Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET

Bears at Vikings Betting Preview: Bears (+3.5/-110), Vikings (-3.5/-110)

Chicago Bears

Chicago snapped a six-game losing streak with a 36-7 home romp against Houston in Week 14, getting a big game from resurgent starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was 24-of-33 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns — with all three scores coming in the first half.

The Bears are seeking to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Vikings, who outgained Chicago 385-149 in a 19-13 win at Soldier Field in Week 10.

While Chicago still ranks 28th in the NFL with 93.2 rushing yards a game, the team is coming off its best ground game of the season, racking up 169 yards against Houston. David Montgomery went for 113 yards and a touchdown as the 6-7 Bears kept their playoff hopes alive.

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota stumbled to a 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 14 to fall to 6-7, one game behind Arizona for the NFC’s final wild-card spot. The Vikings hold the tiebreaker against the Bears by virtue of their head-to-head victory in Chicago.

Dalvin Cook rushed for 102 yards against the Buccaneers to eclipse the century mark for the third time in four games, but he’ll look to come untracked against the Bears, who limited Cook for much of Week 10 before a handful of late bursts helped him finish with 96 yards. Cook is tied for the NFL lead with 14 rushing touchdowns.

Placekicker Dan Bailey has missed four field goals and three extra points in the past two games.

The Minnesota defense has allowed a 100-yard rusher 10 times this season.

Bears at Vikings Betting Pick for Week 15

Cousins was sacked a season- and career-high six times at Tampa Bay. The Bears’ defense needs to come closer to that effort than the one-sack performance it had against the Vikings in Week 10 to remain in striking distance here. Yes, the Chicago offense has a different dynamic under Trubisky than replacement Nick Foles, who lumbered through the teams’ meeting at Soldier Field before leaving late with an injury, but Minnesota has schemed against Trubisky before.

Bears at Vikings Betting Pick:

Vikings 26, Bears 16

Bears at Vikings Best Bet for Week 15

The Vikings and Bears enter Week 15 tied for fourth in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing foes to score touchdowns on 52.3 percent of their visits inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Look for at least one ‘D’ to make a big play to thwart a scoring opportunity and keep the glitzy U.S. Bank scoreboard from getting excessively lit up in the final NFC North game before Christmas.

Bears at Vikings Best Bet: UNDER 46.5 total points (-110)

OddsUSA’s NFL Best Picks for Week 15

Happy Thursday football fans and welcome back to our weekly column in which we attempt to predict the outcome of some of the upcoming football games. Week 14 was a rough one for me, to say the least. I picked wins for the Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers.

How did I fare with those selections? Not too great. Despite losing six straight games, the Bears decided to have one of their better performances of the season en route to a 36-7 victory. Ouch. Meanwhile, the Steelers suffered their second straight loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills. Fortunately, the Packers proved to be my saving grace, as they edged the Detroit Lions 31-24.

Despite an unimpressive 1-2 week, my overall record stands at 31-10. That’s not too bad of a winning percentage but I’m hoping to do better this time around. So, with that being said, here’s a look at my top outright picks for Week 15. 

Week 15 NFL Best Bet No. 3:

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

This is the first (and probably the last) time that I’ve mentioned the Chicago Bears in back-to-back weeks. Could it be because I’m still smarting from their unexpected offensive explosion against the Texans? Perhaps it’s because I believe that their outing in Week 14 was more of an aberration rather than a sign of things to come. While Mitchell Trubisky turned in an impressive performance last week, I don’t see him throwing for another three touchdowns. 

James’ pick: Vikings win a close one

Week 15 NFL Best Bet No. 2:

Kansas City Chiefs (-4) at New Orleans Saints

Before I get into my pick for this matchup, I must admit that I’m surprised that the point spread isn’t a bit larger, considering Drew Brees’ status remains uncertain. New Orleans was the hottest team in the NFL going into Week 14, as they had won nine straight. However, they were upended by the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21. 

On the other side of the coin, the Chiefs extended their winning streak to eight games following a 33-27 victory against the Miami Dolphins. While Patrick Mahomes II had 393 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns, he also threw three interceptions and was sacked three times. If the Chiefs can win a game in which Mahomes had more INTs than touchdowns, that spells trouble for opposing defenses. For obvious reasons, this will be a high-scoring affair if Brees returns to the mix. But even if that is the case, the Chiefs will come out on top. 

