Green Bay Packers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: September 13/1pm ET
Where: Soldier Field
by Evergreen, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB -7/CHI +7
Over/Under Total: 50
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Finally! The NFL regular season is here. No more watching glorified practices just to get that football fix, and it couldnt have come at a better time. Week 1 kicks off this week with a doozy on Thursday Night but one of the best match-ups of the weekend takes place in Chicago when the Bears host the Packers. This rivalry trumps all other NFL blood-feuds and Sunday marks the 191st meeting between these legendary teams. Chicago owns a slight edge in overall wins at 93-91-6 but it has been almost all Green Bay since a certain quarterback named Favre settled in and subsequently relinquished the reigns to current super-QB Aaron Rodgers. Hope springs eternal for all NFL teams but this game is widely viewed as Green Bays to lose as the Pack are expected to contend for an NFC title with the Bears scheduled for another season of struggles.
Green Bay is one of those teams that people love to bet and the Packer-backers jumped on the opening line of -5, driving the spread quickly through -6.5 and all the way to the -7 it is now at most online betting sites. Chicago is on the money line at +250 with Green Bay in the -300 range and the over/under total for the game is almost universal at 50. The Packers have owned the Bears straight up as I said earlier but they have also owned them against the spread. The Pack are 21-8-1 ATS in the last 30 meetings between these teams. To make matters worse, the Bears have been awful against the NFC North in general, losing 11 of their last 15 against the spread versus division foes.
This is probably the worst match-up that John Fox could have asked for to make his Chicago coaching debut and it is pretty clear that he will have to apply all of his defensive genius to keep this one close. The Bears were awful last year in stopping the opposition, ranking 30th in passing yards allowed, total yards allowed and points per game. Green Bay was top-10 in all yardage gained categories and led the NFL at 30.4 points per game so there is little reason to look any further than that when handicapping this game. Can Chicago keep Green Bay under 30? If they can, the Bears have a legitimate chance to sneak an ATS upset here as there are still plenty of offensive playmakers to put points on the board.
It appears that the Bears will have WR Alshon Jeffery for the game Sunday and his play is pivotal in making that offense balanced and successful. Matt Forte is coming off an 1,800+ yard, 10 touchdown season and he will be looking to keep the Bears on schedule against a good but seldom scary Green Bay defense. Jay Cutler has been terrorized by the Packers in his career with the Bears, throwing for 14 touchdowns and an outrageous 21 interceptions in 10 games against Green Bay. Clearly, he needs some kind of above average performance if the Bears are going to even make this one close and it all starts with limiting the turnovers.
Green Bays road to the playoffs got a little harder when Jordy Nelson went down for the season (ACL) in the second preseason game. The offense that was thought to be among the leagues best took a major skill position hit but the overwhelming thought is that Aaron Rodgers will find a way to get production out of Davante Adams and some combination of the other wide receivers. Eddie Lacy may see an increase in work to help compensate as well but the bottom line in Green Bay still lies with success of the passing game. Randall Cobb appears to be a go for Sunday with a shoulder sprain.
If you are looking for a reason to bet the Bears, dont go looking at the box scores from the last couple of years. Rodgers broke an NFL record with six touchdowns in the first half of the 55-14 game last season and the only game the Bears have won in the last ten meetings was the Monday Night game when Rodgers broke his collar bone. The Bears won that one by a 27-20 score with Seneca Wallace taking over for A-Rod.
Bottom line here folks is the Chicago has been dreadful against Green Bay. Even if you think that a blind bet for a home dog is the right play here, consider that Chicago is 44-58 as the underdog since 2003, and just 15-18 as a home dog. Green Bay, in that same time period, is 77-58 as a favorite, 28-21 as an away favorite. Those 77 wins as a general favorite are second only to Indianapolis, further proving that awesome quarterbacking is a pretty good indicator of a teams overall betting profile. This will be one of the more lopsided action games as roughly 65% of the money is currently going on the Green Bay side but a contrarian bet here isnt exactly a wise-guy or sharp play as Green Bay has been so effective in this series. John Fox might have a bit of magic to keep Chicago close for a while but Rodgers and that high-powered offense eventually overwhelm the Bears and Green Bay gets a 31-20 win.
Evergreens Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Green Bay
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