Chicago Bears (6-5) +3, 42 O/U at Minnesota Vikings (6-5) -3, 42 O/
U, Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn., 8:15 PM Eastern, Sunday, NBC
by Badger of Predictem.com
Sole possession of first place in the NFC North will be up for grabs
this week when the Chicago Bears travel to the Metrodome to play the
Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football on NBC.
The Bears will be trying to sweep the season series with the Vikings,
after winning a 48-41 shootout back in week seven of the season.
Chicago has been playing inconsistent football of late, getting their
butts handed to them in a 37-3 decision two weeks ago in Lambeau
Field against the rival Packers before taking advantage of the
helpless St. Louis Rams last week, 27-3.
The Vikings enter the Sunday Night primetime game on the heels of an
impressive 30-12 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road
last Sunday. The Vikings have won three of their last four games, and
five of their last seven contests, and could be hitting their peak at
just the right time.
Most sportsbooks opened the game with the Vikings as 3.5-point favorites and the point spread has held firm through early betting at most
books, although there are about as many places that list the game at
3-points depending on whether you want the hook or not. The over/
under total opened at 44 and has dropped to 42 at just about every
book that takes action, but there are a few 42.5 listed on the board
at a few of the offshore sportsbooks. The moneyline bet lists the
Vikings as -170 favorites, with the Bears as +150 underdogs.
This game should be real interesting to watch because one of them is
going to have to do something on offense that they are not very adept
at doing, pass the ball with effectiveness, because both teams
feature defenses that are well equipped to stop the run but struggle
versus the pass.
Chicago has enjoyed the reemergence of the Bears running game of old
this season with rookie Matt Forte piling up strong numbers. Hes
nearly crossed the century mark (909 yards, 9 TD), and he had perhaps
his best game as a pro last week versus the Rams with 132 yards and
Quarterback Kyle Orton is still nursing a bad ankle, but even when
healthy, the Bears are a run-first scheme as their passing numbers
are below average for the season (200.1 ypg 20th). When a tight end
leads your team in yards for the season (Greg Olsen 391 yards), you
know the passing game lacks weapons to attack via the air.
Minnesotas offense is powered by the running of Adrian Peterson.
Peterson already has 1,180 yards rushing and as a team the Vikings
average 138 rushing yards a game (5th in NFL). The change to Gus
Frerotte at quarterback has helped, but the Vikings are still
basically a one-trick pony as the passing game is still way below
average (183.4 ypg 26th).
Defensively both teams are stout versus the run, as Minnesota in 2nd in the league allowing just 70.4 yards per game and Chicago is 5th at
80.7. The Bears can be run on though, as Ryan Grant and the Packers
tagged them for over 200 in the lopsided loss two weeks ago, and
Peterson ran for 121 yards and two scores in the first game.
Its against the pass that these two defenses struggle, as
Minnesota is 22nd allowing 228.5 yards per game and Chicago is 30th
But the Bears won the first encounter between these two teams because of their defense, as they scored two defensive touchdowns and added a
blocked punt for a score in the 48-41 victory.
As a whole the Bears hold a slight 6-4 edge over the rival Vikings in
their last 10 head-to-head meetings, but the series is all about the
home-field advantage as the home team is 9-3 ATS in the last 11
meetings between the two squads. Chicago has had the better end of it
lately though, as they have covered in two straight, in three of the
last four, and are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 head-to-head.
While the over is 4-1-1 in the last six contests, its actually the
under that looks like a bet that may cash in. The under is 7-0 in the
Bears last seven road games, and its also 11-1 in the Vikings last
12 games following a blowout victory (over 14 points).
Badgers Pick: I like the Vikings in this game, simply because they
seem to be playing better football right now. Yeah the Bears won last
week, but it doesnt count because it was against the Rams. It will
be nip-n-tuck throughout the entire game, but the Vikings pull it out
at the gun with a backdoor cover. Take Minnesota minus the 3 points.