- The Chicago Bears open the 2019 NFL season as 3-point favorites over the Green Bay Packers
- The Bears were 6-1 against the spread in 2018 as a home favorite
- Can they continue to succeed in this situation tonight?
We are just two hours and 30 minutes (and counting) from kicking off the 2019 NFL season. Safe to say, I’m a little excited.
The first game of the season sees the Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers tonight (September 5) at 8:20pm ET. The Bears are listed as 3-point favorites at home, a situation they thrived in last season.
In seven games as home favorites last season, the Bears posted a very impressive 6-1 record against the spread.
Bears ATS Results as Home Favorites in 2018
|Week #||Opponent||Game Spread||Game Result||Chicago’s ATS Result|
|2||Seahawks||CHI -4.5||24-17 CHI||W|
|4||Buccaneers||CHI -3||48-10 CHI||W|
|8||Jets||CHI -8||24-10 CHI||W|
|10||Lions||CHI -7.5||34-22 CHI||W|
|11||Vikings||CHI -2.5||25-20 CHI||W|
|15||Packers||CHI -5.5||24-17 CHI||W|
|WC||Eagles||CHI -6.5||16-15 PHI||L|
As you see above, if we limited this to just regular season games, Chicago would have been 6-0 ATS in this situation.
The Patriots were the only team in the NFL who covered more spreads as a home favorite – they went 7-2 – and the Raiders are the only team whose return on investment was higher – but they only played one game as a home favorite last year.
Blindly betting Chicago in this situation last year would have netted you a 68.4% ROI, or a $479 profit off of $100 bets on each of those seven games, as you can see in our new SBD Sharp tool that analyzes sports betting data.
So should you ride this trend in Week 1 of 2019 as the Bears lay 3 points to the Packers?
Packers vs Bears Week 1 Spread
|Green Bay Packers||+3 (+101)|
|Chicago Bears||-3 (-119)|
See our matchup preview for the full odds for the Packers vs Bears season opener.
Bears Defense Won’t Be the Same Without Fangio
In 2018, under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the Chicago Bears defense generated a league-high 36 turnovers and took six of those balls the other way for six points – also an NFL-high. Continuing with the whole league-best trend, Chicago allowed just 17.7 points per game.
Eddie Jackson read Stafford like book
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 22, 2018
They also racked up 50 sacks, which was good for third-best in the league.
But as I mentioned, that was Fangio’s defense.
.@ChicagoBears showed a lot defensively this pre-season like most teams did, even though they didn’t play many starters. This preseason was anything BUT vanilla. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/1evZDkExKE
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 3, 2019
There is no doubt the talent is still there, but the 2019 version will be led by Chuck Pagano, former head coach of the Colts. In Pagano’s seven seasons as the head coach in Indianapolis, his defenses only finished better than 19th in points allowed once, and they never ranked better than tenth in takeaways.
I love the man as a motivator and I’m not here to say that those who fail as head coaches can’t be great coordinators – see Wade Phillips – but I need to see it first.
Packers are Hungry
Green Bay is coming off back-to-back nine-loss seasons and will enter 2019 with a new head coach: Matt LaFleur. But I’d be naive to say the biggest factor for the Packers right now is anything other than Aaron Rodgers health.
Rodgers missed nine games in 2017 with a fractured clavicle and played through a sprained MCL for basically the entire 2018 season. If Rodgers is healthy, this is going to be a very competitive team.
Aaron Rodgers OWNS the Bears
• 16-5 career record
• 5156 yards (best vs any opponent)
• 45 TDs (best vs any opponent)
• 67 competition % (best vs any opp)
• 105 QBR
— IKE Packers (@IKE_Packers) September 5, 2019
Give Rodgers a fresh start with a new head coach and the NFC North could be in trouble, assuming Rodgers can stay healthy.
The Best Bet
The Bears are going to blitz a lot more this year under Pagano and I don’t think that’s going to bode well for them in Week 1. Per PFF, Rodgers posted a 102.8 passer rating in 2018 when blitzed, topping his 96.0 passer rating when not blitzed, and threw nine touchdowns to zero interceptions in those 163 plays.
Rodgers only threw two interceptions all of last season, albeit one came against the Bears.
Any time I’m getting points with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, I’m going to gladly take them.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.