Chicago Bears (6-5 SU, 2-8-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (2-8 SU, 5-6 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date and Time: Sunday, December 1, 2013, 1:00 pm EST
Where: Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn.
TV: Fox/DirecTV 705
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chi. +1/Min. -1
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The NFC North is up for grabs with injuries and nobody wants to take the
leaders role in the divisional race, but a few games this week will help
to alleviate the logjam including Sundays early game in the Metrodome between
the Chicago Bears and the host Minnesota Vikings.
The Bears are one of the teams dealing with a key injury, with quarterback Jay Cutler expected to miss Sundays game as he nurses an ankle for another week. Chicago has continued to do well on offense without him, but the Monsters of the Midway defense were nothing of the sort last week in a fall-apart loss at St. Louis, 42-21. The once top-10 defense is dead-last in the league in run defense (145 yards a game), with a date against Adrian Peterson inside on the turf on the docket Sunday.
Minnesota knows a little about disappointment, struggling through a two-win season without a true direction on who should be their quarterback. The Vikings blew a 16-point lead at Green Bay last week, allowing now journeyman Matt Flynn to come off the bench and force a tie down everyones throats after a 3-to-3 draw in overtime, 26-26. Now the Vikings come back home where they are 2-3 this year, with a chance at wrecking the Bears season with a tough NFC North battle in the dome.
Bettors will find a little point-spread disparity on this game too. The game opened with the Vikings as small 1-point favorites at home, but with money coming in on the Bears, it has moved to a pick at some sportsbooks, and its even flipped opposite to Bears minus -1 at a few offshore sportsbooks.
Considering how weak these two defenses really are in relation to their reputations, the over/under total is sitting right at the half-century mark listed at 49.5 at a majority of books in Las Vegas and offshore.
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Ive already discussed a few of the offensive issues in handicapping this game. Vikings QB Christian Ponder is still their best option and played a decent game last week against the Packers in the tie. There no doubt that A.P. will go all day against the Bears run defense, which will force the Bears to leave their safe Tampa two-deep defense they like so much and could open up opportunities for Ponder outside. The Vikings should also try and find a way to get Cordarrelle Patterson the ball more, since hes becoming the second best weapon on the Vikings offense after A.P.
Chicago is actually like the bizaaro-world Bears this season, since its offense and not defense that is keeping their title hopes alive. Josh McCown has been really good in place of Cutler (7 TD, 1 INT) and the offense still has its go-to in Brandon Marshall (945 yards, 9 TD), which looks really good this week against the Vikings and their29th-ranked pass defense (282.5 ypg).
Over the years this has been a home-team series (like most in the NFL), with the home squad going a solid 16-6 ATS over the past 22-game span. The Bears have gone 6-2 ATS in the last eight head-to-head meetings, but the Vikings did cover earlier this year at Soldier Field as 6-point underdogs.
The over is a strong betting trend play, going 6-1 in the Bears last seven road games, 4-0 in the Vikings last four inside the NFC North and 6-0 in their last six games at home in the Metrodome.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: There was a time when this game would be defensive, but not any more. This game goes over early, take the over of 49.5.