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2017 NFC North Predictions and Picks

2017 NFC North Predictions and Picks

By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

The NFC North was won by the Green Bay Packers in 2016. It was a streaky season for the Pack, who needed a 6 game winning streak to close the season as division champs and get into the postseason at just 10-6. They are big -230 favorites to win the division this season, with only Seattle and New England being bigger favorites to win their division in the NFL this season. Considering how much Green Bay needed to scratch and claw to get to the top last season and how they were followed closely by the 9-7 Lions and 8-8 Vikings, there is some appeal looking elsewhere. At -3300, the Bears are one of the longest shots on the board league-wide in 2017.

The Packers' big favorite price is also based on how they've won the division in five of the past six seasons with one second-place finish spoiling their run. They've more or less held a recent stranglehold on this division. But there seems to be enough heat coming up to make them less-than a certain choice at -230, which is a pretty short price for a team to win a division that showed as much vulnerability as the Packers did last season. Let's just say it looked like their grip on the division was weakening at times last season. Granted, they made it to the NFC title game, beating the Giants and Cowboys in the postseason. So maybe they just had a bumpy road in the midseason and are ready to resume more overall dominance this season.

The odds to win the NFC North are pretty well-spread. There's a clear favorite at the top in Green Bay, two legitimate contenders in Minnesota and Detroit, and a long-shot with some upside in the +3300 Bears. Let's look at the odds to win the 2017 NFC North division, followed by our profiles of each division team and our pick to win the NFC North.

Odds to Win the NFC North Division in 2017
Green Bay Packers -230
Minnesota Vikings +350
Detroit Lions +685
Chicago Bears +3300

A Word About the Odds: The odds are expressed on the omnipresent money line. At -230, the Packers are the favorite to win the division at a better than 2-to-1 clip. At -230, you would need to pony up $230 for every $100 you hoped to win. All other teams in this bet are underdogs to win the division. With the Vikings at +350, a $100 bet on them would win $350, while the same wager would yield $685 on the Lions and a whopping $3300 on the Chicago Bears. And that $100 watermark is just to make it easy to understand. You can bet any amount and the odds would just break down proportionally to your amount. Let's take a look at the NFL North division contenders to take down the division in 2017!

Green Bay Packers (-230): Last season came in three parts for the Packers—a 3-1 start, followed by one win in their next six games, and capped off with a 6-game winning streak and two playoff wins to make it to the NFC title game. It was a topsy-turvy season, but they still won the division for the 5th time in 6 seasons and are a prohibitive favorite to do so again this year. On one hand, they added a few key pieces and it figures they will still be good. But as far as heavy favorites to win their division, they are one of the more-vulnerable. An injury to Rodgers or a return to their midseason form of last season could see them tumble from the top. But as of now, it's unclear why they would suddenly fall to the ranks of mediocrity. Still, the enterprising bettor looking for high-value alternative picks to win the division are within reason to regard Green Bay as something less than ironclad.

Minnesota Vikings (+350): It looked like last season would be the year the Vikes took over, looking really good en route to a 5-0 start. A bye week seemed to take all the fire out of them, as they would win only two of their next ten games. On one hand, an 8-8 record wasn't so bad considering the massive personnel issues they faced right before the season. The offense was pretty drab last season, with Latavius Murray and rookie Dalvin Cook looking to revive the Vikes' run-game. A little help along the O-line could also help bring it together and open up the aerial attack. If that defense, which showed some good signs last season, can remain consistent throughout the season and not be hung out to dry by an offense that lacks star-power, the Vikes could be right in the mix.

Detroit Lions (+685): Yet another NFC North team where their 2016 season can be broken down into parts. It started at a rough 1-3. Then, Detroit got on a big old roll, going 8-1 in their next nine games. But a 0-3 finish to the season dashed their hopes. The defense faltered at the end, but otherwise showed a lot of positive signs last season. Their big 8-1 run showed they are capable of catching fire and at +685, they have some decent value and underdog appeal. Matthew Stafford has become the calming veteran influence behind center. Some further additions up-front and more defensive acquisitions could see the Lions find more overall consistency this season. We see this going a number of possible ways, but Detroit could be a team on the rise and there is some decent value here to be sure.

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Chicago Bears (+3300): A 6-win season in 2015 dissipated into a 3-13 year in 2016. They had problems-galore, with nearly 20 players finding their way onto the injured reserve list. They will be bringing in a new QB in second-pick Mitch Trubisky and there is always a modicum of hope when a big-time QB prospect is brought into the fold. Last season, amidst all their issues, they may have found the back of their future with Jordan Howard, who had a big rookie season. QB Mike Glennon was brought in for reinforcement, along with receivers like Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright, and Victor Cruz, as they attempt to make up for the loss of Alshon Jeffery. They added some juice to their secondary with Quintin Demps, Marcus Cooper and Prince Amakamura. At some point, you'd have to think coach John Fox will get it together. This could be the season where things get pointed in the right direction.

Lootmeister's Pick to Win the NFC North in 2017: Green Bay Packers, but the real betting value might lie with the Vikings and Lions. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and make NFL prop bets by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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