NFC North 2021 odds: Bears will win division according to unusual schedule fact; Chicago favored in just four of 18 NFL games, however

The Chicago Bears are +330 to win the NFC North Division. This unique schedule nugget says they will win it.
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The Chicago Bears won the NFC North Division in 2018 but haven't come close the past two seasons with identical 8-8 seasons. They are currently +330 third favorites to win the North this year at William Hill Sportsbook, behind Green Bay (-125) and Minnesota (+260). Chicago is the only team in the NFL this season without back-to-back road games. Over the past decade, the previous three teams that also didn't have B2B road games in a season won their division.

The 2019 Baltimore Ravens never played consecutive road games and finished a franchise-best 14-2 on the way to the AFC's top seed, although they were upset in the Divisional Round at home by Tennessee.

The 2013 Green Bay Packers also didn't have back-to-back road games on their schedule. That club won the NFC North despite a mediocre 8-7-1 record. Packers and Bears fans may remember that Aaron Rodgers returned from a broken collarbone in Week 17 and led the Pack to a 33-28 win in Chicago in a division winner-take-all matchup. The Pack then lost at home in the wild-card round to San Francisco.

Finally, the 2012 Atlanta Falcons are the other team the past decade without back-to-back road games. That team won the NFC South at 13-3 and beat Seattle in the Divisional Round before losing at home to the 49ers in the NFC title game.

This will be the first season in the Bears' 102-year history they will not play back-to-back home or road games. Five of Chicago's six non-division road opponents made the playoffs last year, and none of the six had a losing record. The Rams (10-6), Browns (11-5), Bucs (11-5), Steelers (12-4) and Seahawks (12-4) all qualified for the postseason, while the Raiders (8-8) didn't. Only one of the Bears' five non-division home opponents reached the playoffs and had a winning record last year: The Ravens (11-5).

One book released odds for every game this NFL season, which obviously are subject to change. Below are Chicago's opponent odds – i.e., the Bears are projected to be favored just four times. For what it's worth, Bears coach Matt Nagy reiterated that Andy Dalton is the team's starting quarterback ahead of organized team activities. However, no one expects Dalton to keep that job too long ahead of rookie first-round pick Justin Fields.

  • Week 1 at Rams (-7)
  • Week 2 vs. Bengals (+3)
  • Week 3 at Browns (-7)
  • Week 4 vs. Lions (+5.5)
  • Week 5 at Raiders (-3.5)
  • Week 6 vs. Packers (-2.5)
  • Week 7 at Bucs (-10)
  • Week 8 vs. 49ers (-4)
  • Week 9 at Steelers (-5.5)
  • Week 10 BYE
  • Week 11 vs. Ravens (-3.5)
  • Week 12 at Lions (+3)
  • Week 13 vs. Cardinals (-1.5)
  • Week 14 at Packers (-5.5)
  • Week 15 vs. Vikings (-1)
  • Week 16 at Seahawks (-5.5)
  • Week 17 vs. Giants (+2)
  • Week 18 at Vikings (-4)

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Matt Severance
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