The theme of this game is all about expectations. The Bears are exceeding theirs. They are a team that was very disappointing last year is playing better than most thought they would, and the performance on offense has been particularly notable. The Giants, on the other hand, have fallen well below their expectations. They were picked by many to win their division, but they have just one win in three tries, and have looked a long way from good. Their poor play has put Tom Coughlin on a hot seat, and has led to a media frenzy worthy of New York.
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What’s most mystifying about the Giants so far is how sloppy their play has been. Eli Manning leads the league with six interceptions (tied with Brett Favre), and the team is second in the league with 10 turnovers. There are a lot of quarterbacks I respect more than Manning, but I still wouldn’t expect him to make the amateur plays he has this year - like when he tried to make a pass with his off hand and shoveled it right to his opponent instead. The team has also suffered a whole lot of penalties - including five personal fouls last time out - and that just hasn’t helped their cause. These mistakes are obviously a concern, but they are also strangely a reason to be optimistic. It’s far easier to get players back on track mentally than it is to correct bad play or lousy schemes, so it’s easier for the team to get back on track with this problem.
The Giants also face a lot of pressure on defense in this one. They have faced one elite quarterback - Eli’s big brother. Manning shredded the Giants. Made them look truly ridiculous. Cutler is a long, long way from Peyton, but he’s a confident QB in an effective offense. If the Giants don’t stand up better against the Bears than they did against the Colts then all hope for the season might be lost already. The Cutler vs. the Giants matchup is particularly intriguing because the defense New York runs is similar to Chicago’s, so practice every day gives Cutler a sense of what to expect.
There is at least one good reason to question the Bears as well. They are coming off a very tough, physical Monday Night win against the Packers. That means that they have a short week to recover, get themselves back on task, and prepare for a team that is far better than their records. Shorts weeks are not always an issue by any means, but they can be one.
Bears vs. Giants Betting Odds and Line Movement
The line movement is particularly noteworthy in this one. It’s no surprise that the Bears are drawing the large majority of the action - more than 70 percent of bets have been on Chicago. What’s far more surprising, though, is that the line, which opened with the Giants favored by three, has moved so that the home team is now a four-point favorite. That’s exactly the opposite movement you would have expected given the betting pattern, and it’s particularly relevant because the move involves the key number of three. This is a clear sign that though the public is on the Bears with enthusiasm the smart money doesn’t widely share their opinion. The total opened at 43.5 and has been very stable - it can be found there or at 44.
Bears vs. Giants Betting Trends
Chicago has gone ‘under’ in eight of their last 11 games. The Giants have gone ‘over’ in their last eight starts against NFC opponents.
The Giants are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games against opponents with winning records
The Bears have covered five of the last seven meetings between these teams. Take that with a grain of salt, though - that dates all the way back to 1995.
Bears vs. Giants NFL Picks and Predictions
I am not impressed at all by either team in the long term - both have more issues than strengths in my eyes. Still, there has to be a winner, and in this case I’ll take the Giants. New York has been very sloppy, but I think they are reasonably well coached, and I expect them to play a far more disciplined and effective game here. At quarterback I expect Manning to look better than he has so far, while Cutler has shown us throughout his career that long-term consistency isn’t his strength. The Bears have enjoyed success in large part because of their ability to capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes. While that has worked well for them, and could work well again if the Giants remain sloppy, it’s not as sustainable an approach as I would like, so I don’t have as much faith in the Bears as their stats so far would suggest I should. I’ll take the Giants, with a lean to the ‘under’.
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