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As the calendar turns to June and summer gets underway, summer workouts for NFL teams are within earshot and training camps just over a month away. While there’s still a fair amount of time between now and what should be the start of the 2020 season, all signs point towards the season going on (mostly) as planned.
With the prospect of live football on the horizon, likely no group is happier than sportsbooks and their operators. The most popular (and bet on) sport offers bettors a plethora of betting options, perhaps none more popular than the futures market.
One future bet that has gained momentum in recent years with the legalization of sports betting, is the division winners.
The 2020 NFC North, according to bookmakers, is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in the league in 2020. According to our friends over at FanDuel, the Green Bay Packers (+175) and Minnesota Vikings (+175) are tied as the favorites, with the Chicago Bears (+320). and Detroit Lions (+650) trailing behind. You can find our consensus odds to win the NFC North here.
Here is where I see the most value as the season approaches in now just over three months.
Across the entire NFL landscape, potentially no division offers as much parity and competitiveness as the 2020 NFC North. If not just from an odds perspective.
While the Packers and Vikings remain the teams to beat, a third team, the Bears, has quietly been making strides over the past three seasons and I see them as having a legit chance to sneak in and win this division in 2020.
Unlike in Green Bay, a legit quarterback competition is underway in Chicago, between current starter Mitchell Trubisky and newcomer Nick Foles. With little competition as of yet due to the coronavirus pandemic, Foles still comes into it as not your average challenger.
Third-year Bear’s head coach Matt Nagy runs a system on offense that is a variation of Andy Reid’s that he used in Philadelphia. A system that Foles mastered on his way to winning the Eagles their first-ever Super Bowl Championship in 2017. Not only do I think Foles win this job come August, but it provides a significant upgrade at a position the Bears need it most.
Bears brass added two stud weapons for Foles (or Trubisky) to work with in 2020, in the form of free-agent tight end Jimmy Grahm and first-round draft pick Cole Kmet, both immediate impact type players.
On the defensive side of the ball, an already strong defense that gave up just 324.1 yards and 18.6 points per game in 2019, was bolstered even more this offseason. Cornerback Tre Roberson, a 2018 Canadian Football League Grey Cup winner, recorded nine interceptions in 2019 and will look to mirror that production behind one of the strongest pass rushes in the league.
Newcomer safety Tashon Gipson, who recorded 51 tackles and three interceptions in 2019 despite spending much of it on the IR, rounds out the 2020 Bear’s secondary.
With a veteran Super Bowl-winning quarterback at the helm, I like the Bears to take another step forward under the emerging star Nagy and win their second division title in three seasons. At over to 3 to 1 odds, this remains one of the best value plays left on the board.