We are finally back. I know, it’s been seemingly a lifetime since our last betting article here on the site. After Governor J.B. Pritzker decreed that Illinois residents could no longer sign-up for sportsbooks, it has taken a bit for us to get back to it. So without further ado, let us get right into it.
Coming into the 2021 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears were projected to finish third in the NFC North division next year after claiming second last season behind the Green Bay Packers. They sat at around +600 to win the NFC North in 2021 and with Mitch Trubisky out the door and Andy Dalton seemingly becoming the new starting QB, things started looking pretty dim for the Bears franchise again after having so much optimism after their 2018 season in which they went 12-4. Then a whole bunch of crazy stuff happened over the last several days, and the Bears’ odds went from +600 all the way down to +290. Let’s dive into it.
I know that heading is lame and I got it off the internet, but hey, it’s correct. Everyone and their brother knew that the Bears needed a QB in the worst way possible. With the stench of the Trubisky pick still strong in the air around the organization, there was a scary feeling that they would repeat history and trade up for an unproven talent like Trey Lance. After all, general manager Ryan Pace is known for making terrible trades and giving up draft picks over his tenure. Trubisky obviously was the worst of all, but other guys like Anthony Miller were the result of a failed trade-up.
The New York Giants had the 11th pick in the 2021 NFL draft and after getting sidestepped by their rival Philadelphia, who traded one pick ahead of them to take Alabama receiver De’Vonta Smith, GM Dave Gettleman decided it was time to trade out and collect picks. Ryan Pace was already on hold. After giving up next year’s 1st and 4th, and this year’s 1st and 5th, the Bears had the 11th pick. They drafted Ohio State QB Justin Fields, an electric player who many thought was the second-best QB in the draft outside of Trevor Lawrence who went to Jacksonville #1 overall. He will look to save a franchise on the brink of collapsing and become the first real franchise QB the Bears have had in a long time.
Rodgers Future In Jeopardy
This is what really flipped the odds. A report came out just before the draft that suggested Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers All-Pro QB and defending MVP, had told his teammates that he had no intention of returning to the Packers. Obviously, that would be a massive blow to the Packers organization, while other teams in the North would party like it’s 2007. Rodgers has owned the Bears since he replaced the legendary Brett Favre in Green Bay. He is an astounding 21-5 against Chicago, the best record of any starting QB against another team by win% in NFL history.
To put it lightly, getting Rodgers out of the NFC North would be the biggest win the Bears have had over the Packers in 15 years. It would open up a path to winning again, where the Bears may actually have a chance to get to the Super Bowl if they can put a team together. Frankly, the rest of the North isn’t very frightening. Kirk Cousins, the starting QB in Minnesota, doesn’t show up in big games and is very underwhelming. The Lions now have failed Rams QB Jared Goff, who has been to a Super Bowl but has significantly regressed since 2018.
How The North Stacks Up
Here’s how the oddsmakers are projecting the NFC North to finish up after the NFL draft.
The Packers are still the favorite because, well, Rodgers is still on the team. Unless he is traded, that won’t change. It is somewhat surprising to see the Vikings ahead of the Bears considering Chicago was actually better than them last season, and the Vikings haven’t made any huge additions. The Lions are the Lions.
A bet on the Bears or Vikings to win the North right now isn’t a bad bet considering the plus money you’re getting and the real possibility Rodgers leaves. With the additions of Fields and OT Tevon Jenkins, the Bears have a reason for hope, while the Packers enter a time of uncertainty.