Bears Vikings Odds
The Bears opened the season winning their first three games. Expectations were high for a strong performance this year, but once again Chicago finds itself battling through injury problems. The Bears are 3-3 the past six weeks, but have a big win over the Green Bay Packers following their bye week. Chicago is tied for first in the division with the Detroit Lions, and they cannot afford another loss to a division opponent as the regular season comes closer to an end. Their playoff hopes are still very much alive, but a loss to Minnesota would all but demolish their chances to take the division, especially with the Packers getting Aaron Rodgers back any day now.
The Vikings are in last place in the division, but they are not a team that is ready to throw in the towel on the season. Last week they played in an epic battle at Green Bay with the game ending in a tie. These teams are heated rivals, so I expect to see the Vikings come out giving everything they have again this week.
Kick-off takes place at 1:00 PM ET this Sunday. The game is being televised regionally on FOX. Minnesota has not had a lot of success this season, but they do find themselves playing from the favorite position against Chicago. The Vikings are currently listed as a one-point favorite over the Bears.
Why Chicago Covers
There are few teams in the league scoring as many points as the Chicago Bears this season. The Minnesota Vikings are not one of those teams. Chicago is averaging 32.2 points per game on the road. They have had a strong pass-bias like many NFL teams, but they have been very successful moving the ball both on the ground and through the air. The Bears are averaging 126 rushing yards per game on the road, gaining five yards per carry. Chicago is also completing 64 percent of its pass attempts this season for 265 yards. The offense averages a total of 380 yards per game on the road, and that is big trouble for a Vikings team whose defense is allowing over 400 yards per game against much weaker opponents on average.
The Minnesota Vikings are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win.
The Bears defense is nowhere near as good as they have been in past seasons, but they are putting the team in a position to win each week. The Vikings are not a big scoring threat, averaging just 24.2 points per game. They have an outstanding running game, but Minnesota’s defense has been so bad they are forced to throw the ball early and often. The strength of the Bears defense is their secondary, so if they can get off to a quick lead like many of the Viking’s opponents have this season, they should only widen the margin of victory as the game progresses.
Why Minnesota Covers
The key to this game is going to be a fast start from the Viking’s offense. They are averaging 25.5 points per game at home, but their 1-3 record is a strong indication of just how bad the defense has been this year. I think if Minnesota can avoid falling behind early they will have an opportunity to pound the ball between the tackles with Adrian Peterson, and quickly wear down Chicago’s defense. I think the Vikings are also a better passing team than they get credit for. They have run through a series of players at the quarterback position, but now that they are gaining some consistency I think the offense will begin to take off.
The Chicago Bears are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games against NFC opponents.
The Vikings defense is bad. There is no statistical advantage to be found in this matchup against the Bears. However, the NFL is not always a game that is won by statistics alone. The Vikings are playing against one of their biggest rivals, and they have the luxury of playing on their home field. The Bears have not fared well away from home this season, posting a 2-3 record in their five road games. Also, the Vikings secondary has been playing well recently, holding two of their last three opponents under 250 yards passing. If not for overtime last week against Green Bay, they would have held all three of those opponents under 250 passing yards.
This line seems a little fishy to me, but I am still going with the obvious play on Chicago. The Bears are fighting to remain atop the NFC North standings, and I don’t think a last place team like Minnesota can beat Chicago regardless of who the Bears have at quarterback. In fact, Minnesota’s multiple quarterback options are all comprised of back-up and third string quarterbacks, so they don’t get much of an advantage in this game.