Betting Markets Crown 2023 NFC North Champ

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

It is no secret that the media and betting markets hated the Vikings in 2022. There was good reason for that, as the defense was atrocious. However, the betting markets and media might have overcorrected now.

Betting Markets Crown 2023 NFC North Champ

Currently, the favorite to win the NFC North is the Lions at +110. Meanwhile, the Vikings are coming off of a 13-win season and are +350, which is the same odds as the Bears. Why the markets believe the Vikings and Bears are on the same wavelength is baffling.

The markets even have the Lions with the 8th-best odds and the 4th-best odds of NFC teams to win the Super Bowl.

This whole thing seems ridiculous at the moment. Maybe I am too much of a homer here, but the Lions haven’t won the NFC North since 1991, and the Bears were the worst team in all of football last year.

Don’t get me wrong. The Lions were a pretty good team last year. Their offense was electric at times, and Goff was humming. However, we have seen Goff have good years before and then regress substantially. It is not unrealistic to believe that Goff regresses again.

Additionally, have the Lions really done enough to improve their defense this offseason?

betting markets crown
Lions GM Brad Holmes speaks to the media on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Allen Park. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Sure, they added a few pieces to their secondary, like Emmanuel Moseley, Cameron Sutton, CJ GJ, and Brian Branch. There is a good chance this secondary will be substantially better than what they fielded in 2022. However, their defensive line is Aidan Hutchinson and then some dudes.

The Lions completely whiffed on the draft by taking an RB and LB in the first round when they could have added some key defensive linemen like Jalen Carter and Myles Murphy. Most people saw this decision as a huge mistake.

All this said, it is not like the Vikings have done anything of greatness this offseason. The Vikings’ defense will roll into the season with one starting CB and a bunch of guys that still need to prove they can hang in the NFL.

The question that needs to be answered is, how do the Vikings and Lions stack up head to head?

Betting Markets Crown Lions over Vikings for NFC North

Now, to be fair to the betting markets, it is really just the outcome of who people are betting on. Currently, more people are betting on the Lions to win the NFC North than the Vikings, so the market adjusts accordingly by making the potential payout less. That is really it. The “house” is protecting itself from potential losses.

We as fans need to look at both of these teams, and I guess the Bears and Packers, to see how they stack up against each other.

At first glance, the answer is simple, the Vikings and Lions are basically the same team. Neither team has a very good defense, but both offenses are loaded. Although, the edge on offense has to go to the Vikings. Let’s break it down by positions:

  • QB: Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins are very close to the same
  • RB: Cook for now but Gibbs could be the guy
  • FB: Ham
  • WR1: Jefferson and there is no argument to be made
  • WR2: Addison will likely be the better WR2 by the end of the year
  • TE: Hockenson
  • LT: Darrisaw, obviously
  • LG: Jackson
  • C: Ragnow
  • RG: Vaitai (maybe Ingram takes a massive leap in year 2?)
  • RT: O’Neill, obviously
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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports.

When comparing players at each position, it becomes clear that the Vikings have a better skill position group and offensive tackles. However, the interior offensive line for the Lions is much better.

There is a good chance that the Lions can win the division for the first time in over 30 years. Their offense is good enough, and they did try to make some improvements on defense. Although, it is still odd to have the Betting Markets this high on a team that hasn’t done much but disappoint for the last 30 years.

For now, the markets and bettors are welcome to have their reckless speculation. But these teams still need to step on the field and show the world they have what it takes.

My money is on the Vikings to take a division that is as weak as the NFC North.

Mitch Massman is a lifelong Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3