Chicago Bears (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date and Time: Sunday, September 14, 2014, 8:30 pm EST
Where: Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chi. +7/SF -7
Over/Under Total: 48.5
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NBCs Sunday Night Football team was treated to a good matchup of AFC teams in their opener last week, so this weekend the network executives flipped the script and will feature two of the NFCs biggest hopefuls, when the Chicago Bears travel to the West Coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Levis Stadium.
Chicago was one of the several NFL favorites that were stunned and upset in their regular season opener last week, dropping a disappointing game to the Buffalo Bills in overtime, 23-20. The Bears had nearly twice as many first downs as the Bills in the game (29-15), but the also had three costly turnovers which spelled doom for the Bears in the end.
San Francisco meanwhile took the Dallas Cowboys to the woodshed in their opener, scoring an impressive, 28-17, win in the JerryDome that wasnt nearly as close as the score indicates. The 49ers defense, expected to suffer through player turnover and injury, looked a lot like the unit of old as they picked off Tony Romo three times, ran back a fumble for a score and set up short fields for the 49ers offense all afternoon.
With both teams appearing after one week to be going in opposite directions, it is a slight surprise to me to see the opening point spread for this game set so high with the 49ers listed as 6.5-point favorites at home. But apparently the number isnt high enough for some of the early bettors out there, as the number has actually gone up to the full touchdown 7-points at most sportsbooks and even up to minus -7.5 at a few on the Web.
The over/under total opened at 48 and has been steadily climbing since, going up as high as 48.5 or 49 depending on your book.
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For the Bears, offense was not expected to be the problem this season, and it wasnt in the opener either. The Bears need Jay Cutler to protect the ball, and two interceptions against a quality opponent is not going to get it done in the NFL. Chicago also needs to find better balance, as 49 attempts by Cutler and only 17 carries by running back Matt Forte is a recipe that needs more balance.
The 49ers ran an efficient offense in their opener, with a steady dose of the run game (30 carries) compared to Colin Kaepernick throws (16-of-23). But its no secret the 49ers feed off their defense, and if Chicago and Cutler are sloppy protecting the ball it could get ugly quickly.
The last time these two met on the field the 49ers destroyed the Bears at home, 32-7, in a 2012 game that almost mirrored both teams openers to perfection San Fran picked apart the Bears defense with a balanced attack (30-plus runs, 23 passes) and the Cutler threw two interceptions that turned the game quickly. Perhaps the most important stat in the last 10 games between these two teams (going back to 1991) is the fact that the home team is a perfect 10-0 SU at home. The home team is also a solid 6-1 ATS in the last seven overall meetings.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I dont think the Bears are more than a touchdown worse than the 49ers at this point. The spread is inflated on the publics short term memory of the Bears opening game stink-pile and the 49ers strong showing. The 49ers should win, but it will be closer than a touchdown. Im taking Chicago plus the 7 points.