NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Most Chicago Bears fans I know don't want their team to win many games this season. Better to get another very high draft pick and select a receiver or defensive difference-maker in the 2018 NFL Draft. That said, pretty much all Bears fans want them to win twice a year: the Green Bay games. The NFL's oldest rivalry is renewed in the Thursday night game this week and, rather incredibly, each side has a record of 94-94-6 (including playoffs). A couple of times, the Bears led the series by 24 games, but Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers have helped Green Bay dominate for most of the past two decades.
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I'm going to make a prediction here: This will be the final start for Mike Glennon as Bears quarterback. I'm presuming that Chicago will lose to fall to 1-3. The Bears then play Monday night in Week 5 at home against Minnesota - the perfect time to unveil rookie No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky if Glennon is lousy again this Sunday. The Bears basically ran Jay Cutler out of town because he could almost never beat Rodgers and the Packers. Maybe Trubisky can start evening the scales a bit under center. These two teams play again in Week 10 after Chicago's bye week; there's no doubt in my mind that Trubisky will be starting by then (barring injury).
I wonder how much the Green Bay players have in the tank here as they are missing several injured starters and had to expend extra energy on Sunday in the hottest game in Lambeau Field history to rally past the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime.
Bears at Packers Betting Story Lines
Chicago was one of many underdogs to win straight up in Week 3, surprising the visiting Steelers 23-17 in overtime at +7 - the team's first September win under John Fox. Glennon was not good at all, completing 15 for 22 for 101 yards with a TD and a pick. The Bears don't even try to throw deep downfield; to be fair, Glennon has perhaps the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Chicago did ram it down Pittsburgh's throat on the ground to the tune of 220 yards and two scores on 38 carries. Jordan Howard carried 23 times for 138 yards and both scores, including the winning 19-yarder in OT. He's basically playing with one arm right now due to a bum shoulder. Howard also led the team with five catches. Fourth-round rookie RB Tarik Cohen continues to be a nice find as he had 78 yards on 12 carries and four catches. The Bears have their own version of a Thunder (Howard) and Lightning (Cohen) backfield.
The Bears' defense has played well at home in games against high-powered Atlanta and Pittsburgh but wasn't good in Week 2 at Tampa Bay. Starting safety Quintin Demps broke his arm vs. the Steelers and is out indefinitely. The team will turn to Adrian Amos, who lost his starting job to rookie Eddie Jackson in the preseason.
The Packers were very short-handed for Sunday's 27-24 overtime win over Cincinnati. Receiver Randall Cobb (chest), left tackle David Bakhtiari (hamstring), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (hip), cornerback Davon House (quad), outside linebacker Nick Perry (hand) and inside linebacker Jake Ryan (hamstring, concussion) all sat out. Receiver Jordy Nelson (quadriceps) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (ankle) were questionable but started. However, Bulaga aggravated his ankle injury and left. Your guess is as good as mine as to whom plays in this quick turnaround situation. Safety Josh Jones didn't play a snap in Week 1 but was on the field for all 61 snaps in Week 3 and had 12 tackles (three for loss) and 2 sacks.
Rodgers threw just the second pick-six of his career Sunday but led a comeback from down 21-7 in the third quarter. He hit Nelson in the final seconds from 3 yards out to tie the game at 24 and found Geronimo Allison on a free-play 72-yard catch and run in OT (Bengals jumped offsides) to set up the winning field goal. In a statistic that shocked me, it was Rodgers' first-ever OT win. He had been 0-7 including playoffs. In Cobb's spot, Allison posted a career-best day with six catches for 122 yards.
Bears at Packers Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Green Bay is an 8.5-point favorite (+115) with a total of 45.5. On the moneyline, the Packers are -330 and Bears +270. On the alternate lines, the Pack are -7.5 (-125) and -7 (-115). Chicago is 2-1 against the spread (0-1 on road) and 0-3 "over/under" (0-1 on road). Green Bay is 1-2 ATS (1-1 at home) and 2-1 O/U (1-1 at home).
The Bears have covered five in a row vs. teams with a winning record. They are 7-3 ATS in their past 10 overall. The Packers are 0-4 ATS in their past four vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 8-1 in Green Bay's past nine vs. the NFC and after a win. It's 5-2 in the previous seven meetings.
Bears at Packers Betting Prediction
If Green Bay was healthy, this would be an easy call as Rodgers has owned Chicago in his career (14-4, 38 TDs). But I do think the Packers will be sluggish off that draining Bengals victory in the heat. For now, I'll have to assume most of those injured guys will not play. The Packers have won seven of the last nine meetings against the Bears at Lambeau Field, including a 26-10 win last season in Week 7 on a Thursday. They'll win here, too, but I'm taking the 8.5 points. The Bears should be able to stay within a touchdown. Go over the total.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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