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Thanks to Rodgers Injury, Vikings are Heavy Faves to Claim NFC North

Chances are, if you bet the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC North at the beginning of the year, you’re not a very happy person right now. Thanks to the potentially season-ending injury to star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have fallen way down odds lists heading into Week 8.

At Bovada, the Minnesota Vikings are the new favorites to win the NFC North at a steep price of -250. Detroit (+400), Green Bay (+650) and Chicago (+1200) are all available in plus-money at the shop.

As of October 25, the Vikes held sole possession of first place in the division at 5-2 SU, with the Packers (4-3), Lions (3-3) and Bears (3-4) behind them. Even with an uncertain quarterback situation, the Vikings have relied on a stellar defense to get them by so far and are looking like a serious contender in the NFC.

Speaking of quarterbacks, remember Teddy Bridgewater? After going down with a brutal knee injury in the 2016 preseason, Bridgewater is reportedly inching closer to a return and could be set to regain his job as starting quarterback in the coming weeks.

Case Keenum has done an admirable job filling in, but he’s not the type of signal-caller who’s going to make a difference come playoff time. Sam Bradford, no stranger to the injured reserve, has only seen the field once since Week 1 and may have suited up for his last game as a Viking if his injury is as serious as it’s rumored to be.

If Rodgers isn’t able to get back in 2017, the Packers’ playoff hopes are slim. That makes the Lions the best value pick on the board, and their +400 price is certainly appealing for Matthew Stafford and company. The offense hasn’t been the problem in Motown, but the defense has seemingly sprung a leak of late. If the defensive unit can resemble the same one we saw in the opening weeks of the campaign, watch out for the Lions.

Odds to Win 2017 NFC North Division
TeamOdds
Minnesota Vikings-250
Detroit Lions+400
Green Bay Packers+650
Chicago Bears+1200

Odds as of October 26 at Bovada

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The NFC North has been a two-team race for the better part of the last decade, and oddsmakers aren’t expecting that to change ahead of the 2017 NFL campaign.

To no one’s surprise, the Green Bay Packers are the -200 front-runners to win the banner at Bovada. The Minnesota Vikings (+325), Detroit Lions (+600) and Chicago Bears (+2000) round out the list.

Green Bay won the North for the fifth time in six years in 2016 thanks to a second-half surge that ended in a 44-21 hammering by the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game. Following a 42-24 setback to the Washington Redskins during the Week 11 edition of Sunday Night Football – the team’s fourth straight loss – the Packers dropped to third place in the division standings.

With frustration abound and the playoffs looking like an afterthought, star quarterback Aaron Rodgers predicted the Pack would “run the table.” That bold claim proved to be true, as the green and gold won the remaining six games of the regular season thanks to consistent video game-like performances from Rodgers. With no other team posing a significant threat to the Packers talent-wise, it’s no surprise to see Green Bay get tabbed with the favorite label in 2017.

The 2016 season was as topsy-turvy as it can get for Vikings fans. Things started off incredibly poorly when starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down with a severe knee injury in training camp. After acquiring Sam Bradford from Philadelphia, the Vikes rattled off five straight wins out of the gate but proceeded to win just three more games the rest of the season.

Bradford earned the starting job and went on to a career-high 3,877 passing yards while establishing a new NFL record for completion percentage. Still, the Vikings are a team in disarray right now and the offense, which ranked 28th in total yards, will need to step it up without longtime face of the franchise Adrian Peterson (now in New Orleans) in the fold. The Vikings’ window hasn’t closed yet, but this is a big year for the franchise to prove it can make the leap into the upper echelon of the NFC.

Remember when the Lions made the playoffs last year? Neither do I. Detroit snuck into the postseason thanks to a 9-7 record but was handily defeated by the Seattle Seahawks in the wild-card round. The Lions skidded their way to the finish line in 2016, ending the season on a four-game losing streak which saw the defense allow 377.5 yards and 29 points per game.

Former superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson recently stated he retired early because the Lions “weren’t going anywhere.” It’s hard to argue with Megatron in that regard, as Detroit has been consistently living in the good-but-not-great area of the league for some time now. Here’s another scary fact for Lions fans: the club won a combined zero games against playoff teams a year ago. Yikes.

