Green Bay Packers (7-6 SU, 7-5-1 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (3-10 SU, 6-7 ATS)
Week 15 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: GB -7/CHI +7
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Green Bay Packers come to Soldier Field on Sunday to face the Chicago Bears in NFC North action. The Bears lost another one on Sunday, as their record fell to 3-10. For bettors, however, the Bears have become a nice little darkhorse threat with four straight covers. On Sunday, they went into Detroit and the Lions needed a late-4th quarter TD to salvage a 20-17 win. The Bears look for another plucky performance this week at home. They will be facing a surging Packers team that has won three games in a row. On Sunday, Green Bay smashed Seattle in Lambeau, 38-10. After a four-game losing streak threatened to take them out of it, they have bounced back and look to solidify their postseason case with another win this week.
The Bears weren't terribly competitive with their divisional rival Packers when they played them at Lambeau Field on October 20, losing 26-10. The Packers followed that win with a 4-game losing streak, so they might actually be in better form this time around. But Aaron Rodgers was on-point with three TD tosses among his 326 yards, as the Packers had their way with the Chicago pass-defense. Matt Barkley threw two picks for the Bears, who had a woeful 189 yards of total offense. Seven of their ten points in the game came with a defensive fumble recovery in the end zone.
Since then, the Bears have played better, though their 2-4 record wouldn't suggest that on the surface. At least they've been covering spreads, with wins over the Vikings and 49ers in that stretch. With growing experience, Barkley has been seeing his performances improve. And they're getting top receiver Alshon Jeffery back from a 4-game suspension this week. In the meanwhile, they've been getting good showings from Cameron Meredith and Josh Bellamy. The shining light on their offense has been the performance of rookie back Jordan Howard, who is closing in on 1000 yards. He is on a run of six straight productive games. If they can get all their aerial weapons healthy at the same time, including Marquess Wilson and Eddie Royal, the Bears can develop an identity on offense moving forward. They are an offense on the rise, though poor QB play and injuries have cost them the ability to establish any continuity.
The Chicago defense has also been playing better. Their pass-rush is becoming to come around, with ten sacks in the past two games. They've been getting more turnovers and are making more of an overall impact on the Chicago team effort. Only twice has a team scored in the thirties against this group this season. They've allowed just 26 combined points in their last two games. They've actually been pretty solid against opposing aerial offenses this season, ranked 6th in the NFL. It's hard to sugar-coat a 3-10 season. John Fox could be looking at his last three games as coach. But despite all the negativity they've endured, they're still in there trying and being competitive. Lately, the betting value on this team has been solid and they warrant a hard look here this week at home against the Packers.
The Packers parlayed a robust performance from their defense on Sunday, along with a strong performance from Aaron Rodgers to get the big home win on Sunday against a good Seattle team. After beating the sliding Eagles and Texans, this win adds a lot of credence to their late-season cause. The Packers have seen their defense step up in a big way, allowing a scant 36 combined points in their last three games. And after some people began to question Rodgers' performance this season, he has responded with three straight big games.
BET THE PACKERS VS. BEARS GAME FROM THE COMFORT OF HOME! DEPOSIT $100 AND GET $100 FREE AT ONE OF THE WEB'S OLDEST SPORTSBOOKS: BOVADA SPORTSBOOK
The Packers are dealing with injuries and have seen their offense suffer on the line and in the run-game. Still, even with discarded Seattle back Christine Michael and converted receiver Ty Montgomery, the Packers can still create a bit on the ground. Aerially, Rodgers has been accurate, looking like his vintage self in recent weeks. He's getting a lot of help from Jordy Nelson, who has been big returning from a lost 2015 season. He caught two TD passes on Sunday, with the vastly-improved Davante Adams pulling in a TD with 104 yards receiving on the day.
The Green Bay defense has been getting better over the course of the season and that's after looking like things had gotten completely sideways. Before this three-game win streak, they had given up a massive 153 combined points during their 4-game losing streak. But in their last three games, that combined total has shrunken to 36 points. They got a little healthier and regained their playmaking ability. On Sunday, they picked off Russell Wilson five times and sacked him three times. The pass-rush has been getting better and they're making plays, while being far more-robust overall.
The urgency factor clearly favors the Packers. The Bears are at home, but that's a home-field advantage that hasn't manifested all that positively in the past few seasons. Green Bay appears to have caught onto some good momentum and the Bears aren't showing the kind of fire that would suggest they're the ones who will separate the Packers from this good feeling and momentum. At the same time, there are a lot of Bears' players who are trying really hard to make a good impression, as a lot of non-established players are getting a lot of playing time. The weather could also prevent a Green Bay offensive onslaught. I'm taking the home dog.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Chicago Bears plus 7 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Packers vs. Bears game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!