Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half in the NFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFC North Odds

Vikings favored in odds to win NFC North

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.

Green Bay Packers (+180)

There was no shortage of controversy in Green Bay this offseason. The Packers traded up and drafted quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick, sparking talk that Aaron Rodgers’ time in Green Bay might be coming to an end. That earned them an ‘F’ in our annual NFL Draft Grades.

Green Bay is standing pat on offense with the only significant change in Devin Funchess, who opted out, leaving Rodgers with familiar offensive personnel. Additionally, there are  changes at Right Tackle and Tight End.

On defense, Blake Martinez and Christian Kirksy moved on in free agency, leaving the existing core to shoulder the responsibility on defense. In 2019, free agent signees Zadarious Smith and Preston Smith carried this defense.

Green Bay was incredibly lucky last year. Football Outsiders had them at 10th in overall efficiency, meaning they were more of a 10-6 team than a 13-3 team. I would fade them.

Chicago Bears (+380)

Let the Nick Foles Era in Chicago begin. Maybe. The Chicago Bears traded a fourth-round pick this offseason to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Foles, who was supposed to take the reins from Mitchell Trubisky, except nobody told Trubisky who won the starting job. HC Matt Nagy will look to get some spice going in this offense. They brought in speedster Ted Ginn Jr and Tight End Jimmy Graham to help an offense that finished 25th in offensive efficiency last season.

On defense, this team could be back to 2018 form. Robert Quinn was their big-ticket free agent this offseason, and he will look to keep some pressure off of Khalil Mack. The Bears seem like a boom or bust team in 2020. Their defense will keep them in games all year, however it will take a resurgent Trubisky (or Foles) to lead them to the NFC North crown.

Detroit Lions (+600)

Matt Patricia is on the hot seat this season, after going 9-22-1 in his first two seasons. Former players like Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs have been vocal about their dislike for the head coach since leaving Detroit.

The Lions offense will be led by Matthew Stafford, who is coming off a back injury that ended his 2019 season after eight games. He will have his two favorite targets back in Kevin Galloday and Marvin Jones.

The Lions defense will look to improve on a very disappointing 2019. Their defense ranked 28th in efficiency last season and have not improved since Patricia’s heralded arrival from New England. Third-overall pick Jeffrey Okudah will look to replace Darius Slay, who was traded this off-season.

Matthew Stafford will have to be great for this team to have a decent shot in 2020. He has the talent on offense around him to make a case for a much improved season. At 6-1, it doesn’t seem like enough value to bet the Lions.

NFC North odds prediction

This division is a lot closer than people may think. Green Bay and Minnesota stood their ground this off season and failed to improve their rosters (on paper anyway). The Lions and Bears, on the other hand, acquired pieces that should bolster their chances. If you are  looking to take a big swing on division futures, take a gamble on the Bears at +380, who could make some noise in this division.

Brenden Deeg is from Ajax, Ontario and has been an NFL writer for over 5 years. Brenden has contributed to FanSided and 4th and Jawn. Brenden also played Defensive Line at York University, in Toronto Canada. Brenden is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and active in the Philadelphia Eagles twitter community. You can follow his personal account here @eaglestalk_  He can reached at Brenden.Deeg@NationalFootballPost.com