NFL Betting Preview
Odds to Win
The Packers finally have some competition in the NFC North after winning every year from 2011 to 2014. The Vikings didn’t exactly come out of nowhere last season, but they were +600 to win the division if that says anything about Green Bay’s dominaNCe. But even with Minnesota expected to be better, Green Bay is still a decent-sized favorite to take the North.
Odds to win NFC North
courtesy of 5Dimes
Green Bay Packers -155 (field wins +135)
Minnesota Vikings +200
Chicago Bears +1050
Detroit Lions +1125
Now is a good time to bet against the Green Bay Packers, right? Well, after losing the division last season, maybe it is. But, maybe not. The return of Jordy Nelson to the receiving corps could be everything for this offense and Aaron Rodgers. And then there’s no way Eddie LAcy can be as bad as he was a year ago. With a slimmer figure, he could be back to his levels of 2014 when he rolled for 13 touchdowns. Defense is the biggest question with B.J. Raji walking away from the sport and Casey Hayward moving on. Yes, they still have plenty of talent, but maybe not at the same level as a year ago. But this team goes as the offense does and they should be back to elite levels with Nelson in tow.
That said, the Minnesota Vikings wouldn’t surprise anyone if they won the division again. Teddy Bridgewater is in his third season and bigger things are expected from the offense. They added experieNCe on the line with Alex Boone and Andre Smith, but also another receiver in rookie LAquon Treadwell. Combine that with another year for speedy Stefon Diggs and veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph, and Bridgewater is almost guaranteed to surpass last year’s totals. And then of course Adrian Peterson is still around as well as solid backups led by Jerick McKinnon. Defensively, the Vikings could be even better than 2015 when they were one of the best units in the league. They added safety Michael Griffin, but a lot of their guys are super young, a result from solid drafts over the last few years. With logical improvement, there’s no reason the Vikings shouldn’t have almost equal odds with the Packers, outside of having to play the Panthers instead of the Falcons.
No one has much faith in the Chicago Bears, but they still surpassed expectations last year with six wins. In turn, their odds are a lot better this season than last to win the North. And most of that has to do with an improved defense. They were terrible to say the least a year ago, but added linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman, both expected starters. Akiem Hicks should help along the line and first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd could make an impact with limited time. The offense could be a problem though, with Adam GAse gone and Matt Forte moving to New York. The system should be similar for Jay Cutler, but being more consistent may come down to how good Kevin White is after missing all of last year.
And just like that, the Detroit Lions are oNCe again predicted to finish in the basement of the division. That’s the kind of power Calvin Johnson holds. But it’s not the offense that has the issues, it’s the defense. The Lions GAve up 400 points last year and didn’t do much to get better. The hope is that DeAndre Levy returns at linebacker, but his situation is still in the air after missing all of last season. Sure, they have some playmakers, but no more than a year ago. The offense should be fine with Matthew Stafford still in charge and he was much better when Jim Bob Cooter took over as coordinator in the second half of the year. MeGAtron will be missed, but Golden Tate is still there to go with Marvin Jones, Anquan Bolding and Eric Ebron. Running back Ameer Abdullah should be more effective in his second year.
This looks like a battle between Minnesota and Green Bay as Chicago and Detroit both have major flaws on the defensive side. The Packers are the favorite, but it feels like the Vikings are getting overshadowed for some reason, despite winning last year. Part of that is because the Packers are more of a public team. That only means the Vikings are getting good value right now.