Betting on the NFL's NFC North division has never been more intersting. And this, to be absolutely certain, isn't necessarily a good thing for sports gamblers. For the longest time, the Green Bay Packers have sat alone, at the top of the NFC North, lording over the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. There have been some mediocre to really good seasons put forth by each of those three teams, but the Packers have always been the face of this four team party. But is that about to change?
It's a fair question, one borne from the 2015 season, during which the Vikings racked up 11 wins and a division victory. Headlined by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, running back Adrian Peterson and wide receiver Stefon Diggs, the Vikings burst onto the scene in a big way, ironically riding their defense, not their offense, into the playoffs.
Though they lost in the wild card round, the point had been made: The Vikings are a team to be taken seriously, even by the Packers.
Still, the Packers carved out 10 victories of their own despite dealing with injuries to Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy, and a late season disappearing act from Randall Cobb. If they were even a semblance of healthy, the case can be made that this division would have once again been theirs to win.
Which brings us to main betting point: Green Bay and Minnesota are the only teams worth using as more than a single game play. Chicago is coming off a horrid six win season, and Detroit is working its way back from seven wins.
Neither of those two teams have done much to improve their standing. The Lions actually lost star receiver Calvin Johnson to retirement. Their No. 1 wideout is now Golden Tate. Seriously. And the Bears are just a mess overall. Jay Cutler was better than normal last season, and if wideout Alshon Jeffery is awarded a clean bill of health, the team could get better. But Chicago, like Detroit, isn't built to do anything more than, at absolute best, flirt with .500 status.
As single game investments in the right situation, the Bears and Lions are fine. All other action should be directed toward the Packers and Vikings, two teams with realistic postseason hopes.
Best NFC North Betting Lines
Come back here whenever you want to see the latest, and best, NFC North betting lines. It's even a good idea to return to this foreground multiple times.
Remember, the spreads, moneylines, overs and unders are liable to change for NFL games. It happens all the time. There is such a wide gap between the release of the odds and the actual kickoff of the game. A lot can happen in those few days—things that impact the lines.
Take this hypothetical example: The Green Bay Packers are seven point favorites against the Minnesota Vikings this upcoming Sunday. Once that line is made public, if the sportsbook in question fields a ton of action in favor of Green Bay, it may move the line to nine or 10 points, in which case you'll want to reconsider whatever bet you plan on making.
Minnesota could also announce that Adrian Peterson is unable to suit up that night, which would move the spread even further toward Green Bay.
It's important to keep tabs on these potential developments right up until you hit submit on your wager. Returning here, after all, could be the difference between making the correct bet and unknowingly laying down the wrong gamble.
What Are The NFC North Standings
This is the NFC North's standings. Use this page to boost up your futures acumen. Check it frequently to make sure you're apprised of all NFC North ongoings.
To wit: If you see that the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers are jostling for first and second place, respectively, in the NFC North division, you will know to direct all your midseason divisional futures toward them.
At that point, you'll also want to see how their records compare to those of NFC championship and Super Bowl contenders. If the division leaders, in turn, also adequately stack up to universally accepted powerhouses, they instantly become conference and Super Bowl plays.
These standings will also alert you to which teams you should avoid on the futures scale. Should you see that the Chicago Bears and Detroit Pistons aren't holding their own in the NFC North, that's the signal to table all midseason futures plays on their end at least until next season.
How To Win NFC North Bets
Below we'll give you a rule of thumb to follow when betting on each of the NFC North's four teams, along with some additional information sprinkled in at the end.
When gambling on the Chicago Bears, avoid the overs and unders altogether. Neither their offense nor defense is particularly good, but at the same time, they aren't especially bad on either side of the ball. The Bears ranked 23rd in points scored per game and 20th in points allowed per game last season.
They haven't made great strides in any one area over the offseason, which leaves them in that awkward middle ground, where they have no on field identity and, thus, no over or under specialty. That could change after the season starts, but you'll need to monitor their progress. Just don't begin the year playing their over/under slots.
On the Detroit Lions front, start out the 2016 campaign by embracing their spreads. To be more specific, warm up to betting against them on spreads. The Lions failed to rank in the top half of the league in points scored per game with Calvin Johnson catching Matthew Stafford's passes.
Just think of how bad they'll be in that aspect of the game in 2016. The defense that ranked 23rd in points allowed per contest, meanwhile, hasn't gotten any better.
So the Lions feel like a team that will struggle to score while proving incapable of preventing other teams from scoring. That'll make for a lot of blowouts. Thus, you should bet against them on most spreads.
Consider the Green Bay Packers over plays until they prove otherwise. Eddie Lacy is in better shape, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have both Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, plus Davante Adams, to which he can throw passes.
The offense should be even better than its 15th place standing last season, and the defense, which checked in at 12th in points allowed per game has alredy peaked. For now, with these Packers, it over plays all the way.
Finally, really think about using the Minnesota Vikings as the inverse of the Lions. By this, we mean you should bet in favor of them covering their spreads.
Their top five defense from last season is still intact, and the offense, which wrapped 2015 as the 16th most potent attack, should only improve now that Stefon Diggs and Teddy Bridgewater have another year of experience under their belts.
Follow these guidelines to start the 2016 crusade, while monitoring for any surprise changes during the first few weeks, and you'll be well on your way to profiting off NFC North wagers.