2019 NFC North Predictions with Betting Advice
The NFC North has long been a division that has been dominated by the Green Bay Packers. From 2011-present day, the Packers own five NFC North crowns, while the Bears and Vikings share one apiece. This season, the NFC North is completely up for grabs as each of those three teams have what it takes to finish first.
From a gunslinging quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, to a trio of gifted playmakers in Minnesota, to a ferocious defense in the Windy City, it's anyone's guess as to who will get the better of their opponents. Based on the odds, the sportsbooks feel just as confused as us, since they listed those three teams with a season win total of 9. The division win odds are relatively even as well, so you'd be better off flipping a coin to determine this year's King of the North.
As we kick off Week 3 of the preseason this week, I'll be taking you on a guided tour of each division to prep you on what to expect for the upcoming season. Keep in mind, injuries can occur at any moment to derail a season, so getting too hyped up on a division preview is never a good thing.
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Season Win Total 9 (o -110)
NFC North Win Odds (+160)
In a bizarre turn of events of the summer, the gambling world has decided to place several wagers on Mitch Trubisky to win the NFL MVP award. Trubisky was upwards of 200/1 to start and now sits anywhere between 18-20/1. If you're a Bears fan, you hope that this is a sign of things to come for Trubisky and that he can take that next step and lead the Bears to another playoff appearance, this time winning at least one round.
The Bears were one of the few teams this season that didn't have too many glaring holes to fill, but they still managed to get better by adding running back David Montgomery in the third round of the draft and taking a chance on Ha-Ha Clinton Dix to shore up an already legitimate defense. The Bears still need a kicker (same with about 25 other teams), and they need to get a bit of luck with their schedule as it's one of the toughest in the leagues.
It's going to be hard for the Bears to win the division for the second year running as both Green Bay and Minnesota are expected to have bounce-back seasons.
Green Bay Packers
Season Win Total 9 (o -110)
NFC North Win Odds (+195)
As Aaron Rodgers goes, so do the Packers.
Rodgers was his efficient self last season, throwing for 4,442 yards and 25 touchdowns to go along with just two interceptions. However, Rodgers was often time criticized for not doing enough, but let's call a spade a spade - outside of Davante Adams, the Packers don't have any other playmakers. And yet, the Packers did very little this offseason to get Rodgers the help he deserves.
Instead, they bolstered up on the defensive side of the ball, which was also a need coming into this season. They took two Big Ten guys in the first round in Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage Jr. They were also able to sign Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith to help the linebacking corps.
The one knock on the Packers this year is that we are going to find out if they are for real right out of the gates with a season-opening trip to Solider Field followed up by a home date with the Vikings. They also have to go to Kansas City and Los Angeles to play the Chargers on back-to-back weeks, which is extremely tough. I'd be inclined to take the under on the season win total as I don't think they win 10 games.
Season Win Total 9 (o -110)
NFC North Win Odds (+240)
The Minnesota Vikings are not void of talent by any means. They have guys like Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and a healthy Dalvin Cook toting the rock out of the backfield. However, their downfall was their terrible offensive line play that had Kirk Cousins running for his life. The Vikings also finished 30th in rushing yards, so an improvement up front was necessary. And they did just that by signing Josh Kline, Dakota Dozier, and Brett Jones, while also using their top draft pick on lineman Garrett Bradbury.
The only problem I see with the Vikings squad is the ability of Kirk Cousins to deliver in big games. Time and time again, we've seen Cousins fold under the pressure and let his team down. In a division with gunslinging quarterbacks like Trubisky, Rodgers, and Matthew Stafford, Cousins needs to step up and show that he belongs and is worth every penny of his massive contract. I can see Minnesota winning 10 games this season, but I would have preferred more value to the line.
Season Win Total 6.5 (o -150)
NFC North Win Odds (+1000)
The Detroit Lions are far and away the "other team" in this three-team division. They have a head coach who seems to be in over his head, and they have an offense and defense that seemingly underperforms at every turn.
Coming into this season, the biggest goal for the Lions has to be to try and find a way to keep Stafford upright and protect while establishing a run game. Kerryon Johnson can produce big numbers for the Lions, but they simply cannot block for him, and as such it leaves the offense one-dimensional and defenses get to tee-off on Stafford. The Lions did make a bold move by drafting tight end T.J Hockenson out of Iowa in hopes of giving Stafford more weapons on offense.
Defensively, the team's best player, Darius Slay is in a contract dispute with the team and is unhappy with the direction of the franchise despite rejoining his team for the preseason. If your best player is unhappy, that's going to cause a lot of problems off the field, and the on field product is going to be the thing that suffers the most. The Lions have a quarterback capable of winning games on his own, but seven wins seem high, especially juiced to the over.
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