The Jay Cutler era in the Windy City officially came to a close in the offseason when the signal-caller initially hung up his cleats for a chance to try his hand at broadcasting, and you’d be hard pressed to find many Bears fans who were upset about that. With the new season looming, the Bears are clearly in rebuild mode and will hand the reins of the quarterback position to the newly signed Mike Glennon and the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, Mitchell Trubisky.

There are a lot of dumb things people do with money, but placing a wager on the Monsters of the Midway to win the NFC North is pretty high on that list. For the first time in a while, the Bears appear to be moving in the right direction by tearing it down and starting over, but it won’t make their games any more watchable for the time being. For a franchise that’s made the playoffs just once in the last decade, the postseason is a distant memory at this point.

Odds to Win 2017 NFC North Division
TeamOdds
Green Bay Packers-200
Minnesota Vikings+325
Detroit Lions+600
Chicago Bears+2000

Odds as of September 1 at Bovada

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The Minnesota Vikings were the talk of the NFL after opening the season 5-0 despite myriad injuries to the offense. However, the defense can only carry the Vikings so far and their recent struggles have the Green Bay Packers chomping at the bit.

The Vikings rank in the top five in every major defensive statistic but in the bottom five in every major offensive statistic. Entering the midway point of the season, the Vikes are 5-2 and -175 favorites to win the NFC North. With offensive co-ordinator Norv Turner resigning, the offensive system may get even worse with lackluster Pat Shurmur taking over those duties.

The Packers have basically consisted of a solid defense and Aaron Rodgers accomplishing magical things with less than optimal weapons. A 4-3 record isn’t a bad mark considering just how badly injuries have riddled the Packers this season. The back half of Green Bay’s schedule is sneaky tough with dates against the Colts, Redskins, Eagles and Seahawks plus three divisional games to close out the year.

The Detroit Lions sit at a respectable 4-4 at the halfway point but have quite a hill to climb to win the NFC North. The Lions need to rectify their road woes, as they are 1-3 away from Detroit with two divisional losses at Green Bay and Chicago. Teams continue to dare the Lions to run on them and they are simply unable to, leaving the offense solely to Matthew Stafford.

Mathematically, the Chicago Bears are still alive, but nothing short of a miracle would save the team. They have the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL and though rookie Jordan Howard looks great at times, he is inconsistent.

2016 NFC North Odds

Odds as of November 3 at Bovada

  • Minnesota Vikings -175
  • Green Bay Packers +150
  • Detroit Lions +1600
  • Chicago Bears +6600

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The Green Bay Packers have owned the NFC North division for years, but the Minnesota Vikings took everyone by surprise and garnered the title in 2015. When it comes to odds lists, it’s those two teams and everyone else this season.

Green Bay is a -190 favorite at Bovada, while Minnesota is not far behind at +200. The Chicago Bears (+900) and Detroit Lions (+1000) are long shots to represent the division in the playoffs.

Minny’s NFC North triumph marked the first time since 2010 that the Pack didn’t win the crown. The Vikes had a quietly solid offseason, as Mike Zimmer’s crew upgraded the offensive line by bringing in offensive guard Alex Boone and right tackle Andre Smith. All in all, this team looks like it could at least equal its 11 win output from 2015.

2015 was a rocky year for Green Bay, as the Packers’ offense looked extremely out of sorts at times. For a team that boasts all-world Aaron Rodgers as its quarterback, that’s a cause for concern. But now that head coach Mike McCarthy has resumed play-calling duties, will things go back to the way they were? Only time will tell.

Chicago’s defense was downright embarrassing last year, but give credit to general manager Ryan Pace for upgrading in that area. The Bears signed linebackers Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman and Leonard Floyd to jumpstart the pass rush.

On the offensive side, running back Matt Forte and tight end Martellus Bennett are gone, but rookie wideout Kevin White is set to make his highly-anticipated debut. The Bears won’t win the North in 2016, but they will be better.

