Green Bay Packers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (2-0 SU, 1-1
ATS), Week 3 NFL, 8:30 p.m. EST, Monday, September 27, 2010, Soldier
Field, Chicago, Ill., TV: ESPN
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: GB -3/Chi +3
Over/Under Total: 46
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The oldest rivalry in professional football will write another
chapter on Monday Night Football this week when the Green Bay Packers
travel to the Windy City to tussle with the Chicago Bears at Soldier
Field in a primetime game with big NFC North Division ramifications
attached to it.
Not that a Bears-Packers rivalry game needs any extra spice to make both teams a little chippy, but this one took on extra importance
after the Bears pulled off last weeks upset on the road over the
Dallas Cowboys, 27-20, giving the winner a chance to land an early
blow in the race for the NFC North crown.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler played perhaps his best game as a Bear
on Sunday to key the big upset, throwing for 277 yards and three
scores in the victory. Most importantly though, for the first time in
recent memory Cutler did not throw and interceptions and helped the
Bears to complete a turnover-free game against the Cowboys.
The Pack meanwhile continues to roll along in the early going,
disposing of the Buffalo Bills in quick fashion last weekend, 34-7.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers also cleaned up the mistakes from his first
game, throwing for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over
The oddsmakers out in Las Vegas have set the opening point spread in this game with the Packers as 3-point favorites on the road at Soldier Field. Considering the home team tends to usually get the
courtesy of a 3-point homefield advantage in regards to betting
lines, that means oddsmakers are looking at the Packers as near
The fact that Green Bay is a heavily wagered on public team, and are
off to a great start at the window for bettors this season (2-0 ATS,
12-4 ATS in 2009) could have a lot to do with them being field goal
favorites on the road at a divisional rival.
The over/under total opened at 45 late on Sunday and has already shot
up to 46 and even 46.5 at several of the offshore sportsbooks on the Web.
While both Lovie Smith and Mike McCarthy will tell the media in the
days leading up to this game that both teams will need to establish
the run to be successful on offense, theres little doubt that the
team that makes fewer mistakes in the passing game will end up with
the win on Monday Night.
Cutler has played like a new quarterback in the Bears new scheme
under offensive coordinator Mike Martz, throwing for 649 yards
already. His five touchdowns to just one interception has been huge
to the Bears success, and is part of the reason hes near the top of
the leader board in quarterback rating with a 121.2 mark after two
Bears running back Matt Forte has had a big impact in the passing
game so far, but his 79 yards rushing in two games has limited the
Bears to just a 69.5 ypg average on the ground (28th in NFL). The
Bears will have to find a way to get Forte loose on the ground on
Monday to try and take advantage of the Packers run defense (allowing
136.5 ypg 28th), keep the Packers pass rush off the field (10 sacks
already) and help take pressure off of Cutler to win the game for
Rodgers and the Packers offense has been sort of average this season, ranking 16th in the league in overall yards (322.5 ypg) and passing
yards this season (211 ypg) through two games, which should cause
Smith and the Bears a little of indigestion this week because even
though theyve been average they still have had little trouble
putting points on the board (30.5 ppg 3rd).
So far the Bears defense has been allowing big yards through the air
(261 ypg 27th), but thats more because both the Lions and Cowboys
were forced to play catch up on offense by throwing the ball (85
total pass attempts) and less of an indication that their pass
defense is weak.
Despite losing Ryan Grant to a season-ending ankle injury in the opener, the Packers are still running the ball well enough to keep
teams honest (111.5 ypg 14th). But again, those numbers are fudged
a little due to the fact that the Packers have been grinding on the
clock with big leads through their first two weeks and not because
their running game is so powerful.
Last year was the first season since 2005 that one of these teams
swept the season series against the other, with the Packers pulling
off the trick (the Bears did it in 05). After pulling off a 21-15
victory at Lambeau in the season opener last year, the Pack added a
near duplicate 21-14 victory at Soldier Field in December. Both games
were covers by the Packers (as 4-point and 4.5-point favorites,
respectively) and both games stayed way under the closing total as
well (47 and 41).
In fact, Green Bay is riding a four-game covering streak for bettors at the window (4-0 ATS in L4, 5-4-1 ATS in L10). The under is also
enjoying a four-game streak too, and its also 7-3 in the last 10
overall head-to-head meetings.
The Packers seem to enjoy playing in front of the hostile Chicago
crowd because their 9-2 ATS mark in their last 11 visits to the Windy
City has helped them to become the covering machines they are at the
window. The under is also 4-1 in the last five at Chicago for a
strong betting trend to follow.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This should be a good one, with plenty of passing to
keep even the uninterested non-gamblers in the crowd happy with
action. When its all over though I think the Bears will be able to
run the ball better and limit the opportunities for Rodgers and the
Packers to play catch up, something they havent had to do much this
season so far. Take the home dog here, Chicago plus the 3-points.