Bears vs. Broncos Betting Odds & Picks: Will Chicago’s Defense Dominate Denver?
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Khalil Mack
Bears at Broncos Betting Odds
- Odds: Bears -2.5
- Total: 40.5
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: FOX
Odds above as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).
The Bears managed three points in their season opener, but the defense looked every bit as dominant as it did in 2018.
What should you expect from Chicago in Denver?
Our analysts break down the most important angles of this game, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pair of expert picks.
Bears-Broncos Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Bears
Denver will be without starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee), which is not ideal with a solid Bears pass-rush up next.
Other players in question are LB Todd Davis (calf) and FB Andy Janovich (pec). Davis got in limited practices this week but didn’t suit up in Week 1 while Janovich hasn’t practiced this week.
Trey Burton’s (groin) status still appears to be up in the air, even though he’s logged in limited practices.
The biggest potential loss for the Bears could be NT Eddie Goldman (oblique), who missed practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. He was one of the team’s best defenders against the run. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Bears -0.5
- Projected Total: 39
This is an interesting matchup as both teams performed poorly on national TV in Week 1. It seems that the public is being more forgiving of the Bears’ dud and is willing to side with them as the line is now up to 2.5 and pushing up to the ultimate key number of 3.
If and when this line gets to 3, it will be time to come in on the Broncos.
Another angle for this matchup is the under. We have two very good defenses facing two offenses that looked underwhelming in Week 1.
The total has dropped from 41 to 40.5, and I ultimately think the pressure will push it below 40. Forty and 41 are key numbers for totals, so I’m willing to wait and see if it goes back up to 41 or beyond. But if it stays at 40.5 or drops any further, this will be a pass for me. — Sean Koerner
Bears’ Defensive Front vs. Broncos’ Offensive Line
The Bears proved they still have one of the NFL’s best defenses in their season opener. If you thought otherwise, you’re crazy.
They were always going to have a huge advantage over the Broncos’ O-line in this matchup, but now it’s an even bigger mismatch with news that James will not play on Sunday. The drop-off to backup Elijah Wilkinson is significant.
There’s only so much highly-respected OL coach Mike Munchak can do with this unit in so little time. While I love the hire long-term, Chicago’s endless list of fully capable pass rushers should feast against this subpar line trying to protect a 34-year-old Joe Flacco.
Expect to hear Mack’s name called all game as he gets two dream matchups on the outside against either tackle: Garett Bolles or Wilkinson. If the Raiders (a defense with the lowest pressure rate in 2018) were getting to Flacco, just imagine what the Bears will do. I mean this is a defense that took down Aaron Rodgers five times last week and were one of four teams to finish with at least 50 sacks last season. — Stuckey
Stuckey: Bears -2.5/First-Half Moneyline Split
Despite both teams’ tragic Week 1 showings, I ultimately trust Chicago more for three primary reasons.
1. The rest and preparation advantage.
The Broncos played on Monday night in Oakland while the Bears kicked off their 2019 campaign last Thursday against the Packers. That gives Matt Nagy and Co. four extra days of preparation for this matchup.
2. Vic Fangio is limited schematically on defense.
He just can’t do what he wants with his current set of corners. He likely won’t have Bryce Callahan available again, which is a massive void to fill. Fangio had three plus-corners and the best set of safeties in Chicago. There’s only so much he can do with one reliable healthy cornerback in Chris Harris Jr.
The Raiders constantly picked on Isaac Yiadom and the Bears should do the same. There’s a reason the Broncos have been searching for corner help this week — their secondary is a mess. That’s a hard thing to fix on a short week.
3. The mismatch in the trenches.
And last but certainly not least is the aforementioned advantage the Bears’ defensive front will enjoy against the Broncos’ offensive line. This will likely decide the outcome.
I’ll swim with the public and bet on a bounceback from the Bears in a good situational spot. I like anything under a field goal and would split it up with a 1H wager on Chicago, mainly to take advantage of the Mitchell Trubisky splits. He’s been much better throughout his career in the first quarter during the scripted portion of games.
John Ewing: Over 40.5
The Bears failed to score a touchdown and kicked one field goal in their opener — tied for the fewest points scored in Week 1. Denver wasn’t much better putting up 16 points against an Oakland unit that finished 30th in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA in 2018.
The offensive struggles by the Bears and Broncos hurt over bettors to start the season. Each team went under their Week 1 total. The public hasn’t forgotten the poor performances as more than 60% of tickets are on the under as of writing (see live public betting data here).
Recreational gamblers are overreacting to one bad offensive game, which could be costly. Historically, it’s been profitable to bet the over when both teams went under the previous week.
The most profitable time to bet the over after teams went under is early in the season when we can take advantage of bettors putting too much emphasis on a small sample of player and team performances.
Since 2003, bettors following this strategy in Weeks 2-4 have gone 100-62-1 (61.7%). A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $3,354 following this system.