Welcome to Bet Labs 2016 NFL preview series where we will look at all eight of the league’s divisions. As part of the preview, we will highlight each team’s chances of winning their respective division and take a look at their season win total.

To create our projections we simulated the 2016 NFL season 10,000 times using our NFL Strength of Schedule.

Previous division previews: NFC East, AFC East, today the NFC North.

Green Bay Packers

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 9.13.35 AM

2015 Record: 10-6

Home Games: NYG, DAL, IND, HOU, SEA

Away Games: JAX, ATL, TEN, WAS, PHI

The Cheeseheads reached the playoffs in 2015 for a seventh consecutive season but failed to win the NFC North for a fifth straight year. Coupled with an overtime loss to Arizona in the Divisional Round, 2015 left a bad taste in the mouth of many Packers fans. Fret not Green Bay, the status quo will return to the division as the Packers are projected to win the NFC North with an 11-5 record (occurs 20.5% of the time). The 11 wins would be the seventh double-digit win season for the Packers in the last eight years and the fifth time that an Aaron Rodgers led team has won 11 or more games in a season.

Packers O/UOver%Under%Implied Odds

Green Bay has a better chance of winning more than 11 games (26.4%) than Chicago does of having a winning record (more than 8 wins: 24.2% chance). There would be value in taking the Packers over 11 wins if you got +201 odds or better.

Minnesota Vikings

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 9.14.01 AM

2015 Record: 11-5

Home Games: NYG, HOU, AZ, DAL, IND

Away Games: TEN, CAR, PHI, WAS, JAX

The surprise of the NFC North in 2015, Minnesota improved its record by four wins and went 11-5 on the way to capturing the division for the first time since 2009. Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the ageless Adrian Peterson led the way offensively as a young defense produced three Pro Bowlers. On paper the Vikings are positioned to take the North again but could be in line for regression based on Pythagorean wins and record in close games.

After 10,000 simulations of the 2016 season, Minnesota’s average record is 9-7, which occurs 20.2% of the time.

Vikings O/UOver%Under%Implied Odds

The public is on the Vikings’ over and bookmakers have set the juice at -145 on over 9.5 wins. That means there is value on taking the under at +115.

Chicago Bears

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.29.31 AM


2015 Record: 6-10

Home Games: PHI, JAX, TEN, SF, WAS

Away Games: HOU, DAL, IND, TB, NYG

The coaching carrousel continued to spin last year for Chicago. John Fox took over for Marc Trestman as the third new head coach for the Bears in the last four seasons. The early returns were disappointing. The season began on a three game losing streak and Chicago was officially eliminated from the playoffs in Week 14. The Bears struggled to stay healthy as just four players started all 16 games. In our projections Chicago has a 42.9% chance of winning eight or more games (injury luck could play a big role) but the team is most likely to finish 7-9.

Bears O/UOver%Under%Implied Odds

If you could get over 7.5 wins at +133 or better odds there would be value in placing that wager.

Detroit Lions

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 10.29.49 AM

2015 Record: 7-9

Home Games: TEN, PHI, LA, WAS, JAX

Away Games: IND, HOU, NO, NYG, DAL

Will the real Lions please stand up. Detroit began the 2015 season on a six game losing streak, which resulted in the team President, General Manager, offensive coordinator and two other coaches getting canned. In the second half of the season Detroit went 6-2 including the team’s first win in Green Bay since 1991. So which version will we get in 2016? The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The most likely record for the Lions in 2016 is 7-9 (occurs 20.2% of the time) and the franchise wins eight or more game 37.1% of the time.

Lions O/UOver%Under%Implied Odds

Vegas agrees with our projections. The oddsmakers have set the Lions’ over/under at 7 games. There would be value in placing an over bet if you can get +116 or better odds.

It is a two horse race for the NFC North crown. The Packers are the favorites and if Green Bay slips then Minnesota is likely to win back-to-back division titles. Chicago and Detroit are longshots to win the division but the same was said of Minnesota last year.

TeamDivision Win Probability
Green Bay Packers56.0%
Minnesota Vikings31.8%
Chicago Bears6.8%
Detroit Lions5.4%

Check back tomorrow when we review the NFC North.