James’ pick: Chiefs get their 13th win on the season

James’ NFL Best Bet of Week 15:

Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-9)

The Packers were my lone win from a week ago, so I make no apologies in making them my safe pick for the second consecutive week. My second reason for going with the Packers is because Carolina has dropped seven of its previous eight games. On top of that, whether you love him or hate him, Aaron Rodgers is playing at an MVP level (39 touchdowns against four interceptions) and that trend will continue against a team that has forced just five interceptions all season. 

James’ pick: Packers continue to roll

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, 1 p.m. ET

Texans at Bears Betting Preview: Texans (-1/-110), Bears (+1/-110)

Houston Texans

The Texans (4-8) have won two of their past three games but will look to bounce back from a 26-20 loss against the Indianapolis Colts a week ago. The teams combined for 44 points in the first half and only two points in the second half off a safety by the Colts.

This season has not gone according to plan for Houston, but interim coach Romeo Crennel has helped to steady the ship. After the Texans started the season 0-4 under former head coach Bill O’Brien, who then was fired, the team has posted a 4-4 record with Crennel at the helm.

Deshaun Watson certainly is not the reason for Houston’s woes. Watson enters Week 14 with an impressive 110.0 passer rating on the season. He has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 3,542 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. 

Chicago Bears

The Bears (5-7) are falling apart, and with each defeat that piles up, the scrutiny intensifies regarding the future of general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. Chicago has lost six games in a row, including a 34-30 collapse at home last week against the Detroit Lions.

Can Nagy get his players to regroup after a long string of disappointments? Maybe. But he will need a better effort from his defense, which has appeared to lose focus while giving up 75 points over the past two weeks. That marks a sharp downturn for a unit that had not surrendered more than 26 points in any of its first 10 games.

The Bears’ offense remains a work in progress, with Mitchell Trubisky coming off a good performance that ended with an awful turnover against Detroit. Trubisky has an 88.2 passer rating this season with 1,069 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Texans at Bears Betting Pick for Week 14

Both teams have turned in disappointing seasons and appear headed for sub-.500 finishes. But Houston is playing better right now, and until the Bears prove that they can put together a winning game plan, it will be hard to make a case for them.

Another factor to consider is that the Bears turned down a chance to draft Watson in 2017. Instead, Pace traded up to the No. 2 overall spot to select Trubisky, leaving Watson and his incredible college credentials on the board. Houston eventually picked Watson at No. 12 overall.

Could Watson still feel slighted? Could he try to stick it to the team that passed on him? It would not be a surprise in the least.

Texans at Bears Betting Pick:

Texans 31, Bears 21

Texans at Bears Best Bet for Week 14

The weather forecast is something worth watching as game time approaches. Early forecasts call for a high of 33 degrees and a low of 23 degrees, with a chance for precipitation. Any kind of wet weather could lead to a sloppy field along Chicago’s chilly lakefront, which could subdue both offenses. However, the Bears’ defense has been a sieve of late, and Houston has given up 26.9 points per game, which ranks 24th in the league. Barring nasty weather, look for the offenses to prevail.

Texans at Bears Best Bet: OVER 45 total points (-108)

OddsUSA’s NFL Best Picks for Week 14

Happy Thursday football fans and welcome to our weekly column where we attempt to predict the outcome of several contests for the upcoming slate of NFL games. In Week 13, the New York Giants upended the Seattle Seahawks, while the Washington Football team handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the season.

That said, picking games isn’t always as easy as it seems. Last week, I predicted victories for the Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Titans fell to the Browns. The Raiders barely squeaked by the winless New York Jets, and the Chiefs edged the Denver Broncos by a 22-16 margin. On the heels of another 2-1 week, my overall season record stands at 30-8. Now that you’ve brought up to speed, here’s a look at my outright picks for Week 14. 

Week 14 NFL Best Bet No. 3: 

Houston Texans (2-5) at Chicago Bears

To say the Chicago Bears have had a tough season would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I knew their 5-1 start was based on good fortune more so than the team being good. And the last six weeks have proven just that. In Week 13, the Bears led by a double-digit margin (30-20) with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. That should have been a big enough lead, right? Wrong. Detroit scored a TD to close the gap to three points and their defense forced a turnover deep in Bears’ territory that eventually led to another touchdown. The final result was a 34-30 loss in a game they had no business losing, especially since the offense had one of its better performances of the season. So, with that said Bears fans, if you’re thinking of putting money on your team this week, I highly recommend that you reconsider. 

