While the NFL season remain on the horizon, the futures market provides plenty of edges. Between win totals and line on outright division winners, a few key bets standout within each division. This piece will focus on the NFL North, looking at win totals within the division. Check out the Awesemo OddShopper tool for the best lines and up to date betting odds. Let’s get into some NFL futures with my NFL betting picks for 2020.
NFL is BACK … Get 25% off!
The Fantasy Football season is just *days away,* and with kickoff coming shortly, we’re slashing our Awesemo NFL Monthly Pass by 25% if you use promo code SLEEPER. The Awesemo NFL Monthly Pass includes FREE access to our new season long and best ball fantasy football draft kit, as well as ownership projections, the NFL top stack tool and much more! Use promo code SLEEPER before it expires on Wednesday, 9/9/20.
NFL Betting Picks: NFC North Win Totals
***NFL betting picks odds at time of writing***
Green Bay Packers – Over 8.5 Wins -137 (DraftKings)
While the Packers appeared to take a rebuilding strategy in the NFL Draft, they return largely the same roster from their 2019 team that went to the NFC Championship. Even with a similar roster, they enter the season with the second highest win total within the division. With a winnable schedule on deck, taking over 8.5 wins remains the play.
On offense, the Packers lose just three starters in Geronimo Allison, Jimmy Graham and Bryan Bulaga. While Bulaga remains the biggest loss, the Packers also picked up Rick Wagner to join an already deep offensive line group. As for the receivers, neither Graham nor Allison eclipsed 447 receiving yards. With Allen Lazard emerging late in the season, these losses look like addition by subtraction.
On defense, the Packers lose just Blake Martinez and Tramon Williams among their starters. To replace Martinez, they brought in Christian Kirksey. Kirksey recorded back to back 100 tackle seasons before dealing with injuries the last two years. As for Williams, the Packers have two potential in-house replacements in Chandon Sullivan and Josh Jackson. Jackson remains a former second-round pick, while Sullivan allowed a sub-50% catch rate and a 41.1 quarterback rating in his coverage.
For a team with a first-place schedule, the Packers drew a remarkable easy set of opponents. Outside of the NFC North, they face the AFC South and NFC South. In total, the Packers have eight games scheduled against opponents below eight-game win totals.
Minnesota Vikings – Under 9 Wins -105 (PointsBet)
A team actually favored to win the NFC North at +165, the Vikings roster underwent drastic changes this offseason. A team that went 10-6 on the foundation of a strong defense and run game, the Vikings could find themselves in closer games this year.
On offense alone, this team loses 1,000-yard receiver Stefon Diggs and starting guard Josh Kline. While Minnesota attempted to patch these holes by drafting Justin Jefferson and Ezra Cleveland, neither has been able to climb the depth chart in training camp. As it stands, the Vikings’ top two receivers remain Adam Thielen and former seventh-round pick Olabisi Johnson heading into the season.
However, the real trouble for Minnesota comes on the defensive side of the ball after losing four starting defensive backs and three starters on the defensive line. While the Vikings traded for Yannick Ngakoue to fill the void, Everson Griffen and Stephen Weatherly left in free agency. Michael Pierce also opted out over Covid-19 concerns. In the secondary, Minnesota used their other first round pick on TCU corner Jeff Gladney and a mid-round pick on Cameron Dantzler. However, this unit remain inexperienced after veterans Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander departed this offseason.
While Minnesota also draws weaker matchups in the NFC South and AFC South, their second-place schedule has them also set to face the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. Both teams possess solid defenses and explosive offenses, which could keep Minnesota below their nine-game win total.
Detroit Lions – Over 6.5 Wins -139 (BetMGM)
A team ravaged by injury last season; the Detroit Lions completely fell apart without Matthew Stafford in the fold. Prior to his injury, the Lions held a 3-4-1 record, with three of their losses coming by seven points or less. Now with Stafford back in the fold Detroit looks like a solid bet to eclipse 6.5 wins.
Outside of losing Graham Glasgow and Ricky Wagner, Detroit’s entire offense remains intact. While Glasgow and Wagner remain tough losses, Detroit addressed those positions by bringing in third round rookie Jonah Jackson and former Eagle Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
Still, Stafford’s presence remains vital to this team. Prior to injury, Stafford ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards with 2,499. With Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones already established on the roster, Detroit spent a first and second round pick in subsequent seasons on TJ Hockenson and D’Andre Swift. With elite weapons at every position, Stafford’s return should revitalize the offense.
On defense, the Lions lose two of their starting corners in Rashaan Melvin and Darius Slay. However, they spent a top five pick on Jeff Okudah and signed Desmond Trufant in free agency to fill the void. The Lions also bolstered their front seven with Jamie Collins and Danny Shelton after the group struggled with injuries. However, this unit continues to improve after Trey Flowers notched seven sacks and the Okwara brothers offer interesting potential off the edge.
Coming in with a last place schedule, Detroit matches up against the Washington Football team and the Arizona Cardinals in their non-divisional games. While the Lions hold fewer edges than the teams previously discussed, this team holds enough talent to eclipse their 6.5 win total.
Chicago Bears – Under 8 Wins -110 (BetMGM)
Projected for eight wins this season, the Chicago Bears enter 2020 fresh off an 8-8 season. The Bears benefited tremendously from positive variance, with six of their eight wins coming by seven points of less. After letting their roster remain largely the same, this team looks likely to drop below their win total this season.
On offense, the Bears brought in Nick Foles to compete with the incompetent Mitchell Trubisky. While Foles looks like a potential upgrade, he only completed 65.8% of his passes with 6.3 yards per attempt. Not to mention, sixth round rookie Gardner Minshew stole his starting job. Their offensive line remains intact outside of Kyle Long’s retirement, but they ranked 29th in adjusted line yards and bottom 12 in sacks allowed.
On defense, the Bears already lost corner Artie Burns to a non-contact injury after Prince Amukamara walked in free agency. With rookie Jaylon Johnson still recovering from shoulder surgery, this leaves Kyle Fuller, Buster Skrine and some combination of Kevin Toliver, Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor. Shelley and Victor are former day three picks, while Tolliver allowed a 112.4 passer rating in his coverage last year.
Already regressing from their 2018 playoff run, the Bears now draw the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants in addition to their NFC South and AFC South opponents. Due for negative regression after
NFL Betting Picks: Division Winner – Green Bay Packers +190 (FanDuel)
Despite entering the season with nearly the same roster, Green Bay sits at +190 to win the NFC North. With longer odds than the Vikings, Green Bay remains the play here.
Check out the AwesemoOdds home page for more NFL betting picks content.