2012, the Seahawks have averaged just under 11 wins per season (10.8) with a low water mark of 9. We expect the running game to be better with an improved offensive line and the addition of rookie Rashaad Penny to go along with the return of Chris Carson from injury. The passing game will take a hit with TE Jimmy Graham moving to Green Bay but with Wilson at the helm we think they will be adequate offensively. The defense lost over the hill CB Richard Sherman but we look for Seattle to be solid on that side of the ball again. Last year they finished in the top 10 in PPG allowed for the 7th straight season. We look for Seattle to rely a bit more on the running game this year and lean on their defense once again. The Hawks have one of the best home field advantages in the NFL (43-10 record the last 6 years) so 6 or 7 wins @ home can be expected. A couple road wins and they should hit 8 at least and possibly 9 wins. Lean OVER here.
Against The Spread Record
- The Seahawks are 25-11-2 ATS their last 38 games as an underdog dating back to 2011.
- Since Russell Wilson took over at QB in 2012, the Hawks are 59-46-3 ATS overall which is the 5th best mark in the NFL during that span.
- Dating back to 2003, this Seattle team has the worst ATS record on the road coming in at just 55-71-2 (43%).