James’ pick: Texans hand Bears another loss

Week 14 NFL Best Bet No. 2:

Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills

This is probably one of the best matchups in Week 14. On one side of the coin, you have a Steelers’ team that is smarting a bit following a 23-17 loss to the Washington Football team. Oh, and I should probably mention that Pittsburgh led that game 14-0 before scoring just three points the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Josh Allen is coming off one of his solid outing in Buffalo’s 34-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers. In that contest, he was 32 for 40 for 375 yards to go along with four touchdowns. 

The Steelers’ defense has recorded 44 sacks, which leads the NFL. That’s an impressive stat, to say the least. However, here’s an interesting tidbit via CBS Sports. There have been five games in which Allen has been sacked multiple times. In those outings, he is averaging 300 passing yards per game and two touchdowns. Even more important, the Bills have won each of those contests. This is going to be a very competitive game as the current point-spread indicates (courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook). The betting line is even smaller on the Sporting News website (-1). In the end, though, look for the Steelers to make a statement in this one following two lackluster performances against Baltimore and Washington. 

James’ pick: Steelers get back into the win column

James’ NFL Best Bet of Week 14:

Green Bay Packers (-8) at Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have dropped two of their previous three contests. And the 34 points they produced against the Bears was more than what they put up in the last two games combined. Conversely, Green Bay has won four of its last five games and Aaron Rodgers is putting up MVP-caliber numbers. Although the teams have split the last four meetings at Ford Field, with a division title and a chance to remain in contention for the top spot in the conference, the Packers will come out on top here. 

As a side note, the over/under on this matchup is 55. Given the fact that the Packers are averaging 31.3 points per outing and the Lions are at 23.8, taking that 55 may be a safe bet. Another bet you may want to consider is the number of yards Aaron Rodgers will have. Since he has failed to reach the 250-yard plateau only three times through 12 games, betting that he will surpass that mark is probably a good call as well.

James’ pick: Packers roll to third straight win

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears Betting Preview

Monday, November 16, 2020, Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, 8:15 p.m. ET

Vikings at Bears Betting Preview: Vikings (-2.5/-120), Bears (+2.5/-102)

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings (3-5) have looked like a different team the past two weeks, when they have posted back-to-back wins over the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Running back Dalvin Cook is the type of player whom opposing coaches refer to as a “game wrecker” because of his ability to change momentum on a single play.

How good has Cook been? Well, he rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns last week, which followed a four-touchdown performance (three rushing, one receiving) a week earlier. Cook has 858 rushing yards, tops in the NFL through Week 9. His 12 rushing touchdowns are one shy of his career high, set last year.

Minnesota is not as reliable on defense, having allowed 40-plus points twice this season. However, the Vikings are trending in the right direction in that category, as well, as they are coming off a week in which they gave up a season-low 20 points to Detroit.

Chicago Bears

The Bears (5-4) are sliding, and questions are swirling about whether head coach Matt Nagy will give up play-calling duties this week. Nagy admitted that it is a possibility but indicated that he will not tell media members before the game whether he has taken himself out of the equation.

At this point, the Bears might be wise to try something different to shake up the offense. The team has lost three games in a row, and an injury-riddled offensive line has struggled badly to provide protection for veteran quarterback Nick Foles. Nagy’s playbook is complex, and his plays often require time for the quarterback to diagnose coverages and make reads down the field, and Foles simply is not getting enough time in the pocket to achieve that task.

That said, it is not all doom and gloom for Chicago. The Bears boast a top-tier defense with a superstar leader, linebacker Khalil Mack. If the offense can limit mistakes and put a couple touchdowns on the board, the defense is more than capable of doing its part.

Vikings at Bears Betting Pick for Week 10

These two teams know each other well, and division rivalries such as this one tend to produce close, low-scoring games. For reference, look no further than last season, when the Bears beat the Vikings 16-6 in Chicago and 21-19 in Minneapolis. Offensive barnburners, they were not.

Cook is electric, but he has averaged only 2.5 yards per carry against the Bears in his career. Still, it is hard to argue that Chicago’s anemic offense can find a way to outscore Minnesota. Could this game finally mark the end of Kirk Cousins’ 0-9 drought on “Monday Night Football”?

Vikings at Bears Betting Pick:

Vikings 20, Bears 16

Vikings at Bears Best Bet for Week 10

Both teams are desperate for a victory, and the Bears figure to play inspired defense at home in front of a national TV audience. But it ultimately might not matter whether Nagy or an assistant coach calls Chicago’s plays. Without a dependable offensive line, the plays could break down regardless, leading to another low-scoring affair.

Vikings at Bears Best Bet: UNDER 43.5 total points (-110)