2021 Midwest NFL Betting Preview—The Best Bet In The Midwest Is…

When you bet on the NFL, the smart thing to do is divorce your emotions and fandom from the decision-making process. You do not want to go with the team you want to win, but the one that you think will most likely win.

In the Midwest, that can be kind of hard to figure out. The Green Bay Packers are the dominant team, of course. But the Minnesota Vikings are not bad, and the Indianapolis Colts have a ton of potential. While the Chicago Bears may be easy to overlook, it is never wise to do so.

So, when push comes to shove, who is the better bet in the Midwest? Is the team with the shorter odds (like the Packers), or is the longshot (i.e., the Vikings, Colts, or Bears) a better bet?

Let’s examine the NFL betting odds for all four teams and figure that question out.

Indianapolis Colts

Colts 2021/22 OddsDraftKingsBetMGMPointsBet
To Win The Division (AFC South)+105+105+105
To Win The Conference (AFC)+1200+1400+1200
To Win The Super Bowl+2500+2500+2500
To Make/Miss The Playoffs-182/+149-200/+165-200/+150

Rivers was only a stop-gap, anyway. But with him gone, the team had to go with someone currently on the roster or find another veteran to bring in. With one of the better offensive lines and running back groups in the NFL, the right quarterback could turn the Colts offense into a championship-caliber unit. With Philip Rivers at the helm last season, the team went 11-5, finished second in the division, made the playoffs, and nearly took down the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round. They were a good team with a ton of potential going forward—but then their quarterback retired.

The team is hoping Carson Wentz can be that guy. So are Indiana sports bettors

Wentz had his best seasons with Colts head coach Frank Reich as his offensive coordinator. While Wentz has struggled in recent years, the team is hoping a reunion with Reich can turn Wentz back into an MVP-caliber quarterback.

If Reich can, then the Colts will be a contender.

Chicago Bears

Bears 2021/22 OddsDraftKingsBetMGMPointsBet
To Win The Division (NFC North)+350+325+350
To Win The Conference (NFC)+2200+3000+2200
To Win The Super Bowl+5000+6600+5000
To Make/Miss The Playoffs+180/-225+150/-185+165/-223

Will the offense hold onto the ball and put some points on the board? It is undoubtedly going to be an uphill climb for the Chicago Bears this season. Defensively, they still have a relatively talented group. But the problem they will have this year will be the same one they had the last two seasons. 

Moving on from Mitchell Trubisky is a step in the right direction. But signing Andy Dalton to take his place may not do much to move the team forward. He may be good enough to earn the starter’s job over rookie Justin Fields. 

But is he dynamic enough to help the team make plays and win games? Eh…

Fields is certainly the more dynamic playmaker of the two, but the Bears have made it clear they will not rush him onto the field. However, they said the same with Trubisky a few years ago, and he was in the lineup a few weeks into the season.

However, while Fields would bring something to the offense Dalton does not, he may not be enough to make much of a difference. The Bears’ offensive line was questionable last season and does not look any better heading into this season.

Without protection, Dalton may struggle to get the ball to Chicago’s one good receiver, Allen Robinson II. If the line cannot open running lanes, David Montgomery will struggle in the run game, too.

Chicago will not be an easy win, but it is hard to see them even as a contender in the division. Still, Illinois sports betting hopefuls might not be able to resist a Bears bet. 

Minnesota Vikings

Vikings 2021/22 OddsDraftKingsBetMGMPointsBet
To Win The Division (NFC North)+225+260+250
To Win The Conference (NFC)+1800+3000+1800
To Win The Super Bowl+4000+6600+4000
To Make/Miss The Playoffs+123/-150+105/-125+115/-189

With the emergence of Justin Jefferson last year, Cousins has a dynamic duo of wide receivers to work with again (the other being Adam Thielen). The tools are in place for the Vikings to have one of the better offenses in the NFL. Kirk Cousins is a capable quarterback and is joined in the backfield by one of the best running backs in the league, Dalvin Cook. 

However, the team’s failure to adequately address a significant issue, the offensive line, may doom the offense. They drafted a tackle in the first round and added a guard in the third. But that means at least two of a bad trio in the interior will still be in the starting lineup.

Without adequate protection or running lanes, the offense may struggle to keep up with the points the defense allows. Last year’s group was one of the worst units in the NFL. They added some talent in the draft and a couple of solid free agents (i.e., Sheldon Richardson and Patrick Peterson).

But it remains to be seen if they added enough to improve upon last season’s 29th ranked scoring defense. 

Green Bay Packers

Packers 2021/22 OddsDraftKingsBetMGMPointsBet
To Win The Division (NFC North)-121-135-125
To Win The Conference (NFC)+800+750+700
To Win The Super Bowl+1600+1600+1500

Aaron Jones is one of the better running backs in the league. A.J. Dillon has big-play potential, and it would not be shocking to see rookie Kylin Hill carve out a role for himself. Davante Adams is one of the best receivers in the business. The team may have finally drafted a solid No. 2 receiver in Amari Rodgers.The story of the 2021 season for the Green Bay Packers is simple. Will Aaron Rodgers be the quarterback this season, or will the Jordan Love Era get underway? With Rodgers, the Packers are a Super Bowl contender.

The offensive line projects to be average (15th according to PFF). But with Rodgers at the controls of the offense, that would be good enough. If he does not play and the team is forced to go with Jordan Love, there is no telling what the offense will look like.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers were good last season (13th in scoring) but not great. They may need to figure out how to be great if Jordan Love is the quarterback. But with Rodgers, as long as the unit does not regress, the Packers defense will be fine.

NFL Betting Tips And Recommendations

The most straightforward call here involves the Packers. Assuming Aaron Rodgers suits up this season, take them to make the playoffs, win the Super Bowl, the NFC, and the NFC North. With Rodgers, they are by far one of the best teams in the league.

But if you do not think Rodgers will play for them, pass on everything until the odds go up—then take them to make the playoffs (but nothing else).

As for the Colts, Frank Reich will treat Carson Wentz much like how he treated Philip Rivers. He is not going to ask Wentz to win the game for them. He will lean on the defense and running game and make use of Wentz and the passing game as needed.

But as far as betting on them goes—pass on the Colts. The division could go either way between them and the Titans. The competition in the AFC is going to be too much for them to win the conference.

They probably will make the playoffs. But with their odds, it just is not worth the risk.

 When it comes to the Bears, pass on them, too. If they were going with Justin Fields from the start, they might be worth skipping a few lattes and putting something down on them to make the playoffs. But by the time they give up on Andy Dalton, the Bears will be out of the running.

That leaves the Minnesota Vikings. They appear to be in good shape offensively, but they did not do nearly enough to improve the defense. They will not be easy to beat, but they will not be good enough to make the postseason.

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, his love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.