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Value Positions on NFL Futures and Props: NFC North 2019

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/15/2019

The Chicago Bears had very little to worry about in the NFC North last year as only one team—the Minnesota Vikings—was able to scrap to a record over .500.  The Bears were the clear class of the division last year at 12-4 but based on the NFL futures odds at BetOnline.ag the expectation is that they will be in for a tougher test this season. 

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In fact, the Bears are no longer favored in the NFC North market.  For all intents and purposes there is a three way tie atop the betting table with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings priced at +190, the Bears at +200 and the Detroit Lions bringing up the rear at +1000.

NFC NORTH FUTURES AND PROPOSITION WAGERS

BET GREEN BAY PACKERS UNDER 9 WINS -110
BET GREEN BAY PACKERS TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS—NO  -110
BET DETROIT LIONS WINS +1.5 WINS +125 OVER GREEN BAY PACKERS WINS -1.5 WINS

Simply put, the Green Bay Packers will need a lot of things to ‘go right’ if they’re to have any hope of competing with the Bears and Vikings.  Even so, this team looks to be a cut below the other two favorites. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are coming off of back to back losing seasons for the first time since 1991. New head coach Matt LaFleur was hired primarily to retool the offense in hopes that it can regain the potency that it once had.  The Packers weren’t miserable offensively last year finishing #12 in total offense and #14 in scoring offense but the problem is that they don’t have a good enough defense to get away with being a lower than top ten team on the other side of the ball.  The Packers finished #18 in total defense and #22 in scoring defense.

LaFleur also going to call the plays meaning that it’s crucial that he have a good relationship with Rodgers.  If not, it could be a long season for Green Bay.  In reality, it might be a long season anyway.  The wide receiver corps is nothing special.  The team’s best running back is Aaron Jones and he’s prone to injury.  Since he’s expected to be an every down back that could be a huge problem. The news isn’t all bad for the Packers’ offense—undrafted rookie receiver Darrius Shepherd has impressed in training camp and there’s a good chance he could make the team.  He’s been getting plenty of reps and could end up being the slot receiver that the team has been looking for.  There’s also the hope that tight end Jimmy Graham returns to form.

Ultimately, the Packers are much more likely to do a ‘losing season three-peat’ than they are to compete for a divisional title.  The pricing on most of the Packers season long props suggest that the betting public still thinks this is the 2014 team that finished 12-4 and lost in the NFC Conference Championships.  The win total at 9 is borderline lunacy.  It would require the team to go 10-6 or better for the ‘Over’ to cash.  The Packers went 10-6 in 2015 and 2016 but at 7-9 in 2017 and 6-9-1 in 2018 it sure looks that their ceiling has become too low to expect that to happen.  This looks like a .500 team at best.  With the Detroit Lions putting together a highly underrated defense they should improve this year and that could relegate the Packers to last place in the division.

BET CHICAGO BEARS +200 TO WIN NFC NORTH

BET CHICAGO BEARS WINS OVER GREEN BAY PACKERS WINS -110

BET CHICAGO BEARS OVER 9 WINS -105

We’ll return to the season win totals at BetOnline.ag and focus on the Chicago Bears.  The Packers are getting too much respect while the Bears aren’t getting enough.  Green Bay won 6 games in 2018 while the Bears won 12.  The Bears lost very little in terms of personnel over the Summer and yet they’re supposed to regress by 3 games or more?  That’s a tough sell.  Matt Nagy did a great job in his first year as head coach and most of his starters return.  The biggest loss might be defensive coordinator Vince Fangio, who is now the head coach of the Denver Broncos.  Chuck Pagano is the new defensive coordinator, a role he hasn’t held since 2011 with the Baltimore Ravens.  He’s in a situation where all he needs to do is to not screw anything up and he’s highly respected as a coach and as a solid guy.  The Bears defense remains nasty and with Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd boast one of the most frightening pass rushes in the league. 

On the other side of the ball, the Bears traded running back Jordan Howard to Philadelphia before the draft and selected David Montgomery out of Iowa State. The team loves how Montgomery should fit Nagy’s offense and even with the loss of Howard they’re deep at the position.  Former South Carolina Gamecock Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen have both looked good in training camp.  Cody Parkey is gone as place kicker but the team is yet to name a replacement though Nagy has emphasized the kicking game is a concern.  There are no worries with the punting game as Pat O’Donnell is one of the best in the league.  Mitchell Trubisky's passing needs to be more consistent but there’s not much to suggest that the Bears have dropped significantly from last year.  If anything, they’ve remained steady if not improved.

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