I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking my impressive performance last week was child’s play. Anybody could have gone seven-for-10 laying bets on the Bears and lowly Colts. You’re thinking I need a more challenging test, like picking the over-under on when the teachers’ strike might end, so my editor Jon Eig can get back to his ChiSide duties instead of babysitting his kids. Or how about this, oh, I don’t know…Bears v. Packers?
But as long as Eig is distracted, let me get a few more words in before I give you my props for the week: Seven for ten, amigo. Seven. For. Ten. And that included nailing both the side (Bears -10) and total (Over 43.5). And I’m just getting warmed up.
Chicago/Green Bay Over 51 -110
If you read least week’s installment of “Betting the Bears,” you’re aware of just how high I am on Chicago’s offense. This unit could shatter the franchise’s record books. The Bears should be in the top five in the NFL in scoring barring injury, and the Packers just don’t have the defensive to contain them.
The Niners gouged Green Bay on the ground for 100+ yards last week, and though Alex Smith was sacked four times, he still completed 20-of-26 passes for 211 yards and a pair of TD strikes. Smith is no Jay Cutler, and the Niners don’t possess the Bears’ solid 1-2 punch in the backfield.
Jay will be harassed by Clay Matthews, but he has the playmakers at his disposal to hurt Green Bay whether the Packers decide to blitz, play zone, or man up. Green Bay’s offense will score enough points to help us cash this ticket, but it will be Chicago’s offense that every major sports network will be talking about come Friday morning.
Team to Score First: Chicago +130
This has everything to do with the Bears winning the coin flip. The last three times these rivals have locked horns, Head Coach Lovie Smith has allowed the Packers to take possession of the pigskin first. Each time, the Packers went right down the field and took the game’s first lead. Now armed with an offense that can put points on the board, Lovie will take the ball and his offense will reward him by scoring the game’s first points.
Will there be a Score in the First 7.5 Mins. of the Game? Yes (-190)
Have you been paying attention?
QB Jay Cutler: Total Passing Yards Over 277.5 (-115)
Let me be the first to apologize to Jay. I figured he wouldn’t be needed to throw for so many yards with the ground game taking advantage of a porous Colts rush defense last week. But the Bears showed me they’re fully capable of putting up gaudy statistics through the air and on the ground. Green Bay is inclined to give up big plays, so I’m going to go ‘over’ this week’s adjusted release that’s 24 yards higher than last week. Bombs away, Jay!
QB Aaron Rodgers: Total Passing Yards Over 302.5 (-115)
Just like Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers has played some of his best games against the Bears. He threw for a total of 580 yards and a TD/INT ratio of 8:1 in the team’s pair of meetings last season. However, he’s only thrown for more than 300 yards against Chicago once in eight lifetime starts. That’s the head scratcher. But with Cedric Benson leading the Packers on the ground, oddsmakers must think “Mr. Discount Double Check” will go to the air early and often. I agree.
WR Earl Bennett: Total Receptions Over 3 (-130)
Bennett was targeted four times against the Colts last week and hauled in a total of three receptions for 50 yards. With the Packers’ defense focused on shutting down Brandon Marshall, we expect the healthy possession receiver to reel in his fair share of throws as he keeps drive after drive alive. Bennett has averaged only 2.3 receptions in his last three games against the Pack, but I’m betting against history this time.
Will Either Team Score 3 Unanswered Times: No (+170)
As much as I’d like to say yes and hope for the Bears to return the favor to the Packers who turned a 14-10 game into a 35-10 blow-out in the team’s final meeting last season, I know better. Neither of these defenses have the ability to keep either offense in check this time around. This one will go back and forth all night long.
Total Field Goals Made: Under 3.5 (-135)
I cashed on the ‘under’ with this prop last week and I’m going right back to the well. Field goals will not be the deciding factor in this game. I expect both offenses to score their fair share of points, which means more sixes than threes. History is on my side, too. The last six times these teams have met, they’ve converted three field goals or fewer.
Total Punts by Both Teams: Under 10.5 (-130)
Adam Podlesh and Tim Masthay will be sitting back and watching the show. Not much need for punters tonight. It’s time for the Bears to put on the big boy pants and show the world they’re ready for business.
Chicago Bears (+6) -115
Anyone with a foam hat made of Wisconsin’s finest cheddar on top of his head will immediately dismiss the first of our investments, rolling his eyes and expecting the rest of this dissertation to be written through a pair of orange and blue sunglasses. Fret not, cheeseheads! I still think your team is solid and one of the best in the league. But not tonight.
Yes, Green Bay looked awful in their home opener last week against San Francisco, but the Niners are a hell of a squad and will make a number of other teams look just as bad if not worse this season. However, I believe that Chicago made the necessary moves in the off-season to beat the Packers at their own game. Bears fans got a glimpse of it last week with the explosive RB duo of Matt Forte and Michael Bush paired with the deep WR corps led by Brandon Marshall.
I’m far from enamored with the Bears defense, but finally, it now has an offense that won’t ask it to be perfect every time. Aaron Rodgers has torched that unit in the past, and tonight will be no different; even with Greg Jennings doubtful to go. Unlike in years past though, tonight won’t be about winning the time of possession battle nor will it be about winning the field position battle. This one will be about being the first to 40, something the Bears have already proved they can do.