Sean Payton‘s return should mean a huge boost for the New Orleans Saints offense and franchise quarterback Drew Brees. Whether this spells a return to the NFC South throne is a great source for debate with Super Bowl contenders Atlanta Falcons along with sleepery upstart Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the division.
The bookmakers and public seem to have warmed up to this Payton returning idea, with Saints division and Super Bowl odds rising over the course of this offseason.
(The first number is from Aug. 24; the second in parenthesis from roughly three months ago to illustrate the change of perception over the offseason.)
Super Bowl Odds: 18-to-1 (20-to-1)
Division Title Odds: +170 (+160)
Season Win Total Line: 9 (9)
Late-May Snapshot: “Atlanta is getting a win total decrease from their No. 1-seed 2012 campaign down to just 10, and I’ve seen the Saints get +160 division title odds that rival the Falcons’ +110. The Super Bowl odds stack up similarly, with New Orleans at 20-to-1 and Atlanta at 18-to-1. So it seems New Orleans is getting a fair amount of respect in their attempted return to the postseason, if not quite being reappointed as division favorites,” I wrote earlier this offseason.
The Atlanta Falcons‘ Super Bowl odds have risen from 18 to 12-to-1 in the time since while New Orleans has edged up from 20 to 18-to-1. While New Orleans hasn’t made up ground when it comes to Super Bowl favorites, the division projections have the Saints inching closer and closer. New Orleans hasn’t made offseason gains in division title odds quite like the Panthers and Bucs, but they have received a +010 bump as Atlanta’s fallen from +110 to +140.