2018 NFL Betting Futures: Vikings, Packers Battle Atop NFC North Odds
The Chicago Bears are the last team to win the NFC North other than the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers over the previous eight seasons, and that is a long shot to happen again this year. With the addition of quarterback Kirk Cousins, the defending division champion Vikings improved in the offseason. They are listed as +125 favorites (bet $100 to win $125) to repeat in the sportsbooks’ NFC North odds.
Who Are The Favorites In The NFC North Odds?
Minnesota tied the Philadelphia Eagles for the best record in the NFC last season at 13-3 behind quarterback Case Keenum. He ended up leaving for the Denver Broncos as a free agent to become their starter. The Vikings seemingly upgraded at the position with the signing of Cousins, arguably the top free agent on the market following six years with the Washington Redskins. Cousins is coming off three consecutive 4,000-yard campaigns in Washington and signed a three-year deal worth $84 million.
Can Green Bay Reclaim Their Throne?
The Green Bay Packers won the NFC North four straight seasons before seeing Minnesota take it two of the past three. They are hoping to ride the arm of quarterback Aaron Rodgers to another Super Bowl appearance this year. Rodgers is still the top signal-caller in the division, even with the arrival of Cousins. However, he must rebound from an injury-plagued 2017 campaign that saw him miss nine games. Rodgers returns to action as one of the favorites in the NFL MVP odds race.
The Packers are the +140 second choice to dethrone the Vikings according to NFC North odds. They have made some key changes this offseason to help Rodgers and the offense. Gone is injury-prone wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent. While Nelson was one of the favorite targets of Rodgers throughout their time together, he is getting older at 33 years old. The Packers has some other promising young receivers. In addition, Green Bay brought in former All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham.
Will The Lions Roar?
The Detroit Lions are next in line at +600 to win the division. They are hoping that veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford can keep them on track for their third winning season in a row. The Lions went 9-7 a year ago to again finish second in the NFC North. However, they failed to make the postseason, unlike 2016 when they did so with the same mark. The 30-year-old Stafford may have had the best season of his career with 4,446 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is also developing into more of a leader as one of the elder statesmen on the team. With a new head coach in Matt Patricia and running back in LeGarrette Blount, it will be interesting to see how those two former New England Patriots will make their way in Detroit this year.
Will The Bears Stay In The Cellar?
Finally, the Bears are the +900 fourth choice in these NFC North odds to repeat what they last accomplished in 2010. That year, they made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game. Since then though, Chicago has turned in only one winning season, going 10-6 in 2012, but still missing the playoffs. This led to the end of former head coach Lovie Smith’s career there. After firing Smith, the Bears have hired three more coaches to replace him, the latest being former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. He takes over this year in relief of the departed John Fox. Nagy’s main job will be to further mentor and mold last year’s top draft pick, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.