Sunday Night Football betting preview. Bears vs Packers

Dropping Dimes

Chicago Bears +375 (+9) @ Green Bay Packers -500 (-9): Total 45  

The Bears limp into this game having now lost four games in a row. Chicago got off to a hot start which saw them sit at 5-1 after Week 6, but they’re now just .500 on the season. There is some good news for Chicago though. Despite the horrid stretch, they’re in a division which has seen most of the teams underperform. The Packers have a two game lead at 7-3 but a loss here would put the Bears one game back with the lead in the season series, and one more game to play against the Packers. 

Green Bay’s struggles haven’t been as prominent as Chicago’s but they enter Week 12 having gone 2-2 in their last four games. The Packers had to gut out a close victory against the lowly Jaguars two games ago and then lost last week on the road vs. the Colts. It’s hardly been an inspiring stretch from the Packers whose defense has allowed 24 or more points in three of their last four games now. Chicago has been one of the worst offenses in the league but the big news here surrounds their QB, a position which will again be filled by Mitchell Trubisky for this game. 

Chicago didn’t outright bench Nick Foles (he’s doubtful with a hip injury) but they may have made this change even if he was healthy. The Bears actually went 3-0 with Trubiksy as starter to start the season–he got pulled halfway through the Falcons game they were losing–and he’d thrown for 6 TDs and 3 INTs in three games, while rushing for 29-yards per game. The move at least gives the Bears an added element of mobility from the pocket, which should be helpful considering they have averaged just 78-rush yards per game this year, the worst mark in the league.

Trubisky is 1-3 the last two years against the Packers although one of those loses was quite winnable and probably mainly attributable to some terrible in-game management by Matt Nagy. None of the four games these two teams have played since the start of 2018 have been decided by more than 8-points either. From an Against the Spread perspective, neither of these teams have been terrible. Chicago is 5-5 ATS on the season and are 3-2 as the away team ATS this year, Green Bay is 6-4 ATS on the season and just 2-2 ATS as the home team. While the perception of these teams is radically different given who they are starting at QB, the bottom-line here is that there really isn’t much separating them from a performance standpoint in 2020 and both come limping/semi-limping into this game.

Key injuries

Packers

  • Kevin King, CB  Questionable
  • Tyler Ervin, RB  Questionable
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR Questionable

Bears

  • Nick Foles, QB Doubtful
  • Akiem Hicks, DT Questionable
  • Buster Skrine, DB Questionable

Bears offense vs Packers defense

As I’ll mention several times in this article, the Bears offense has only been surpassed, in sheer awfulness, by what is going on in New York with Adam Gase and the Jets this year. The Bears are averaging just 78 yards on the ground and sit second-last in total yards as well. Their O-Line can shoulder quite a bit of blame as they’ve allowed the 12th-most sacks in the league but rate out terribly from every angle. Nick Foles wasn’t good but he was also under duress on pretty much every snap since taking over as starter and it eventually led to him getting carted off in the Bears last game. 

The injury for Foles wasn’t major (he could even be active for this game) but it was enough for the Bears to go back to Mitchell Trubisky this week. Trubisky likely should have never been benched as he brings an element Chicago’s offense desperately needs, which is the ability to move the ball with his feet. The QB change could also be an upgrade for Allen Robinson. Going back to last season, Robinson hasn’t received less than 9-targets from Trubisky in the last six regular season games the duo has played together. Green Bay only ranks 18th in sacks so Trubisky should have a little time to get the ball out here and his mobility should also help in that regard.

This matchup does seem like it will be mostly about the Packers ability to stop Robinson and Trubisky. No one else on the Bears has been able to offer any kind of consistent production, although rookie Darnell Mooney, who runs a sub-4.4 40m, has gotten consistent separation this year. If Robinson can win his matchup against Jaire Alexander, or whoever he’s matched up against and Trubisky can escape the pressure with his feet, Chicago’s offense at least has a shot of getting off the mat here and keeping this game close. 

