Can the Chicago Bears contend in the NFC North, or will it take a couple seasons?
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Well, here we are, just one month away from the new NFL season opening.
For fans of teams in the NFC North, that month might be one of the longest they have endured in a long time.
When you take a look at the futures odds on the division today, the Green Bay Packers (odds of around -135 with most sportsbooks) are the clear favorites over the Minnesota Vikings (odds of +275), Chicago Bears (odds of +360), and the Detroit Lions (odds of +2000).
But there is the lingering specter of the Aaron Rodgers situation hanging over the NFC North, and really all of the NFC. Will he be a Packer when the whistle blows in New Orleans on Sunday, September 12th to kick off the new campaign for Green Bay?
That is the huge question.
The division odds would change on a dime if Rodgers is traded to Denver, for both the NFC North and AFC West (although the Chiefs would still be the division favorite there, but it would shorten.)
So can the Chicago Bears win the North in the new 17-game season?
Well, the odds suggest that some sportsbooks might be hedging a little on Green Bay, waiting to see what happens. But they might also be waiting to see who wins the quarterback job in Chicago.
Can Justin Fields be that guy from day one?
If he is, the Bears could be right in the mix in the NFC North, especially if the Rodgers situation is not resolved by opening day. But if Rodgers is under center for the Packers for the whole season, it is going to be tough to knock them off at the top of the division.
If you are high on the Bears this season, maybe the better way to go with them is the over/under win total and betting them to make the playoffs.
Right now, the Bears over/under total is 7.5. Remember, this is the first year there will be 17 regular season games. So an 8-9 record would get you the over, as would anything above that. Chicago also has odds of +160 to make the playoffs, with odds of -200 to miss the playoffs. The Illinois sportsbooks are confident that the Bears will miss out, but you could make some decent money if you think Fields can come in and change this team right from the opening contest.
You can also get Fields at odds of +600 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, which is second on the list behind Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence. That might be the play.
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