On the eve of the 2019 NFL Draft, which began Thursday, FanDuel Sportsbook posted the odds to win each of the NFL’s eight divisions for next season. There are a number of NFL betting surprises on the board, including the NFC North where the oddsmakers are expecting a rebound season from Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers.
Packers, Bears NFC North Co-Favorites
We already knew about the Week 1 matchup in Chicago.— Green Bay Packers (@packers) April 18, 2019
Now we know the rest of the NFC North story.
Division showdowns at start & finish jump out on #Packers schedule 📰: https://t.co/hIcWf4nDhspic.twitter.com/4QbBIcXgg4
One of the biggest surprises from the divisional lines is that the Chicago Bears (+180) and Green Bay Packers (+180) have the same odds to win the NFC North. Remember, the Bears won 12 games and were a hair shy of being the top seed in the NFC in 2018. The Packers were 6-9-1, self-combusted down the stretch and ended up firing head coach Mike McCarthy.
The Bears didn’t need to do much in free agency but they landed safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and a decent running back in Mike Davis. As for the Packers, the oddsmakers are showing faith in Aaron Rodgers as the team made wholesale changes. They spent $183 million in contracts, adding safety Adrian Amos, who left the Bears, plus pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith.
The biggest change will be head coach Matt LaFleur, who is a young, creative offensive mind. Can he get on the same page with Rodgers and reignite the offense? The oddsmakers seem to believe there’s a good chance of that.
The Minnesota Vikings (+200) are a close third in the odds while the Detroit Lions (+1600) are a distant fourth.
Another year, another AFC East title. That’s what FanDuel is expecting as the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (-700), who have won this division 10 times in a row, are a sizable favorite. It’s easy to see why as the Miami Dolphins (+3300) are in full-on rebuilding mode, while the Buffalo Bills (+1000) and New York Jets (+700) would merely be happy with a .500 record.
This sets up well for the Patriots to again run away with the division.
Browns Expected to Win AFC North
Didn't make a first-round pick for the first time since 2008.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 26, 2019
But that's OK 🙂 pic.twitter.com/tQ4AahU6BK
The Browns (+140) are favored to win the AFC North. Let that sink in for a minute. If you’re wondering when was the last time you saw them as a preseason favorite to win a division, it hasn’t happened since the franchise re-entered the league in 1999.
Cleveland followed up an impressive finish to 2018, with five wins in the final seven games, by acquiring star wideout Odell Beckham Jr., running back Kareem Hunt and quality defensive linemen Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson.
At the same time, there has been an exodus of talent from their biggest rivals. The Pittsburgh Steelers (+190) lost Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Jesse James, while the Baltimore Ravens (+250) lost C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith, John Brown and Eric Weddle. The Cincinnati Bengals are well behind at +1400.
That leaves the Browns as the division frontrunner heading into the 2019 season, even if they haven’t had a winning season in 11 years. They are faced with high expectations, as evidenced by the fact that only Kansas City and New England have shorter odds to win the AFC.
We’ll see if the Browns can finally deliver or whether their fans are in for one more year of disappointment.