Initially, I wanted to start this series before the 2021 draft, but I decided against it – and I’m happy I did. There were surprising draft picks that definitely shifted the lines for the futures bets. Now that draft night has passed, let’s break down the odds for each NFL team to win and evaluate any value tied to them. This week we discuss the NFC North Division. These lines will be pulled from William Hill unless noted otherwise. For reference – here’s how each team finished the 2020 regular season:
Green Bay Packers: 13-3
Minnesota Vikings: 7-9
Chicago Bears: 8-8
Detroit Lions: 5-11
Packers Odds to Win the NFC North Division: -135
It’s not a surprise to see Green Bay the favorites to win the division next season. Aaron Rodgers was the MVP and for good reason. He and Davante Adams dominated the NFC North through the air last year. They didn’t just do it with the passing game either. Aaron Jones destroyed teams on the ground; they were unstoppable. Despite all this offensive firepower, they are only -125. This is no doubt due to the rumors circulating about Aaron Rodgers and his potential departure. Word on the street is that the Jeopardy! host is extremely unhappy with the way the organization has built the roster in recent years. For context, Green Bay has drafted defensive players in nine of the last ten drafts. The exception – Jordan Love. If I were Rodgers – I’d also be pissed.
Is There Any Value?
As of right now, Aaron Rodgers’ status in Green Bay is truly questionable. He’s reportedly telling teammates not to expect him next year. With that being said – RUN to the books to place this wager. If Aaron Rodger ends up staying put in Green Bay, this shoots up to -200 easy. It’s not as great as last year’s line, which was set at +140, but there’s a ton of value in this offensive unit overall. Nick Foles won the Eagles a championship for crying out loud. I think we can all agree that Fields has more upside. Not to mention the competition for the Packers hasn’t changed much at all from last year. It may have actually become worse (I’m looking at you, Jared Goff).
Vikings Odds to Win the NFC North Division: +275
The Vikings are the second favorite to win the NFC North. With top playmakers in Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, and Adam Thielen – this isn’t much of a surprise. Cousins has some serious weapons at his disposal but is still just a mediocre quarterback. In recent news, the Vikings revealed they were targeting Justin Fields in the draft but never pulled the trigger. If Minnesota had drafted Fields, I don’t think this line changes much. Looking back at the Vikings’ defense last season, it was below average. Maybe they address it in the offseason, but if not, Cousins will have to play superhero with his sidekicks to have any chance of winning this division.
Is There Any Value?
For the Vikings to win enough games to win this division, they’re going to have to duplicate what they did last year to win games: ride Dalvin Cook and hope that their defense can make the key stops. The issue here is that – despite Justin Jefferson absolutely exploding his rookie year and Dalvin Cook finishing second in most yards – the team still finished below .500. I think there’s some regression coming from these two star players, and that means I would have to bet on Cousins to be the deciding factor. Right now, save your cash and choose another team with these odds. However, if Rodgers heads out west – this is the team to target if the line is right.
Bears Odds to Win the NFC North Division: +360
Andy Dalton really didn’t believe he was going to be on the first team week one of the 2021 season, did he? The Bears got their franchise quarterback in Justin Fields, and Chicago fans can take a much-needed sigh of relief. The Bears have a respectable offense with standout running back David Montgomery and their star receiver Allen Robinson. Last year, this team was anchored by one of the top defensive units in the league. If the Bears can improve with Fields (they will) and Mack and this defense can replicate last year’s performance, this will be the team to watch.
Is There Any Value?
This is my favorite team to take a shot on in the NFC North. Justin Fields falling to the Bears was an absolute game-changer for Chicago. Fields has a ton of upside and pairing with a receiver like Robinson could allow him to reach that potential. It also doesn’t hurt when you have the top defensive units in the league. To be honest, if Fields just plays game manager and they ride the run game all season, they could definitely win the division.
Detroit Lions Odds to Win the NFC North Division: +2000
The Lions and Rams decided to do a quarterback switcheroo in the off-season. The Lions will have a young, fresh face in Jared Goff and a TON of draft capital for the next few years. Looking at the Lions’ offense from last year, they no doubt have a couple of emerging stars. D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson are the most noteworthy offensive players who will be suiting up each week. Swift looked like the real deal when he was allowed to touch the ball, and Hockenson looked like a baby Gronk out there. But other than these two players – that’s really it. Detroit’s defense was a liability last year, and I don’t see much of an improvement.
Is There Any Value?
Maybe $5 at the most. Seriously, I wouldn’t waste your money. This is a team in a rebuilding phase, and they will be lucky to win more than five or six games. Instead, save whatever money you were considering and just throw it on the Bears to win. It doesn’t matter what color jersey Jared Goff wears – he’s still Jared Goff. Teams are going to be scoring points in bunches against this soft defense, and I wouldn’t feel great betting on Jared Goff to carry the team.
The NFC North could look a lot different if Rodgers leaves. My favorite value plays in this division are Green Bay and the Bears. The other two teams have some tempting odds tied to them, but don’t fall for them. I’ll be discussing much better value plays leading up to the training camp – stay tuned. In the meantime, if you need gambling advice, check out our TomBox sports betting algorithm.