Betting | Aug 11, 2023

2023/24 NFC North Odds, Analysis & Predictions

By Harry Bazley


You know the NFC North is in a serious state when Detroit are favourites to win the division. The Lions haven't won the title since 1993, and sure, they've been on the rise since Jared Goff took over, but to see them at the top of the odds is a shock to say the least.

The loss of Aaron Rodgers will certainly shake up the NFC, leaving the Packers with Jordan Love at the helm who has just 2 years of bench-riding under his belt. He may have learned a lot from the veteran, but nobody really knows how things will pan out for Green Bay.

Meanwhile, the Vikings are coming off a very solid 13-4 season and without Rodgers around, they now have the best quarterback in the division in Kirk Cousins. Plus, the Bears have plenty of buzz around Justin Fields, who has the most votes to bag MVP out of anyone in the NFC North, but Chicago still rank dead last in the odds.

Preseason will give us a hint at the quality of each team, but until we see starting squads on the field, it's nearly impossible to know how this division will pan out. Regardless, we're going to analyse the info and make our prediction for the outcome of the NFC North.

NFC North Best Odds

Team Best Odds Sportsbook
Detroit Lions +145 FanDuel
Minnesota Vikings +300 888 Sport
Green Bay Packers +425 bet365
Chicago Bears +430 FanDuel

Detroit Lions (+145)

Despite falling short of the division title for the last 20 years, the Detroit Lions are now favorites to win the NFC North this season at +145 in the FanDuel sportsbook.

Since Dan Campbell took over as head coach in 2021, the Lions have been one of the best bets in the league with a 23-11 record beating the spread. So, they regularly exceed the bookmakers expectations, but have they finally been overestimated?

Well, Detroit has a long history of struggling early on but finding their feet in the second half of the season, and last year was no different... After a 1-6 start, Campbell managed to win 8 of the next 10 matchups to grab second place in the division, finishing 9-8 on the year. If he can find a positive record before the bye, we may well see the Lions in the playoffs.

The offensive roster is fairly similar this season, with Campbell holding onto his top coordinators and Jared Goff still steering the ship ahead of new signing Teddy Bridgewater. They may have lost D.J. Chark Jr but Marvin Jones Jr. will take his place as the backup to Goff's favourite outlet - Amon-Ra St. Brown. Bigger changes are found in the backfield, with the addition of David Montgomery and 12th overall pick Jahmyr Gibbs, who will take over the ground game following the loss of Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift. All five O-line starters will be returning to keep Goff safe. So, no real concerns on that side of the ball...

Meanwhile, the team leaders in tackles and sacks, Alex Anzalone and Aidan Hutchinson, are both back. Hutchinson was edged out for DROY by Sauce Gardner (and rightly so), but he could easily make a case for defensive player of the year this season. Plus, he'll be backed up by a revamped secondary with the likes of Cameron Sutton, cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and second-round safety Brian Branch - all players who should make a much needed impact on a defense that ranked 29th in points allowed last season...

So, Campbell certainly has the tools to make it work and he already proved that in the second half of last season. He now has plenty of new additions that should bring some life to a lacklustre defense while the offense continues to do its thing - ranking 5th in points per game. Honestly, it's looking good for the Lions, but I can't shake the feeling that another 8 or 9 win season is in the cards. Sorry Detroit.

Minnesota Vikings (+300)

The defending NFC North champs fall to second place in the sportsbooks at +300 (888 Sport) for the upcoming season.

Now, we can't talk about the Vikings without mentioning one key thing... Despite allowing more points than they scored last year, Kevin O'Connell somehow managed to find 13 wins in the schedule. No other team in history has won more than 11 games with a negative scoring differential and the last 9 teams who reached the playoffs with that stat line, all failed to reach the postseason the following year. You can look at that in one of two ways: either there's something special about Kirk Cousins & Co. or they're doomed if they don't up their game.

With that being said, they didn't just get lucky - they battled their way to 13 wins by tying the NFL record with 8 fourth-quarter comebacks in a single season, including the largest comeback of all time against the Colts (33 points). And what's more, they also went 11-0 in close games. On the other hand, when they lose, they get completely blown out. But so long as they only face Philly and KC once a year, that should be a rare occurrence.

Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson are returning to lead the air-raid offense, while rookie Jordan Addison will take the WR2 spot following Adam Thielen's move to Carolina. Jefferson was seriously special last season as he led the league in receiving yards, but consistency was a slight issue as he was held to less than 50 yards in 7 games. If O'Connell wants the same level of production from his offense this year, Jefferson will need to maintain the high numbers he's capable of while Addison finds his feet in the big league.

All of that is perfectly possible, but Minnesota took some big hits to the roster this offseason. Notably letting several Pro Bowl veterans go - including Patrick Peterson, Dalvin Cook, Eric Kendricks and Za’Darius Smith - and failing to find replacements of the same calibre. Alexander Mattison will take over the backfield, and is undoubtedly a solid runner, but he doesn't have the experience as a starter to put full faith in their ground game.

So, the Vikings still have good old Mr. Consistent leading the offense alongside his breakout star Justin Jefferson. And sure, there are a few additions that could make an impact elsewhere, but with such big losses to both sides of the ball, it's tough to see Minnesota holding onto their title this season.

Green Bay Packers (+425)

The Green Bay Packers have fallen to third in the odds to win the NFC North at +425 in the bet365 sportsbook.

After decades of stability, Green Bay have now entered the unknown after the loss of future Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. The Jordan Love era has begun and nobody really knows where he can take them. But as far as Matt LaFleur is concerned, he knew long ago that Love was ready for the starting spot and has full confidence in his abilities.

Still, LaFleur is working with a young roster with little-to-no experience on NFL turf. He does have the safety net of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to fall back on, but you don't need an expert to tell you that a division-winning offense requires more than just a solid run scheme.

The Packers struggled last year without a standout receiver after Davante Adams moved to Vegas. Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs will be the top outlets for Love, both of which are talented route runners, but it will be a few years before either player is a truly dominant receiver. That being said, Watson showed great potential last season - scoring 8 touchdowns in a single month at one point. If Love-to-Watson is the real deal, then Green Bay could make it work. But something tells me we're looking at a rocky start before they find a good rhythm, at which point it'll be too late to make a run at the division title.

Chicago Bears (+430)

Last in the odds to win the NFC North are the Chicago Bears at +430 in the FanDuel sportsbook.

After finishing last year 3-14 it's no surprise to see Chicago at the bottom of the pile. They had the worst ranked defense in the league, and a QB who was forced to do his best running back impression for most of the year.

Don't get me wrong, Justin Fields is the best running quarterback in the league, but when your offense produces the worst record for passing yards per attempt, there are serious questions to be asked. And with just one offseason to drastically improve both sides of the ball, it's impossible to see Chicago challenging for the throne anytime soon.

Matt Eberflus made some good moves, like picking up Tremaine Edmunds and DJ Moore, but it won't be enough to give Fields the MVP campaign that the Windy City is calling for.

In his last outing against a dismal Detroit defense, Justin Fields logged just 30 passing yards on 28 passing plays, and the only highlight you’ll see from that game is a 60-yard run. DJ Moore won't fix this, and Tremaine Edmunds won't scratch the surface when they lose 41-10 to the 3rd worst defense in the league.

Another losing season is in the pipeline for Chicago.

Prediction: Detroit Lions

So, the Packers may have a great record of success and perhaps the top coach in the division, but they have the biggest unknown in Jordan Love. And the Bears have the potential of Justin Fields breaking out as a passer, but that still feels a few years away.

What's left is a toss up between the Vikings and Lions, both of which I don't expect to massively improve on last year's performance. It's highly likely that the division winner this season will go 9-8, so who will it be?

With the two sides meeting in Week 16 and 18, it could come right down to the wire. I expect both sides to have a fairly even win-loss record so every game will count. The Lions will have home-field advantage in Week 18, which could be a big enough difference in itself.

But it all comes down to roster changes in the end... Minnesota have lost some of the biggest names in football this offseason and have done very little to replace them. Meanwhile, Detroit has bolstered both sides of the ball, including the addition of the second-best back in the draft class and an entirely new secondary which was their biggest issue last season.

It's tough to trust the Lions to bring it home, but until we see more from Love, Fields and a change to Minnesota's defense, this is Dan Campbell's chance to put Detroit on top for the first time in two decades.

Will Detroit fix find consistency for once? Or will Jordan Love shock us all?

Let us know your thoughts on Twitter & Instagram and be sure to follow for all the latest sports and betting news.

(Header Image Credit: Lon Horwedel - USA TODAY Sports)

Want to see more division odds and predictions?

Check out the following articles: