Monday Night Football Predictions Week 9: Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers
While it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing Monday Night football game I’ve ever seen, last week’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants was a very riveting game. The Giants held their own against the vaunted Chiefs and ultimately fell short by a field goal in the dying minute. However, there is a saying in the betting industry that goes, “good teams win, great teams cover”. I never for a second wavered in my belief that the Giants couldn’t cover the ridiculous 10-point spread. It was far too high, and we were all over it. I’m expecting a similar result this week with my Monday Night Football selection.
As of writing this, the Steelers are currently 6.5-point favorites with the total set at 40. This line opened at Steelers -5 and has quickly been bet up to the near touchdown mark. Look, these two teams come into this game in different form. The Bears have lost three straight, while the Steelers have won three in a row. The line jump is justified, and I believe it’s still a few points too low.
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Storylines to follow
Hibernation Season: We are barely into November, and already the talk around the Chicago Bears is that there is always next season. The Bears often get ridiculed for having a head coach that doesn’t quite know what he’s doing, but the management (and coaching) made a huge mess of how they planned to develop Justin Fields. He was drafted as the starter, then relegated to the bench when the Bears signed Andy Dalton, and now he’s been thrust into action after Dalton went down through injury/poor play. The Bears have now sputtered to three losses in a row, and the offense is a putrid excuse for a pro football team. They rank dead last in total yards per game and passing yards per game and second to last in points scored per game with just 15.4. How can you win games averaging 15 points per game? You simply can’t. Until the offense figures it out – and it likely won’t be this season, the Bears will continue to ruin the careers of many young players. Again, I must reiterate, we are barely into November and at 3-5, and with the Steelers, (bye), Ravens, Lions (possible win), Cardinals, Packers and Vikings on deck, how do they stay involved in the playoff hunt? The short answer is, they don’t. Better luck next year, Chicago.
Rejuvenation: The Steelers were essentially left for dead after starting the season 1-3. There were talks of the defense not being an elite unit like it has been over the last handful of seasons and talks of the offense is uninventive, boring and insufferable to watch. While the latter may still hold true, the Steelers have found a way to win the last three football games to push their record to 4-3 on the season. It does help the cause that the Steelers faced the lowly Broncos, the Seahawks with Geno Smith at quarterback, and then dysfunctional Browns last week. The offense numbers are not great by any stretch of the imagination, as they rank 26th in total yards per game, 16th in passing yards, 28th in rushing yards, 26th in points and 14th in third-down conversion percentage. If the Steelers want to be taken seriously and make a push for the postseason, Big Ben and the rest of the offense will need to figure out a way to be more productive. As for the defense, well they rank inside the top-13 in all defensive categories. And after a poor start, they’ve really rounded into form. They’ll once again be the unit that matters most on this team, and they should be able to limit a Bears offense to very little as the Bears rank dead last in yards and passing yards per game.
Angles and Trends:
If you like Chicago and are going to take the points, you are banking on the following:
- Chicago is 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 Week 9 Games.
- Pittsburgh is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games on grass.
- Pittsburgh is 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
- Pittsburgh is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games as a home favorite.
If you like Pittsburgh and want to lay the points, these trends are for you:
- Pittsburgh is 4-1 in their last 5 games in November.
- Chicago is 1-9 ATS in their last 10 road games vs a team with a winning record.
- Chicago is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games in November.
- Chicago is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Chicago is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog.
If you are thinking about betting the total, these are the important trends to know:
- Under is 7-1-1 in Pittsburgh’s last 9 games following a straight-up win
- Under is 6-1-1 in Pittsburgh’s last 8 games as a home favorite.
- Under is 4-1 in Pittsburgh’s last 5 Monday games.
- Under is 6-1 in Chicago’s last 7 games overall.
- Under is 4-1 in Chicago’s last 5 games as an underdog.
- Under is 17-5 in Chicago’s last 22 vs a team with a winning record.
I for one was quick to write the Steelers off after they fell to 1-3 on the season. I’m still not “wowed” by them as I see an aging quarterback being carried by a good defense and some good fortune in terms of who they are playing. The one thing the Steelers do have is a good defense, and that defense should be able to dominate the weak Bears’ offense and win the game for the Steelers. Another thing the Steelers have going for them right now is momentum. And with a prime-time home game, in front of a raucous fan base that’s slowly starting to believe again, the Steelers should win this game by double digits.
Pick: Pittsburgh -6.5
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