Vikings ready to outrun the packers

For the second straight year, the Green Bay Packers enter the NFL season as the odds betting pick to win the NFC North on the DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and PointsBet futures boards. Here we dive into the NFC North odds of the sports betting market.

Only the Tampa Bay Bucs and Buffalo Bills are heavier division favorites than the Packers in the NFC North.

Last season, the Packers won the division crown with a -165 preseason rating, finishing five games ahead of second-place Minnesota. This year, Green Bay’s odds are as short as -190 at DraftKings.

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But going back five seasons, the Packers were rated at -225 to win the North, according sportsoddshistory.com, and were beaten by then-coach Mike Zimmer’s Vikings. Could this happen again?

Sure, but it won’t be under Zimmer, because there’s a new manager in Minnesota.

Odds of winning NFC North

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Here’s a look at how the split race will unfold with the teams ranked in order of expected finish. Last year’s regular season records are shown in parentheses with division odds followed by odds to win the NFL Championship.

NFC North picks and predictions

Minnesota Vikings odds and prospects

records 2021: 8-9
Division odds: +300 at FanDuel
Super Bowl odds: +4000 at DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM

Kevin O’Connell is the new manager after serving as offensive coordinator under Sean McVay during the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl run last season.

It’s not so much that the Vikings’ improvements alone warrant their being considered the division’s new kingpin, but that the Packers probably won’t be as good this season without the remarkable WR Davante Adams and with the ‘OLT David Bakhtiari (knee surgery) likely to miss significant time again this year.

Either way, O’Connell will have plenty of star power to work with QB Kirk Cousins; third-year WR Justin Jefferson, who was second in the league with 1,616 receiving yards last year; reliable veteran Adam Thielen (10 TD catches) and RB Dalvin Cook, who was the league’s fifth-highest rusher with 1,159 yards (4.7/carry) in 2021 despite missing four games with a torn labrum.

The unit also has some solid attacking tackles to protect the Cousins ​​and clear the way for Cook.

As for the oft-maligned Cousins, over the past four seasons he’s been one of only three QBs to be ranked in the top 10 passers rankings every year, joining KC’s Patrick Mahomes and current Denver QB. Russell Wilson. In 2021, Cousins ​​placed fourth.

Defensively, the Vikings beefed up the weak aspects of their game — the secondary rush and passing — to go with a strong linebacking team. Also, DE Danielle Hunter is back after missing the last 10 games of 2021 with a torn pec. In 2019 and 2020, he had 14.5 sacks each year.

fun fact: O’Connell will attempt to become the second rookie head coach in history to take over a team with a losing record and win a league title. The only guy to do that was Adam Walsh with the 1945 Cleveland Rams. And unlike O’Connell, the year before he was Harvard’s line coach.

Green Bay Packer Odds and Prospects

records 2021: 13-4
Division odds: -165 at PointsBet
Super Bowl 57 Odds: +1200 at FanDuel, PointsBet, BetMGM

MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, 38, is back for Green Bay, which won the NFC’s top seed last year before its dismal performance in a 13-10 loss to San Francisco.

Who’s not back is Adams, the league’s second-best pass catcher last year with 123 receptions. He signed with Vegas. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, another favorite Rodgers target, is also missing. He plays with former MVP Mahomes in Kansas City.

Additionally, Rodgers blindside protector Bakhtiari suffered a setback in the offseason, and who knows when/if he will return.

Although Rodgers is coming off a sensational statistical season, with 37 TD assists, four steals and a league-best 111.9 passer rating, he has enjoyed eight games against teams ranked in the bottom eight. defensive passers, including two against the 32nd. Chicago-rated (“I still own you!He has only faced a top 10 unit twice, including his miserable opener against the Saints. This season, seven top 10 ranked teams in 2021 are on GB’s schedule.

The team’s running game, led by bulldozers Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, is formidable and will be called upon more often in the aerial game.

Additionally, Green Bay’s ninth-ranked defense, which boasts a quality linebacker corps, might need to be a few notches better this season to offset the likelihood of a less productive offense.

The Packers’ first-place schedule is also particularly tough, with games against fellow defending division champions Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and the Rams.

fun fact: In addition to those enemies mentioned above, Green Bay will face two other defending division champions who just retired – Buffalo and Dallas.

NFL Schedule: Who caught the breaks?

Detroit Lions odds and prospects

records 2021: 3-13-1
NFC North Odds: +1000 at DraftKings
Super Bowl 57 Odds: +15000 at DraftKings

The Lions, who have finished last for the past four seasons, have a very favorable schedule, thanks in large part to being one of four teams not facing an opponent coming out of extended rest. Additionally, their last-place list places them as the only team in the division to have the privilege of facing the New York, Jacksonville, and Seattle Giants, teams that have a win total of seven or less.

Although Detroit has plenty of holes to fill before it becomes a threat to make some noise in the playoffs, its offensive line is lauded for being one of the best in the league, which has contributed to the standard of running play. 4.4 per run, the best for the team since 2004. And that production was without a star pair for most of the season – OLT Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow. Both are back.

Now, if first-time RB D’Andre Swift can stay healthy for a full season, he’s set to have the first 1,000-yard rushing season for the team since 2013 (Reggie Bush), the longest drought in the league. league.

QB Jared Goff has been widely harped on after being acquired from the Rams, but he’s had a strong end to the season, winning three of his last four starts with nine TD assists and just two INTs. Much of this improvement was the result of a game-changer late in the season. But the Lions did him no favors by letting most of last year’s receiving corps go in the offseason.

The defense received a huge boost with the addition of ex-Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson with the second pick in the draft.

But can the Lions outperform again like they did last year with a league-leading 11-6 ATS record?

fun fact: The Lions have been an underdog in their last 24 games, the longest current streak in the league. In the opening lines published for this season, Detroit is not favored until it hosts Seattle in Week 4.

Chicago Bears Quotes and Outlook

records 2021: 6-11
NFC North Odds: +1400 at DraftKings
Super Bowl 57 Odds: +15000 at DraftKings

The Bears are in the midst of a rebuild under rookie coach Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis’ defensive coordinator for the past five seasons.

Chicago goes all-in with second-year QB Justin Fields, whose inability to offload the ball quickly led to him being a sack magnet behind an offensive line that had few strong points. In a game last year against Cleveland, he fell nine times in 42 snaps, as the Bears produced 47 total rushing yards, the worst production of any team in 2021.

Also, he has no experienced receivers to work with. But he has Tulane’s Darnell Mooney, a third-year WR who had 1,055 yards last year.

The running back situation isn’t bad, with David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, but when the team is behind most of the time, what’s the point?

Defensively, their best player, Khalil Mack, was traded to the LA Chargers in the offseason, and three regulars along the line are gone as the team goes from a 3-4 to a 4-3 roster.

And their lowest-ranked pass defense surely relies on linebacker Robert Quinn to keep the heat on the QBs. His 18.5 sacks last year ranked him second in the league.

In summary, Chicago’s season win total of 6.5 games (DraftKings) seems like a reach.

fun fact: The Bears, who started their rookie QB 10 times last season, were one of two teams (Giants) who couldn’t play against a rookie starting QB in 2021.

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