Long-suffering Detroit Lions fans saw their team become competitive for a few years, but now it looks like that window has officially closed. Six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Calvin Johnson rode off into the sunset, and the Lions replaced him with ex-Cincinnati Bengal Marvin Jones. Golden Tate is in line for a big year, but the Lions are set to sink into irrelevancy. Even +1000 seems like poor value.

2016 NFC North Odds

Odds as of August 16 at Bovada

  • Green Bay Packers -180
  • Minnesota Vikings +235
  • Chicago Bears +900
  • Detroit Lions +1000

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The NFC North is always a dogfight, and the 2016 edition is shaping up to be no different. As usual, it’s a battle between a mainstay franchise and up and comers.

At BetOnline, the Green Bay Packers are -180 favorites to win the division, but it won’t be a cake walk. The Minnesota Vikings, who won the NFC North in 2015, are right behind them at +235, while the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are also available for a price of +1000.

Minnesota’s division title marked the first time the Pack have been knocked off their throne since 2010. That didn’t translate to postseason success, however, as the Vikes lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round in heartbreaking fashion thanks to a missed potential game-winning 27-yard field goal by kicker Blair Walsh in the dying seconds of the game.

The Lions will be in tough to garner their first NFC North banner since 1993 this year. The surprise retirement of all-world wide receiver Calvin Johnson was a major blow to the squad, and life after Megatron will not be an easy adjustment for Matthew Stafford and company.

Chicago has nowhere to go but up in the wake of a 6-10 campaign. The Bears were marred by injuries, as only four players started all sixteen games. Jay Cutler improved tenfold under new offensive coordinator Adam Gase, and the defense looked much better with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio at the helm. They will improve, but I’m not sure if they have enough firepower to beat out the Packers and Vikings.

2015-16 NFC North Odds

Odds as of May 10 at BetOnline

  • Green Bay Packers -180
  • Minnesota Vikings +235
  • Chicago Bears +1000
  • Detroit Lions +1000

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As we hit the home stretch of the 2015 NFL season, the NFC North is down to two teams that could not be more different. The Green Bay Packers are the elder statesmen of the division, having won it four years in a row thanks to a perennially dominant offense under star signal caller Aaron Rodgers. The Minnesota Vikings, however, have not claimed a division title since 2009 and are the new kids on the block this year.

This season has been anything but normal in the NFC North. The Packers started out the season on a six-game winning streak before hitting a wall and dropping three of their next four. The green and gold have since rebounded thanks to wins over Detroit and Dallas to improve to 9-4 SU on the year while holding a one-game lead over Minny heading into Week 15.

If the Vikings don’t make the playoffs, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves. In a year where divisional foes Detroit and Chicago were non-factors combined with the aforementioned rare stumbles by Green Bay, Minnesota should have more than eight wins at this point. Losses to the Packers, Seahawks and Cardinals have brought the Norsemen back down to earth, but it’s their continuing failure to come through in the clutch that stings the most in the Twin Cities.

When glancing upon the odds at online sports book Bovada, oddsmakers are clearly believing in the Packers again. But if you think the Vikes will make a run for it, there’s plenty of value to be had.

2016 NFC North Champion

Odds as of December 15 at Bovada

  • Green Bay Packers -800
  • Minnesota Vikings +400

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With eight weeks behind us in the NFL season, the Green Bay Packers are once again the class of the NFC North, but they still have lots of work to do as the Minnesota Vikings are hot on their heels, just one game behind them in the standings. Oddsmakers don’t seem disturbed by the slight lead over the surging Vikings, as the Pack are listed as a -700 favorite to win the division at Bovada.

Something hurting the second place Vikings, who are +350 to win the division, is their tough second half schedule. The Vikings face the toughest slate in the league as their remaining opponents combine for a 62.6 win percentage. The Vikings and Packers will play each other twice in the second half.

The bottom half of the NFC North division features two of the NFL’s worst teams in the Chicago Bears (+15000) and Detroit Lions (+20000). The Bears appear to be in somewhat of a transition year with a new coaching staff, while the Lions are back to being a complete disaster. Earlier in the week the Lions started to clean house, firing both their GM and President.

With still nine games left to play, it’s already clear that the NFC North is a two horse race.

2015/16 NFC North Champion

Odds as of November 5 at Bovada

  • Green Bay Packers -700
  • Minnesota Vikings +350
  • Chicago Bears +15000
  • Detroit Lions +20000

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After winning 12 games in 2014 to claim their fourth consecutive NFC North title and earn a bye on the first weekend of the postseason, the Green Bay Packers are perched as strong -275 favorites on the odds to win the NFC North in 2015 at Bovada.

This year marks the fifth straight season that the Packers are pegged as the preseason betting favorites, while the Detroit Lions are listed in a tie for second on the 2015 NFC North futures at Bovada with +500 odds.

The Lions reached the playoffs last season for just the second time in 15 years after posting an impressive 11-5 record. However, with the loss of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the Lions' best player, to the free agent market, it may be a tall order for Detroit to reach double digits in the win column in 2015.

The Minnesota Vikings endured a roller coaster season in 2014, struggling to a 7-9 record and their fourth losing campaign in five years, largely without star running back Adrian Peterson in their lineup due to suspension.

Former league MVP Peterson has returned to the Vikings for this season, putting them in a tie for second with the Lions at +500 on the NFC North odds at Bovada.

The Chicago Bears also experienced a tumultuous offseason, marked by the departures of head coach Marc Trestman, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and defensive end Ray McDonald.

Chicago fell to the bottom of the NFC North standings with just five wins in 2014, and are +1800 longshots to claim the division title in the upcoming season at Bovada.

2015/16 NFC North Champion

Odds as of August 22 at Bovada

  • Green Bay Packers -275
  • Detroit Lions +500
  • Minnesota Vikings +500
  • Chicago Bears +1800
2015/16 NFC North Champion

Odds as of July 20 at Bovada

  • Green Bay Packers -300
  • Detroit Lions +600
  • Minnesota Vikings +600
  • Chicago Bears +1200
2015/16 NFC North Champion

Odds as of May 5 at Bovada

  • Green Bay Packers -300
  • Detroit Lions +450
  • Minnesota Vikings +900
  • Chicago Bears +1200

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2014 NFC North Odds Preview

The Green Bay Packers scraped and clawed their way to an NFC North division title last season, ending up just over the .500 mark at 8-7-1 with quarterback Aaron Rodgers missing a chunk of the season with a shoulder injury.

Green Bay will be looking to keep Rodgers healthy in 2014, and the oddsmakers at Bovada have them set as the clear -110 favorites on the odds to win the NFC North. The Packers posted a 3-2-1 record against their three NFC North opponents in the 2013 season.

Green Bay Packers Odds to Win NFC North -110
Chicago Bears Odds to Win NFC North +250
Detroit Lions Odds to Win NFC North +400
Minnesota Vikings Odds to Win NFC North +1000

The Chicago Bears ended up just short of a division title at 8-8 overall last season, and they're second to the Packers at Bovada at +250 on the odds to win the NFC North. The Bears will be looking to improve on their division record this season - they were 2-4 last year.

The Detroit Lions, who went 7-9 overall and 4-2 in the division in 2013, are then at +400 on those NFC North odds at Bovada, with the Minnesota Vikings well back of the top three teams at +1000 on those betting lines. The Vikings went 5-10-1 overall last season, and 2-3-1 against the other three NFC North teams.

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2013 NFC North Odds Preview

Despite a slow start, the Green Bay Packers won the NFC North for the second straight season last year. With one of the best players in the game at the helm in quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay appears to be taking a stranglehold of the division.

Of course, the rest of the division won’t go without a fight. All four teams in the division have been to the playoffs within the last three years, and each enters this season with the intention of returning to the postseason. Can anyone dethrone Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at the top of the NFC North?

Green Bay Packers (Odds to Win Division at Bovada -160)

Green Bay followed up its 15-1 SU season in 2011 with a rough start out of the gate, going 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS through its first five games. But the Packers eventually found their groove, going 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS over the next 12 games before falling to San Francisco in the second round of the playoffs.

