Looking Ahead at NFC North Betting Futures – A star studded division with big decisions looming creates an uncertainty for betting on the division winner. However, it might not be that unclear as it seems.
A team that has been disappointing every season might continue this streak going into this new season. Biggest off-season move thus far was the trade of their longtime franchise QB Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for QB Jared Goff. During the 2021 NFL Draft they picked up arguably the best offensive line prospect in Penei Sewell. Surely this stud player will be able to protect Jared Goff, but will it be enough?
There are a few key players that I think will have above average to great seasons in 2021. First, sophomore running back D’Andre Swift, I think he will have a breakout season with this new offensive line. Another player to look out for is sophomore defensive back Jeff Okudah. He is an incredibly gifted corner and if he can stay healthy will be a problem for offenses to deal with.
Record Projection (via Draftkings): 5-12
Odds to win division (via Draftkings): +2000
Personally, I have to agree with these odds and record projections. I think this team is nowhere close to where it wants to be and that’s okay for now. It is clear that they are rebuilding and acquiring young assets. It does not help them that, if they want to compete, they have the third hardest schedule.
After winning the division back in 2017, the Vikings have slowly been taking steps back in terms of progression. However, things might be changing for the better in Minnesota. Dalvin Cook has proven himself as an elite RB in the league and with the addition of rookies Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis, the Vikings hope to protect him in the backfield and create running lanes.
Some people to also watch out for this season is sophomore WR Justin Jefferson, who set all sorts of records his rookie year and looks to continue that success. Not to mention the always reliable Adam Thielen who had a dip in production in terms of yardage but was third in touchdowns last year.
Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks look to lead a young Vikings defense throughout the season, and hopefully can improve from their poor 2020 season.
Record Projection (via Draftkings): 9-8
Odds to win division (via Draftkings): +260
I’m going to disagree with these projections. Obviously the Vikings have an incredible offense that is more than capable of putting up numbers against any opponent. I am more concerned with the defense and how inexperienced and just downright awful it was last season. I think that they need to make many more adjustments, with players and coaches to have a chance to make a playoff run.
Things are slowly starting to look up for the Bears and it’s fanbase. After the Mitch Trubisky plan failed miserably in the Windy City, there is a newfound hope with former Ohio State QB Justin Fields. Although, it is not 100% sure who will be starting week 1, because of the fact that the Bears brought in veteran experience in Andy Dalton.
The 2021 draft was one of the best in a long time for the Bears. They got an incredible quarterback, two very solid offensive linemen, a great utility running back, and a speedy, deep threat wide out. Including additions to the already under appreciated Allen Robinson and James Robinson, this offense will look to open some eyes in 2021.
Record Projection (via Draftkings): 8-9
Odds to win division (via Draftkings): +400
Just like the Vikings’ predictions and odds, I have to disagree with the Bears’ predictions and odds. Obviously, I don’t think that this young offense will be able to win more than 10 games this season and have a real shot at the playoffs, but their incredibly gifted defense will be more than capable of keeping them in close games. It may not seem that they improved from last season, but in the long run, you will see that this team is growing and maturing. I think they will finish with a 9-8 or 10-7 record.
Green Bay Packers
The team in the most controversy right now because of the situation they are in with their Hall of Fame MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Many people are skeptical about whether or not he will return for the Packers this season. There are reports that he will not be attending the mandatory minicamp held by the team, but those veteran receivers that skipped voluntary OTA’s will return.
If they do move on from Rodgers, they have two options at quarterback. One is the new free agent Blake Bortles, who is recently coming off of a stint with the Broncos, in which he did not play at all. The second option is Jordan Love, the rookie QB that the Packers selected last year to be the successor to Aaron Rodgers. However, they were not impressed with his progression during minicamp and the off-season last year.
Record Projection (via Draftkings): N/A
My Projection: 12-5
Odds to win division (via Draftkings): -143
I have to agree with the Packers’ odds to win the NFC North. Regardless of who is playing under center, they are still a very, very good team that has a strong, fast defense and an electrifying offense. Although it would greatly improve their team if they had Aaron Rodgers, I think that the next guy up will be capable of putting up decent numbers and leading the team to the Playoffs.
Akshay is a rising senior at the University of Miami. He is studying Marketing with a minor in Sports Administration. He is joining Knup Solutions with hopes of being able to contribute to the team at a high level, with his high attention to detail and perfectionist personality. Has done recreational freelance work for online gaming and sports previously, and is excited to use his skills in the real world.