Saints vs. Bears Odds & Playoff Picks: Why We Like This Big Favorite To Cover On Wild Card Sunday
Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Brees, Khalil Mack
Saints vs. Bears Odds
The 2-seeded New Orleans Saints host the 7-seeded Chicago Bears on Sunday of Wild Card Weekend. Find our comprehensive betting preview below, featuring the following (click a bullet point to skip ahead):
Bears vs. Saints Picks
Our staff details how they’re betting Sunday’s game. Click on a pick type below to skip ahead to that analysis.
Anderson: When these teams met in Week 8, the Saints needed overtime to win on the road. Drew Brees played in that game, but wide receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders were out, and Nick Foles was still playing for the Bears. Brees and the Saints were only 2-of-13 on third down and didn’t get the offense moving much but pulled out the win anyway.
The teams played in Chicago a year ago, too. Brees missed that one, but Teddy Bridgewater led the Saints to an easy 36-25 victory.
The Saints should certainly win here, too.
What would a Bears victory look like, though? It would look like a very long offseason for the Saints and plenty of retirement questions for Brees, because if the Bears win, it would almost certainly mean a terrible game from him.
Brees may not have been as sharp as usual, and he’s certainly not throwing downfield much, but he still completed more than 70% of his passes and threw only six interceptions with just 13 sacks taken all season.
The Bears would need some big defensive plays, a good game from running back David Montgomery and a couple key throws by Mitch Trubisky. They would also need their defense to outplay New Orleans, and they may need Trubisky to outplay Brees.
I don’t buy it.
Brees may not have four postseason wins in him, but the Saints are a different team at home on the turf, and I expect this offense to find its rhythm with Alvin Kamara and Thomas back on the field. Thomas’ return is huge — remember, he caught 149 passes a year ago, and he gives Brees a level of comfortability he missed much of the season.
But for all the attention on Brees, it’s both defenses that swing this for me. New Orleans is the better defense this time, and I worry that the absence of linebacker Roquan Smith and potential absence of cornerback Jaylon Johnson would be too big of losses for Chicago.
So can the Bears cover? I just can’t talk myself into putting money on them to do it and seeing them fall behind early with no ability to come back or close a gap. If the Saints struggle to get moving, maybe the Bears stay in this and keep it close, but there are just too many scenarios in which the Bears fall out of it.
I grabbed the Saints when this line opened at single digits, and I’ll take them here at -10. But if the line rises any further from there, I may wait for a slow start and look to live bet the Saints at closer to a touchdown closer to halftime.
Freedman: An indoor playoff game? I can’t help myself. Historically, the over in domed playoff contests is 29-12 (40.3% ROI).
Bears-Saints Player Prop Bet
Mitch Trubisky Under 1.5 Pass TDs (-120)
Sean Koerner: Trubisky appeared to resurrect his career in Weeks 13-16, leading the Bears on a 3-1 run to help them make the playoffs. But he faced the three worst defenses in the league by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric over that four-game stretch, and he predictably flopped against the Packers in Week 17 with 252 yards, an interception and no touchdowns.
I have the fair line for him throwing for fewer than 1.5 touchdowns set at -155 against a Saints defense that ranks second in DVOA against the pass.
Most Valuable Bears-Saints Players
Our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, highlights the five most valuable players for both teams based on how many points they’re worth to the spread.
- