2016 NFC North Division Odds Preview
The NFC North doesn’t look overly complicated on paper, as the Green Bay Packers are the cream of the crop and tend to chase (or win) the division title every year. In fact, since it’s inception in 2002, the green and gold have claimed eight of a possible 14 division crowns.
Green Bay’s success has largely come recently, too, as they finished second to the Vikings in 2015 after winning the previous four NFC North titles. Naturally, the Packers will be right near the top again and come in as the heavy favorites to take the division back from the Vikes.
Detroit and Chicago, on the other hand, look to be on the outside looking in. Let’s take a closer look at all four teams and their 2016 NFC North odds and see which team makes for the best bet this year to win the division:
Green Bay Packers -140
The Packers are not just threats to win the division, but with a healthy Jordy Nelson back and Eddie Lacy working himself into tip top shape, they might even be Super Bowl contenders again in 2016. The big question comes on defense, where Green Bay improved a year ago but still has inconsistencies.
Nelson returning to form is also very key, while it will be interesting to see how the Pack features new speedy tight end, Jared Cook. On paper, the Packers are healthy and fully loaded to win the division and make a deep playoff run. Unfortunately, their awesome odds aren’t so awesome for payout potential, making them a less than attractive bet. They’re probably winning the NFC North, but you’re not going to want to bet the farm with such a weak return.
Minnesota Vikings +200
Minnesota is very likely the only other legit contender in this division. Their defense transformed into a very balanced and gritty unit in 2015 and Adrian Peterson seems to only get better with age.
The only real issue for the Vikes has been a lackluster passing game, which to this point has only flashed upside with the erratic Teddy Bridgewater. There is still potential there, of course, as rookie receiver Laquon Treadwell could help open things up greatly.
The Vikings are probably more balanced than any other team in this division, and a lot of media pundits are jumping on them as a sexy Super Bowl bet. That being said, they’re only going as far as Bridgewater can take them. That might make them a tough sell, although their +200 odds offer a little upside, as well as some safety.
Chicago Bears +900
Here’s where the fun NFC North odds are! Yes, Chicago is a poor bet to randomly rise up and win the division, but let’s keep a few things in perspective:
- They endured a lot of injuries in 2015
- John Fox doesn’t lose
- They still have a lot of talent
All of those things are true. Chicago has let big time talents like Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall go over the past two years, but they still have Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery leading an offense that could still be a very balanced and explosive unit on paper.
It’s probably the defensive side of the ball where the Bears still have a lot to prove, but year two in their new 3-4 could go a lot better in 2016. If things break the right way, they could at least contend, much like they did in 2015 until later in the year. Staying healthy will be objective number one, of course.
Detroit Lions +1000
Detroit makes some sense as the team with the worst NFC North odds, but really only because they’ve literally never taken first in the division since the league’s realignment back in 2002. You could also suggest their offense could take a hit with Calvin Johnson retiring, but the Lions were actually one of the more impressive teams in the second half last year.
Jim Bob Cooter is running a fluid system for Matthew Stafford and co., while Detroit has plenty of offensive talent to still put up points even with Megatron retired. Detroit also has some nice pieces on defense and was a very gritty unit at times in 2015. With a more balanced approach and Stafford not having tunnel vision to Johnson, this could be one of the better Lions teams we’ve seen in a while.
History tells us they’re still probably not winning the division for the first time ever, but records were made to be broken and crazier things have been seen and heard. Betting on Detroit with +1000 odds is at the very worst fun, as even a modest $100 bet would return a ridiculous $1,000. The Lions aren’t winning the division in 2016, but they’re a decent flier bet.
Overall, the NFC North is still Green Bay’s to lose. They’re not the best bet in terms of payout, but they remain the safest one.