It’s time to cash some of those future bets – and rip up some others. With the 2021 regular season in the books, we look back at the highs and lows of NFL game betting in the NFC North.
Green Bay Packers: Rodgers’ Dirty Laundry Didn’t Sully Season
If the NFC North competition were a boxing match, it would have been called after six (weeks). Green Bay already owned a two-game lead over Minnesota and Chicago, and five over Detroit, as a prohibitive -150 favorite to win the division in what was among the easiest NFL predictions. That number may have been higher if it were clearer that Aaron Rodgers would be on the team. And little did they know that their closest pursuers would wind up firing their coaches at season’s end.
The uncertainty of Rodgers’ situation also led to the Packers not receiving a solid regular-season win total. And to think that Green Bay has become the favorite to win the Super Bowl at +375 after losing in Jacksonville in Week 1. At least it wasn’t to the Jaguars. The Saints administered the 38-3 beating after they were forced to flee New Orleans because of Hurricane Ida. The Packers were a sparkling 12-5 against the spread – second only to Dallas’ 13-4 – despite losing three of four ATS down the stretch. They won nine straight ATS from Weeks 2-10. Those who backed the Packers ATS at $100 per pop pocketed an estimated profit of $670.
Minnesota Vikings: Quest for Success Didn’t Go Well
Betting the over 8½ on Minnesota wins for 2021 was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but that dough was misguided. The line quickly shot up to 9 – and at -130 to the over. Under RSW players rejoiced when the Vikings fell to 7-9 with a Week 17 loss at Green Bay. There was some hope for Minnesota winning the division at +275 when betting online, but that never materialized after a 1-3 start left them too much to do. The Vikings had a league-most games go over with 11 after seven of its last eight went high, providing an estimated profit of $440 betting every over for $100. Minnesota was 9-8 against the spread, winning three straight ATS in the middle of the season.
The Vikings at +120 to make the playoffs could have been construed as a good bet in August. Minnesota rallied to even its record at 7-7 and give itself a shot, but a close home loss to the Rams ended those hopes. The club’s lackluster performance cost Mike Zimmer his job. Zimmer was 72-56-1 in seven seasons as Vikings coach.
Statement from Mike Zimmer pic.twitter.com/EcXSv85Au2
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) January 11, 2022
Chicago Bears: Monsters of the Midway Show Nagy the Door
Betting the over for Chicago wins was more the rage than that move on Minnesota. The number opened at seven before shooting up to eight. Once there, it closed at -130 to the under, making it one of the biggest moves in the league. Well that play fell short of space exploration in the realms of success as eight was unattainable after Week 15. The Bears won their next two to keep those who got them at over seven alive for a push, but the club lost at Minnesota in Week 18 to finish 6-11 straight-up. Chicago was +300 to win the division in the Las Vegas odds. A 3-2 start gave those supporters a reason to believe, but a 24-14 loss to Green Bay in Week 6 put those dreams to bed.
The Bears shared the league’s third-worst record against the spread at 6-11 after going 3-9 down the stretch. That included a five-game ATS slide with the only straight-up victory over then-still winless Detroit. Chicago had a string of six straight unders early in the season and finished with 10. The Bears patiently waited until the season was over to fire coach Matt Nagy, whose fate was probably sealed after his Monday Night Football meltdown in Week 15.
Detroit Lions: Impressive on the Board, Not on the Field
Detroit didn’t have much success on the field with a 3-13-1 straight-up record, but bettors who backed the Lions against the spread had a profitable campaign. Detroit, which was the underdog in every game, finished 11-6-0 ATS – third-best in the NFL. That’s a tidy estimated profit of more than $400 based on betting the Lions at $100 per game. Detroit alternated wins and losses ATS over their first eight games before catching fire at the windows, ripping off four straight ATS wins and going 7-2 ATS down the stretch.
The Lions’ preseason win total was five, prompting enough doubters to make the under -130. Those odds eventually became flat when some overly optimistic players got involved. Detroit had the under wrapped up with a loss at Atlanta in Week 16 en route to nailing down the second pick in the NFL draft. The Lions were +2500 to wear the NFC North crown – the highest odds for any club to win a division – and shared the highest odds to win the Super Bowl with Houston at +15000. The -1000 to not make the playoffs seems like a bargain now.