The Green Bay Packers have been the team to beat in the NFC North for most of the timeframe since 1993, after Brett Favre arrived on the scene and later gave way to Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have won nine division titles in that timespan, made the playoffs five other times and won two Super Bowls. That includes the last two NFC North crowns and a Super Bowl run as a wild-card in 2010.
Green Bay’s rivals, Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota have considerably less in the way of pedigree. Only one Super Bowl victory between them, and you have to go back to the 1985 Chicago Bears for that one. Detroit is one of the few franchises to have never even made a Super Bowl, while Minnesota hasn’t been there since 1976.
The point of all this recent history is that it’s easy to under why Las Vegas has structured the betting odds on winning the NFC North in such a way that you can basically take the field against the Packers. Green Bay’s price for winning the division is 5-7. Meanwhile, Chicago is 18-5, Detroit clocks in at 4-1 and Minnesota is a 10-1 shot. If you bet equal amounts on all three teams and one of them takes down the leader, you turn a profit.
TheSportsNotebook’s NFL analysis at the links below walk through all four teams. I’m not optimistic about the prospects for the Bears and Lions, and while the Vikings’ playoff run of 2012 was nice, they don’t have a ceiling high enough to bet them to win the division. The odds might not be enticing, but the talent—and the history—say Green Bay brings this division home again.