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NFL odds, predictions: Two division winners bets we’re backing

Nick Hennion of The Action Network breaks down his two best NFL division winner bets.

FOR ACTION NETWORK USE ONLY. CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 12: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens throws the ball during warm-up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
FOR ACTION NETWORK USE ONLY. CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 12: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens throws the ball during warm-up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)Read moreJason Miller / Getty Images

The calendar has officially turned to September, which means the NFL season is within reach.

Regular season play will kick off only six days from now with a marquee matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams. But, before that occurs, we still have some time to make our futures bets for the 2022-23 season. Today, we’ll focus on the division winner markets and our favorite plays to claim their respective divisions.

Without any further delay, let’s get right to the plays. All odds come courtesy of BetMGM and are reflective at time of writing.

Rank Betting Site Bonus States Claim
1
BetMGM Logo
INQUIRERMGM$1,000 Risk-Free Bet
  • AZ, NJ, IN, CO, DC, IA, MI, TN, VA, WV, WY only.
  • New customers only. Must be 21+. Welcome offer not available in NY & PA. Full T&C apply.
2
Caesars Sportsbook
$1,250Risk-Free Bet + 1000 Tier Credits + 1000 Reward Credits®
  • NY, NJ, WV, IA, CO, IN, MI, VA, TN, AZ, LA, IL Only.
  • New users only, 21 or older. Full T&Cs apply.
3
Caesars Sportsbook
$150 in Free Bets
  • AZ, CT, IA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY Only.
  • New users only, 21 or older. Full T&Cs apply.
4
WynnBet
$250 Deposit Match100% First Deposit Bonus
  • AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, NY, PA, VA only.
  • 21+. New customers only. T&C apply

Best bet #1 - Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North (+145)

The Ravens finished last season dead-last in this division, but I rate them as the class of the division this year.

Just in terms of the quarterback position, Baltimore has a clear-cut advantage over the three remaining teams in their division. In Cincinnati, it remains unknown how Joe Burrow’s appendix removal will affect him in the early stages of the season. In Cleveland, trade acquisition Deshaun Watson has been suspended for the first 11 games of the season. And in Pittsburgh, we still don’t know who will start, let alone if that player will be any good.

With Lamar Jackson, who has a career record of 37-12 with the Ravens in his four seasons under center, the Ravens have a proven commodity. Plus, it certainly helps the Ravens’s chances in this division that they play six games against teams that ranked 13th, 23rd and 27th in rushing defensive DVOA last season, per footballoutsiders.com.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the Ravens had terrible injury luck last season, particularly on the defensive end. A season after ranking ninth league-wide in defensive DVOA, they finished 28th in the same metric last season. By bolstering that side of the ball this offseason, expect a more balanced team to lead the Ravens to a division title.

Best bet #2 - Minnesota Vikings to win the NFC North (+250)

The Green Bay Packers remain the class of this division, but I give the Vikings a chance to claim this division.

Minnesota has officially shown Mike Zimmer the door and handed the reins to former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. In doing so, Minnesota’s front office is betting on O’Connell taking an offense with a decent quarterback, solid running-game and top-tier wide receivers to the metaphorical “next level.”

Although Green Bay still has the best quarterback in the division in Aaron Rodgers, I’ll put the Vikings skill position players up against any in the division. Plus, whereas we don’t know what the Packers will look like without Davante Adams, this is a Minnesota offense that ranked 12th in passing DVOA last season with a defensive-minded head coach.

The other element of evaluating this team? I don’t believe incoming defensive coordinator Ed Donatell faces as big a challenge as most expect. Historically, the Vikings have proven a remarkably average defense, ranking 16th and 18th in defensive DVOA the last two seasons.

If all goes well for this offense under O’Connell, this price is an absolute steal. The Packers likely win the NFC North, but I’m willing to get behind the Vikings at anything better than +225.

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.