The Packers spent two draft picks on running backs Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin, potentially adding a capable rushing attack to Rodgers’ elite passing attack. The defense will need to be better this season if the Packers want to go deep in the playoffs, but they should breeze through the regular season on offense alone.

Chicago Bears (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +350)

Chicago got off to a 7-1 SU and 5-2-1 ATS start last season and looked like it was going to run away with the NFC North. But a 3-5 SU and ATS finish left the Bears on the outside looking in when the playoffs began in January.

Even without Brian Urlacher, the Bears should have one of the league’s best defenses again in 2013. The question will be whether or not the offense can keep up with the many high-powered offenses in the NFC. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall have good chemistry, but other weapons must emerge on offense if the Bears want to get back over the hump.

Detroit Lions (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +500)

The Detroit Lions spun out of control last season, ending the year on an 0-8 SU and 2-6 ATS skid. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson connected for huge yards as Johnson broke the all-time record for receiving yards, but too many drives ended in field goals instead of touchdowns. RB Reggie Bush has been acquired to add another explosive option in the red zone.

The defense also under-performed last season, finishing in the bottom five in points allowed. The core from the team that went 10-6 SU and made the playoffs in 2011 is still here; can this group find that spark again?

Minnesota Vikings (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +550)

Last year, Adrian Peterson won the NFL MVP award for his incredible performance on the field. Peterson finished just eight yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s all-time rushing record, and in the meantime willed his team into the playoffs with a 4-0 SU and ATS run over the last four games of the season.

Can Peterson do it again in 2013? It is hard to bet against the elite back, but his supporting cast is even weaker this season with Percy Harvin no longer on the team. Unless Christian Ponder evolves as a quarterback and does his part on offense, it is hard to see the Vikings accomplishing last season’s heroic comeback again.

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2012 NFC North Odds Preview

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2011 NFC North Odds Preview

The Green Bay Packers are the defending Super Bowl Champions, and are a deserving favorite atop the NFC North. But with the defending NFC North Champion Chicago Bears, a Detroit Lions team on the rise, and a re-tooled Minnesota Vikings team in their way, this division won’t be a cakewalk.

Green Bay Packers (Odds to Win Division at Bovada -220)

The Packers return just about everyone from last season’s Super Bowl winning unit, including Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers leading the offense and linebacker Clay Matthews leading the defense. They also get running back Ryan Grant and tight end Jermichael Finley back after both missed most of last season due to injury.

With an elite defense and an offense that should be even better with Grant and Finley’s return, the Packers are a serious threat to return to the Super Bowl if they can stay healthy.

Detroit Lions (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +450)

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh wreaked havoc on opposing teams last season, and now he’s joined by Auburn standout Nick Fairley, giving the Lions one of the most lethal defensive lines in the game.

The Lions’ success this season revolves around quarterback Matthew Stafford’s health. With a talented offense including wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Jahvid Best, the talent is in place on both sides of the ball for the Lions to make a playoff push. But they’ll need Stafford to last a full season for the first time in his pro career.

Chicago Bears (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +500)

With all of the hype surrounding the defending champions and the up-and-coming Lions, some seem to have forgotten that the Bears won the NFC North last season with an 11-5 record.

Always strong on defense, the Bears turned their attention to offense this offseason, adding wide receiver Roy Williams and running back Marion Barber. Barber joins Matt Forte and Chester Taylor in a loaded backfield that should do plenty to control the tempo of the game and open up the passing game for Jay Cutler.

Minnesota Vikings (Odds to Win Division at Bovada +1000)

Last season was a major disappointment for the Vikings as Brett Favre crashed down to reality and the Vikings stumbled to a 6-10 record.

Not content to go into full-rebuild mode, Minnesota traded for quarterback Donovan McNabb, and brought in wideouts Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins to fill in for the departed Sidney Rice. Will Donovan McNabb be the McNabb of old like he was in Philadelphia, or the one that lost his starting job in Washington? If he finds his old form, coupled with Adrian Peterson, this team could have a bounce-back season.

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