Packers’ Playoff Odds Now Even with Bears as Chicago’s Kicker Search Continues

  • The Chicago Bears had a bizarre kicking competition this offseason, which resulted in Eddy Pineiro winning the job
  • The Bears face the fifth-toughest schedule, according to SBD's Strength of Schedule ratings
  • The Green Bay Packers added Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage

The Chicago Bears won 12 games last season and return most of their roster, so it’s a bit of a surprise that they’re not bigger favorites to win the NFC North Division.

Instead, as the offseason has progressed, bettors have been betting the Green Bay Packers. Both teams now have identical -120 odds to make the NFC playoffs (on average). Which is the better bet?

2019 NFC Odds To Make The Playoffs at BetOnline

TeamOdds to Make Playoffs at BetOnline*Odds to Miss Playoffs at BetOnline
Arizona Cardinals+700-1000
Atlanta Falcons+140-160
Carolina Panthers+210-250
Chicago Bears-115-105
Dallas Cowboys+105-125
Detroit Lions+425-550
Green Bay Packers-110-110
Los Angeles Rams-220+180
Minnesota Vikings+110-130
New Orleans Saints-300+250
New York Giants+400-500
Philadelphia Eagles-210+175
San Francisco 49ers+175-210
Seattle Seahawks+150-170
Tampa Bay Buccaneers+600-800
Washington Redskins+450-600

*Odds as of 22/08/19.

Will the Bears Regress?

The Bears did a really good job this offseason as their roster didn’t need a lot of work. They picked up a quality safety in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and found more playmakers on offense in rookies Riley Ridley and David Montgomery. The cloud that’s been hanging over the team’s head, though, has been the kicking situation.

The Bears cut Cody Parkey after his game-winning field goal attempt in the Wild Card round last season missed after it was tipped. The Bears have gone on a bizarre version of survivor series with kickers, leaving Eddy Pineiro as their guy. Many still feel Parkey is a better kicker than anyone that’s tried out.

My concern with the Bears is that they look like a team that’s ready to regress. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky just looks like a run-of-the-mill starter still and that’s not going to work. Last season, the Bears mostly beat up on losing teams but this year’s schedule figures to be much tougher.

2019 NFL Divisional Odds Tracker

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To start, the Bears place the AFC West and NFC East, which are two challenging divisions. They also play the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, the two NFC finalists from last season. Chicago also loses a home game as they have to go to London to face the Oakland Raiders. The Bears have the fifth-toughest strength of schedule.

I’m looking for this team to regress to about 9-7 or 8-8, which means I don’t see them in the playoffs. I like the ‘No’ with this prop in terms of their 2019 playoff odds.

Will the Packers Rebound?

The Packers also had a very positive offseason as they hired a new head coach, beefed up their defense and look like they’ll be back in playoff contention.

On defense, they spent first-round picks on Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage, then also signed linebackers Za’Darius and Preston Smith, and safety Adrian Amos. On offense, the addition of a young mind like Matt LaFleur should revive a unit that had become very stagnant.

But I’m also not sold that the Packers are a playoff team. There’s been some friction between star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and LaFleur. The receiving corps still has many question marks behind Davante Adams. Will that change?

On defense, Gary has already struggled in preseason. Za’Darius Smith had 8.5 sacks last year but had just 3.5 in 2017 and one sack in 2016. The Ravens didn’t work too hard to keep him. As for Preston Smith, he had just four sacks last year and the Redskins weren’t too keen on keeping him. That might tell us something.

The same goes with Amos, who the Bears easily replaced with Clinton-Dix. The theme is about the same: are these players quality starters or did they benefit by playing on elite defenses where other players helped make them look better?

I’m also unconvinced about the defensive line beyond Dean Lowry and Kenny Clark, and the cornerbacks group is thin behind Jaire Alexander. (Kevin King has been out.) They’ve improved on defense but how much? And with questions on offense too, I’m not sold that this team is going to the playoffs.

What’s The Best Bet?

It feels weird to bet on Rodgers missing the playoffs for three straight seasons but I just can’t trust this team right now. If I had to bet on a team to win this division or make the playoffs, I’d opt for the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears have a tough schedule and an average quarterback, and the Packers have too many questions for my liking.

The post Packers' Playoff Odds Now Even with Bears as Chicago's Kicker Search Continues appeared first on Sports Betting Dime.

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