Sunday Night Football in Week 1 will pit two NFC North rivals against each other, as the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears. Kickoff is set for 8:20 EST at Lambeau Field and will be televised nationally on NBC.
Oddsmakers currently have the Packers listed as a 7.5-point home favorite with the total set at 47.5 points. Click here for a full look at our Week 1 betting schedule with game odds and links to our previews.
NFL Betting Preview & Game Odds: Bears vs Packers
It’s been a difficult stretch for Chicago fans. The Bears finished last in the NFC North in 2017 with a record of 5-11 and have now ended the season in the basement of the division each of the last 4 years. After going a mere 14-34 in his 3 years with the team, head coach John Fox was let go and Chicago replaced him with long-time Andy Reid assistant Matt Nagy, who spent the last two years as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator.
The hope is that Nagy can transform last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Mitch Trubisky into a legit NFL signal caller. Keep in mind it wasn’t the defense that held this team back in 2017. Chicago actually finished in the Top 10 in both total defense (10th) and scoring defense (9th). A unit that figures to be even better with the additions of Khalil Mack and first round pick, linebacker Roquan Smith.
Green Bay is coming off a disappointing 7-9 season, but it was a direct result of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers playing just 7 games because of a broken collarbone. The injury to Rodgers put an end to the Packers streak of 8 straight playoff appearances, but did little to hinder how this team is being perceived going into 2018.
Green Bay is right there with the other NFC powers and a legit threat to make it all the way. All eyes will be on the Rodgers and the new look offense, which lost wide out Jordy Nelson, but added a huge redzone threat in tight end Jimmy Graham. They also beefed up their defense. They used their first two picks in the draft on corners Jaire Alexander (Louisville) and Joshua Jackson (Iowa), while signing a free agent defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson.
NFL Betting Free Pick & Predictions: Green Bay -7.5
The Bears are a team that I will likely be on a lot this season, but no way am I taking Chicago on the road against the Packers in prime time. With that said, I don’t think there’s a ton of value with the line at 7.5, but it’s definitely the side I would lean towards.
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I think a lot of people are blaming poor coaching and a lack of weapons for the struggles of Trubisky last year. They see all the upgrades Chicago made at the skill positions and the addition of an offensive-minded head coach in Nagy and just assume he’s going to be a different player. I’m just not buying, at least not yet.
I certainly don’t think the Bears can keep this game close without him playing well. I get Chicago’s defense was good and there’s a ton of excitement around the addition of Khalil Mack, but they are going up against one of the best quarterbacks to every play the game. Not to mention, Rodgers is going to have a chip on his shoulder after missing most of last season.
Keep in mind Rodgers has owned the Bears in his career. He’s 16-4 SU and 15-5 ATS in 20 meetings against Chicago. Not to mention the Packers are 28-13 at home with Rodgers under center and 41-25 in his 66 starts as a favorite. I just think people are completely overlooking how difficult it is to win at Lambeau, especially a game under the lights in prime time.
It’s also worth noting that Green Bay has gone an impressive 8-3 ATS in their last 11 season openers, while the Bears are a miserable 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games played in September. I just don’t think it’s asking a lot for the Packers to win here by double-digits. Give me Green Bay -7.5.