The true NFL offseason is officially upon us. Mandatory minicamp has come to a close and players from all 32 teams have gone their separate ways. Most players will get some vacation time in while continuing to work out in preparation for the return to training camp in late July. Once training camp arrives, the road to Super Bowl 54 begins in earnest.
Each year, sports bettors are able to wager on where they think each team will finish up in the win column. Sportsbooks release a number for a team’s win total and you can bet over or under that number. If you land on the number, it’s a push, or tie.
Below are win totals for the four teams in the NFC North. The number in parenthesis is the juice on the over and the under. For example, if you bet the over on nine wins for the Bears, the payout is -130 (you bet $130 to win $100). If you bet the under, the payout is +110 (you bet $100 to win $110). That means the over is the favorite.
Sportsbooks are not predicting each team will win the number of games on the win total. Rather, they are setting a number so that they can get a similar amount of money on both sides of the wager. They do not want an extensive liability on one side or the other since then they would be relying on a specific outcome. With even money on both sides of a wager, the house will profit more often than not.
Now that roster overhauls are mostly complete and teams have finished up spring workouts, we took a few minutes to chat with site managers from each SB Nation team blog. They offered reasons why their team could end up over the win total and why their team could end up under the win total. The sites pay close attention to their teams and have more insight than your average national reporter.
Chicago Bears: 9 (-130, +110) — Windy City Gridiron
Why over: The Bears were 12-4 a year ago while working in a brand new offense with several brand new skill players. The year two bump of the Matt Nagy offense will be enough to counteract whatever minimal dropoff (if it drops off) that the defense may face from losing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Why under: Severe injuries would be the only thing that could have the Bears coming in under nine wins.
Green Bay Packers: 9 (-120, even) — Acme Packing Company
Why over: The Packers’ now-infamously antiquated offense under Mike McCarthy is gone. In comes Matt LaFleur, who intends to jolt this unit back to life with plenty of new concepts and a heavy dose of the running game. Combine that with a healthy, motivated Aaron Rodgers and a defense that got a major facelift in free agency and the draft and you have a team that should be right in contention for an NFC North title once again.
Why under: Success this year depends on Rodgers staying healthy and developing a connection with and faith in LaFleur. In addition, the Packers chose not to invest significantly in Rodgers’ receiving corps for 2019, meaning they will be relying heavily on the development of several young, unproven players. If any of those factors go against Green Bay and the team gets off to a slow start, a tough middle of the schedule could keep them from getting back over .500.
Minnesota Vikings: 9 (-110, -110) — Daily Norseman
Why over: Because the Vikings went into this offseason with one mission, that being to fix the offensive line. Between the hiring of coaches Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison, the signing of Josh Kline, and the drafting of Garrett Bradbury and Dru Samia, it appears that the Vikings have done that. The Vikings’ offensive line doesn’t have to be a top five offensive line. If they can even get to league average, this team has enough talent to be well over the nine wins that the books are putting them on. The defensive talent is still there and the offense should be better under Kirk Cousins in year two.
Why under: If the offensive line doesn’t get any better than they were last year, then the offense is going to have the same issues. They’re not going to be able to run the ball the way that Mike Zimmer wants, and that’s going to lead to the offense stalling out and Kirk Cousins being under siege once again. A rash of injuries on the defensive side of the ball could play a role in pushing the Vikings under that nine-win mark as well.
Detroit Lions: 6.5 (-125, +105) — Pride of Detroit
Why over: The Detroit Lions showed some improvement on defense toward the end of last year, and now they have a full defensive roster to Matt Patricia’s liking. Detroit hit six wins in one of Matthew Stafford’s worst seasons and a scheme-transition year on defense, so adding at least one more win should be this team’s floor in 2019.
Why under: The Lions’ offense is a huge question mark. They downgraded from Golden Tate to Danny Amendola. They’re making a questionable decision to focus more on the running game when passing offenses rule this era. And it always takes time to adjust to a new offensive scheme. The Lions’ offense could get off to a slow start, and that happens to be the toughest stretch of their schedule.
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Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.
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