Packers favored at -145 in NFC North
Green Bay Packers -145
With the Aaron Rodgers offseason drama over, there is no doubt that the Packers are the favorites in the NFC North. The Packers offense should be able to pick up right where it left off.
According to Football Outsiders, the Packers’ offense finished 1st in DVOA. The majority of their offense is coming back, and they added Amari Rodgers in the third round of the NFL draft. He will bring the jet sweep dynamic that head coach Matt LaFleur loves to integrate into his offense.
The defense will be around league average, which should be good enough to lock first place in this division. [ Bet the Packers and check out a monster welcome bonus bet up to $1,000 when you check out FanDuel, one of three NFL sportsbooks chosen as partners with the NFL ]
Minnesota Vikings +250
If there is one team that can compete with the Packers for the division crown, it’s the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings upgraded their defense significantly this offseason, adding Patrick Petersen, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Sheldon Richardson.
They were the third most injured defense in the league, according to Football Outsiders. Danielle Hunter and Mike Pierce did not play a snap last year and are back fully healthy. The most significant setback for this team will once again be Kirk Cousins. He has shown he cannot lead a team very far. This will be his best chance to prove everybody wrong.
Chicago Bears +500
I cannot wrap my head around the Bears starting Andy Dalton over Justin Fields. Last season, Dalton finished 25th in QBR and EPA with the Dallas Cowboys, who have a tremendous supporting cast. What makes Matt Nagy think he will do better in Chicago?
Fields is the better quarterback, and I know it will be too late to save the season when Matt Nagy puts him in. The ceiling with Fields is a wildcard spot. The ceiling with Dalton is a bottom-five team in the league.
Detroit Lions +1900
The Lions have the second-worst odds to win a division, according to FanDuel, only behind the Houston Texans, who are at +2300 to win the AFC South.
The Lions are in transition mode. New head coach Dan Campbell will have his team playing hard every week, but this roster severely lacks talent. The Lions will be underdogs in every game they play this season.
NFC North Betting Prediction
If you want to get frisky, the Vikings at +250 isn’t a terrible bet. But the smart bet here is to take the Packers at -145. This is the Packers division to lose.
NFC North Divisional Betting Odds Preview archive piece from Sept. 5, 2020
Minnesota and Green Bay battled for the NFC North crown in 2019 and oddsmakers believe it will be more of the same in 2020.
Both the Vikings and Packers advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs last season, with the Packers earning a spot in the NFC Championship game. But did the front-runners do enough in free agency and the draft to stay ahead of the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears?
I think this division will drop off this season, as all four teams made questionable off-season decisions. There could be some good betting value on NFC North betting futures.
Minnesota Vikings (+160)
Minnesota’s effort to improve on their impressive 2019 season will have to happen without their 2019 Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski. He moved on to the merry-go-round known as the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching job.
Kirk Cousins will be minus his main deep threat from last year in Stefon Diggs was traded to the Buffalo Bills. The Vikings took wide receiver Justin Jefferson in the first round to play across from WR Adam Theilen, who aims to rebound after regressing from his breakout 2018 season. Dalvin Cook is back at practice after sitting out and hoping to come to terms on a new contract extension. They will be relying on him to pick up where he left off last season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Mike Zimmer will lead a defense that will look very different than it did last season. Veterans like Everson Griffin, Trae Waynes and Linval Joseph all moved on in free agency. The Vikings still have five-time Pro Bowler Harrison Smith at safety with a scary front seven. This defense should not skip a beat. The Vikings offense is a cause for concern. I believe the loss of Diggs has been an under-reported subject this off-season.