Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears MNF Prediction ATS
Minnesota Vikings (6-7 SU, 7-6 ATS) v. Chicago Bears (4-9 SU, 4-9 ATS)
NFL Week 15
When: Monday, December 20 at 8:15 pm ET
Where: Soldier Field – Chicago, IL
Watch On: ESPN
Point Spread: MIN -3.5/CHI +3.5 (Get the best odds >>> Pay less, win more!)
Over/Under Total: 44
The NFC North has some of the best rivalries in the NFL, and Monday Night Football will feature the Minnesota Vikings heading to Chicago to take on the Bears. This is the first meeting for these teams this season, and they will see each other again in the final week. Chicago has won five of the last six in this series, and most of the recent games have been close, including each of the last three decided by six or fewer. The Bears are already looking ahead to 2022 while the Vikings are currently the 8th seed in the NFC, just one game back of the final playoff spot. Kirk Cousins has never thrown for 300 yards against Chicago during his time in Minnesota and has been sacked 15 times in the last five games against the Bears.
Minnesota has been poor inside the conference, going 4-10 against the spread in their last fourteen against an NFC opponent. The Vikings are 3-12 ATS in the last 15 on Monday Night Football and are winless against the spread in the last seven against a sub-.500 opponent. Chicago has a 5-2 ATS mark in their last seven on MNF but is just 1-4 against the spread in the last five inside the division and 1-6 ATS in the last seven as the underdog. The dog has four ATS wins in the last five in this series, with Chicago winning four of five against the spread at home. The UNDER has a 13-6 record in the last 19 between these teams, and the UNDER has hit in six of the last seven played at Soldier Field.
Losing to Detroit is not a good way to prove you are ready for the postseason, but Minnesota can still be a problem in the playoffs with their 3rd ranked offense. The Vikings are top-10 in passing and rushing yards while scoring 26.5 points per game. They have averaged 30.1 points per game over the last six contests, and they were able to knock off Green Bay with a big day through the air while dominating Pittsburgh on the ground. Chicago is 24th against the run, so look for Dalvin Cook to stay strong after a 205-yard day in Week 14. Cook is just 22 yards short of 1,000 for the year, and he leads the team with six rushing scores. Adam Thielen leads with ten receiving touchdowns, but he will miss Monday Night as he nurses a high-ankle sprain. The passing game is still in good shape with Justin Jefferson (85-1288-8) among the best in the NFL across the stat sheet, and the complementary pass-catchers like K.J. Osborn and Tyler Conklin have been making big plays. The defense has not been making good plays, however, and they enter the week ranked 2nd-to-last in yards allowed per rush and 29th in total yards allowed. Minnesota does lead the league with 41 sacks and sits 5th in third-down defense. Chicago is a bottom-five team in third-down offense, so look for Minnesota to be able to utilize that pass rush on those key downs.
Grin and Bear It
There have been some promising signs from a few young players in Chicago, but this team isn’t built to win against the better teams in the league. The Bears played Green Bay tough last week and even held a second-half lead, but they lost traction once the Packers stopped making mistakes and were able to manage only 16 first downs on the day. Justin Fields is learning on the job and getting better, but Chicago is the worst passing offense at just 176 yards per game. They are 7th on the ground, but that lack of production through the air really limits the scoring, and the Bears are 28th at 17.8 points per game. Turnovers have been a big issue as well, with Chicago committing the fourth-most as a team, and Fields has thrown ten interceptions in nine starts. David Montgomery leads the team with 608 rushing yards and has averaged 104 yards in three games against Minnesota. Darnell Mooney has taken over as the best receiver on the team with 740 yards and 14.2 yards per catch. TE Cole Kmet is second on the team with 43 receptions to give Fields another young playmaker alongside Mooney. Robert Quinn leads the defense with 14 sacks on the season, and Chicago is top-ten against the pass. They haven’t been as strong against the run and have created just ten takeaways which rank 30th in the league, and the defense has worn out after spending a lot of time on the field.
Minnesota’s O Shines on Monday Night
Given the imperfections that both teams possess, I am getting my money on the best unit on the field, which is the Vikings offense. Cousins has been impressive with 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions, and he has the weapons to attack a defense that has allowed 78 points over the last two games. Minnesota has the best individual playmaker in Justin Jefferson and I like their versatility as well, with the run game able to take over if the situation dictates it. This series has produced a lot of close games over recent seasons, and I see this one being close, especially as both teams have played a lot of tight contests in 2021 overall. Neither team has handled that situation very well in terms of wins, but that Minnesota offense has produced more in those high-pressure scenarios. This series has the look of swinging in Chicago’s favor in upcoming seasons, but for now, Minnesota has the higher ceiling, and they get a 27-20 win on Monday Night.
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