Packers offense vs Bears defense

These are two of the elite units in the league. Despite Chicago’s offense putting the Bears defense in terrible spots this year they still come into Week 12 having given up the sixth-fewest points against and the ninth-fewest yards against per game. One injury note to watch here is the health of DE Akiem Hicks who is a true gametime decision for this contest. If Hicks sits, it would be a major upgrade of the Packers RBs, mainly Aaron Jones. Jones comes into this game having been bottled up lately and held under 60-yards rushing in his last three starts. 

The Bears haven’t allowed a 300+ yard passer all season but they do have perhaps their most difficult matchup of the year here. Aaron Rodgers has gone for over 300+ yards passing in each of his last two starts and threw for 3 TDs and 311 yards against a tough Colts defense last week. He’s had nothing worse than a 108 passer rating in each of his last three games. The Bears have had Rodgers’ number of late and held him to 203 yards passing in two games last season. Much like the Bears with Robinson, the Packers don’t have a ton of people to rely on outside of Davante Adams at receiver. Adams put up 107 yards and a TD against the Bears in Week 15 last year but Green Bay still lost.

Allen Lazard then could be the key to unlocking a win for Green Bay this week. He returned to action last week against Indy but only played 60% of the snaps. He was clearly emerging as the number two man for Rodgers though before getting injured, going for 146-yards and a TD in Week 3 before going on IR. Lazard could be a difference-maker this week but look for the Bears to again make life tough on Arod and company here. The status of Akiem Hicks could be the break the Packers need though as a heavy Aaron Jones game would take the pressure off Rodgers to use his secondary receivers. 

Game and prop bets

Bet: Chicago Bears +9

Nobody wants to bet on the Bears, and people especially don’t want to bet against Aaron Rodgers. I get all that, but let’s not confuse the Packers for an elite team just yet. In their last four games they’ve had an unconvincing win over the Jags–where they needed a stop late in the game to close out the win–a loss to the Vikings (who lost at home to Dallas last week) and a loss to the Colts. Green Bay’s becoming easier to pass on every week it seems and they’re now just 18th in sacks per game. 

Chicago may be inept on offense but the insertion of Trubisky back in the lineup at least gives them an element they didn’t have before when statuesque Nick Foles was under center. The main element here though, which should have us leaning towards Chicago, is the Bears defense. Despite being so completely lousy on offense that they’re now ranked above only the Jets in points scored per game, the Bears defense has held its ground and ranks 6th in points allowed in 2020. In their five losses on the year, the Bears have only lost by more than 8 once, and their defense has given them the ball with the opportunity to win or tie on the last drive in each of their last three games. It may feel dirty and counterintuitive to bet against Aaron Rodgers, but trusting Chicago’s defense here is the right call as any offensive spark brought on by their change at QB could easily push this one to be much tighter than the line indicates. These two teams are closer than the line indicates and the Bears ATS feel like the play here. 

Player prop bets

Aaron Rodgers under 296.5 passing yards

I get that it’s Aaron Rodgers but this is a massive total to hit for any QB going up against the Bears. First, Chicago doesn’t put up many points so there isn’t a huge likelihood of Rodgers throwing 35+ times here. Second, Chicago just doesn’t give up that many big passing plays. Nobody has thrown for over 300+ yards against them this season and Rodgers was held to 203 passing yards in two games against CHI last year. The under here seems like a great play.

Mitch Trubisky over 18.5 rush yards

It’s hard to predict any of the Bears offensive players to do much, even against a semi-flimsy defense like Green Bay’s. Normally, this would be a great spot to take the opposing Running Back for an over on yardage given Green Bay has the 11th-worst YPC against average on the season. They’ve also been bad at stopping any QB with even slight mobility from picking up yardage on the ground too as DeShaun Watson and Kirk Cousins–who really isn’t that mobile–both cracked 30+yards rushing against them. With terrible running backs to work with you should see Trubisky take off here as much as needs to given this is a potential career saving start for him. The over here feels like a solid play.

Dropping Dimes