All the NFL odds used in this series are courtesy of LVH Sportsbook in Las Vegas. So, let’s take a look at where the sportsbooks rank each team in this division based on their season wins total odds and assess them for our NFL picks.
The Packers come in at an even 10 wins, with the ‘Over’ priced in at -120, and the ‘Under’ at an even +100. Green Bay’s road to the playoffs will not be easy based on their opponents’ 2012 winning percentage. The Packers rank 6th in the NFL in strength of schedule, and even though they have a tough road, this team is poised to do it. They had a great draft, and even though there are concerns about their young running game and the offensive line, I think Green Bay could make a push for double digit wins. They have a tough opening test at San Francisco in Week 1, and in the first half of their schedule they have to play on the road against four playoff teams from a season ago. That is one of the many reasons why there is not another ½ win attached to them.
Despite having a new head coach this season, and despite the Vikings beating them out for the playoffs, the Bears come in at 8 ½ wins this season, after a 10-6 SU season a year ago. Unlike their divisional rivals, the Bears’ strength of schedule is right in the middle this offseason at 16th in the NFL. All the other teams in their division have a SOS ranked in the top 10 in the NFL. Chicago has some talent, but will the loss of Brian Urlacher and the coaching turnover be too much for this team? They did add some nice players on the two lines and in the line-backing core, so if anything is certain, this defense is still likely going to be very good.
A lot of people are surprised by the Vikings having only 7 ½ wins this season after going 10-6 a year ago, and even more surprised that the ‘Over’ and ‘Under’ are priced the same at -110. However the Vikes have the 10th highest strength of schedule this season, and with the exception of a couple of home games against Cleveland and Carolina, the first half of their schedule is not that fun. On top of that, five of their last eight games of the season are against playoff teams from a season ago, and four of those five games are on the road. Those four teams include the Seahawks, Packers, Ravens and Bengals. Good luck, Vikings, because you’re not going to have the element of surprise on your side this year, you’ll just have the best running back that has ever played the game.
This has to be the most surprising win total of any team in the NFL odds this season. The Lions come in priced at -110 in both sides of this bet, but I can think of no better wager than the ‘Under’ for the Lions. Detroit has the 2nd highest strength of schedule this season, only behind the Panthers. Every week this team is facing adversity, whether it is a good team or an ok or bad team on the road. They have three separate occasions where they play consecutive games on the road during the season, and half of their games this season will be against 2012 playoff teams because they of course play the Vikings and Packers twice. I’d be surprised if the Lions got six wins this season, let alone seven or more.
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