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Bears vs. Falcons Betting Odds & Pick: Value On This Over?

Bears vs. Falcons Betting Odds & Pick: Value On This Over? article feature image

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Ryan

Bears vs. Falcons Odds

Bears Odds
+2.5 [BET NOW]
Falcons Odds
-2.5 [BET NOW]
47 [BET NOW]
1 p.m. ET on Sunday

Odds as of Sunday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Two games in, and the Atlanta Falcons’ season is already on the brink. This comes after an 0-2 start that includes a devastating Week 2 loss in which the Falcons blew an early 20-point lead in the first quarter and a 15-point lead in the fourth with 7:57 minutes left in the game.

The Falcons keep inventing new ways to lose games, and last week’s decision to not attempt to field an onside kick until the ball travelled 10 yards was a new low, even for them. Now they find themselves in a precarious position: Since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, 88% of the teams that started 0-2 ended up missing the playoffs.

Of course, now that field has expanded to 14 teams this season, and Atlanta will try again this Sunday to pick up its first win of the year as it hosts the 2-0 Bears in what could be a pivotal Week 3 matchup. However, multiple injuries to the Falcons makes it even more difficult to determine which strategy both teams are likely to deploy on Sunday.

Chicago Bears

The Bears have taken a different route to victory in each of their first two games this season: In their opener against the Lions, they battled back from a 23-6 deficit late in the third quarter to win the game. In Week 2, they had a 17-0 lead over the Giants at halftime and held on for a 17-13 win.

I’m not really sure what to make of the Bears after those two games, especially when you consider that both of their opponents are a combined 0-4.

Football Outsiders has the Bears ranked as sixth in defensive DVOA. Yet if we evaluate the scoring prowess of both of their opponents this season, we find that Detroit is ranked 16th in offensive DVOA while the Giants are ranked 31st.

Offensively, the Bears gained 363 yards in Week 1 and followed that up with 304 yards in Week 2. Mitch Trubisky’s highest passing yards mark was 214 in Week 1. If there ever was a day for Trubisky to gain some confidence throwing the ball, it would be on Sunday against a Falcons defense that is ranked 31st in opponent passing yards per game (372) and 23rd in opponent yards per completion (11.4).

I know the Falcons played two of the better offensive teams in the Seahawks and Cowboys, but over 16 games last season, they still struggled with pass defense as opposing teams gained 11.2 yards per completion through the air.

On the injury front, the Bears come into this game relatively healthy with all available players participating in practice on Friday and only Khalil Mack (knee) and Mario Edwards Jr. (thigh) listed as questionable for Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons, on the other hand, have serious injury concerns going into Week 3.

Atlanta was already without defensive back Kendall Sheffield (foot) but now safety Ricardo Allen has been ruled out after he suffered an elbow injury in last week’s game. That’s not a good sign for a team that’s allowed the most points per game (39) this season.

The reality is that Atlanta’s defense has been awful for quite some time. You would have to go back to 2015 to find an Atlanta team that didn’t finish in the bottom half of the league in points allowed per game. That 2015 season was also Dan Quinn’s first as head coach, and the defense has been downhill since.

Let’s not forget that Quinn made his bones as a defensive coordinator on the sidelines for the Seahawks when they had one of most feared defenses in all of football.

The Falcons are also dealing with injuries on their defensive line with Dante Fowler Jr. (ankle) and Takkarist McKinley (groin) questionable. Fowler didn’t practice until Friday and he was a limited participant, while McKinley didn’t practice for the entire week.

Atlanta’s biggest injury concern has to do with standout wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury coming into this season and it was troubling enough to keep him from practicing this week. It’s suspected that Jones might even have re-aggravated the injury last week.

However, even if Jones can’t go on Sunday, Matt Ryan will still have some weapons at his disposal with Calvin Ridley taking on a bigger role along with tight end Hayden Hurst. Last week, Ridley actually led Atlanta with 109 receiving yards while Jones had only 24 yards.

Even with Jones limited, the Falcons still managed to score 39 points in the game.

Atlanta will have a decision to make in regards to how it will look to attack the Bears, who haven’t exactly faced world-beaters on offense so far. The Falcons should provide a different test for the Bears, and a big key early on will be the pace of play. Per Football Outsiders, Atlanta is ranked fourth in the league in terms of pace (24.5 sec / play). If Jones is unavailable on Sunday, Atlanta could look to slow the game down so there are fewer possessions, which could mean fewer opportunities to have their defense on the field.

Bears-Falcons Pick

While Jones’ availability could impact the strategy the Falcons deploy in this game, I’m not exactly sure it would be wise for them to turn a strength of theirs into a weakness.

Fewer possessions in this game will likely benefit the Bears as their defense would have to face fewer drives against a good Falcons offense. Given Chicago’s offensive numbers — 22nd in the league in with points per game, 22nd in yards per game (333.5) and 25th in red-zone touchdown percentage (50%) — fewer possessions could allow them to keep close with the Falcons on the scoreboard and maybe have a chance to steal the game with a late possession.

Atlanta should continue to move the ball down the field and take advantage of its 62.5% touchdown percentage in the red zone. But I’m not 100% sure how good this Chicago defense is, and Jones’ questionable status is enough to keep me off the game.

Based on the information at hand, I would lean to the over.

I still like Atlanta’s weapons with Ridley, Hurst, mixed in with a sprinkle of Todd Gurley. And Chicago’s offense should also look better going against this depleted Falcons secondary.

BetMGM has the best number on the board with the over at 46.5 (-110) as of Saturday night. If I were playing this game, I’d play the over up to 47.5, but make sure to shop for the best line with our NFL odds page.

LEAN: Over 46.5

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