Monday Night Football Predictions: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears Odds & Picks
Before I get to previewing the Monday night Week 5 matchup between the Vikings and Bears in the Windy City, I must address last Monday's incredible ending between the Redskins and Chiefs in Kansas City. I'm not going to go play-by-play as I'm sure you've seen it plenty of times by now, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a meaningless play like that affect both the spread and total so massively in an NFL game.
If I had bet the Redskins plus the points and under the total, I'd probably still be in a drunken stupor of disbelief. But it worked well if you followed my recommendations here at Doc's as I chose Kansas City -6.5 and the under 49. Of course, the Chiefs scored a defensive touchdown with no time on the clock to win 29-20 and turn what looked like a 23-20 spread loss into an ATS victory. That Kansas City wasn't required to try the extra point was fantastic because surely that would have been converted and nudged the total over 49. Instead, a welcome push. I also happen to know a few people who either won or lost in their fantasy leagues because of that Kansas City defensive touchdown.
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The quality of play isn't likely to be near as good this Monday between the NFC North rival Vikings (2-2) and Bears (1-3). It's quite the tripleheader of sports action that night in Chicago as you also have the Blackhawks making their only visit of the season to rising NHL power Toronto, and the Cubs hosting the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. Unless the Cubs can clinch on Monday, the focus of most Chicago sports fans should be on this game because the Bears' future under center makes his debut.
Vikings at Bears Betting Story Lines
Chicago coach John Fox - likely with a push from GM Ryan Pace - made the only choice he could in starting rookie No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback vs. Minnesota. Mike Glennon, he of the $45 million free-agent contract, has been one of the worst signal-callers in the league with eight turnovers (five picks), eight sacks, just 208 yards per game and a rating of 76.9 that is better than only Brian Hoyer (journeyman), Joe Flacco (most overpaid player in the NFL and still living off one postseason) and DeShone Kizer (overwhelmed rookie).
It's not all on Glennon. The Bears have arguably the worst group of receivers in the NFL. Can you even tell me who Kendall Wright, Deonte Thompson and Josh Bellamy are? They are the team's top wideouts. If you read the tea leaves in the preseason, you could project this would be the game Trubisky would get his chance if the Bears were 0-4 or 1-3. That's because he would have extra time to get first-team reps considering the Bears played on Thursday in Week 4 - blown out in Green Bay - and then the extra day of practice this week ahead of MNF. Plus, frankly, ownership had to do something because the Bears aren't selling out Soldier Field any longer. Trubisky can at least provide hope and a reason to get 2018 season tickets. He did look good in the preseason, but then so did Chicago's Cade McNown as a rookie in 1999, and he was a first-round bust.
As for Minnesota, the presumption is that it will be without Sam Bradford a fourth straight game with some nebulous knee injury that the Vikings won't disclose. Bradford, who had perhaps the game of his life in a Week 1 win over New Orleans (and would be leading the NFL in rating by a mile if he qualified), has been called day-to-day since then. So it's probably again Case Keenum, who played extremely well in his one win (Tampa Bay) and Keenum-like in his two losses (Detroit and Pittsburgh).
I'm guessing this will be one of the most run-heavy games of the week because of the quarterback situations. That's one thing the Bears have done well with second-year Jordan Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen. The Vikings, though, are one of the NFL's best defenses against the run in allowing 71.3 yards per game. Minnesota also ranks first in the NFL in allowing just 25.6 percent third-down conversions. By comparison, Chicago's defense is 30th at 47.1 percent.
The Vikings' playoff chances likely ended last week not just because of the home loss to the Lions but the season-ending injury to rookie running back Dalvin Cook. He had 74 carries for 354 yards and two scores with 11 catches for 90 yards. Every other Viking combined has 35 rush attempts. Latavius Murray should now be the first- and second-down back (and goal line) with Jerick McKinnon used more in passing situations.
Vikings at Bears Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Minnesota is a 3-point favorite with a total TBA until Bradford's status is clear. No alternate lines as of yet, either. Minnesota is 2-2 against the spread (0-1 on road) and 2-2 "over/under" (0-1 on road). Chicago is 2-2 ATS (2-0 at home) and 1-3 O/U (0-2 at home).
The Vikings are 9-2 ATS in their past 11 vs. teams with a losing record. They are 2-8 ATS in their past 10 on Monday. The Bears are 6-1 ATS in their past seven at home and 5-2 ATS in the previous seven on Monday. The under is 16-5 in Minnesota's previous 21 vs. the NFC North. It's 9-4 in Chicago's past 13 after a loss. The under is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings. The Vikings have covered only three of their previous 14 in the Windy City.
Vikings at Bears Betting Prediction
These teams split last year, each winning at home. Minnesota has won just two of its past 15 trips to Solider Field. The Vikings have a better winning percentage in Green Bay and Detroit over that span. This is a tough game to handicap because I have no idea what Trubisky is or what the Vikings offense will look like without Cook. But the Bears have played well at home, nearly upsetting Atlanta and beating Pittsburgh. They are the pick. I'll be going under whatever low total is posted - this might have fewer points than Nationals-Cubs has runs.
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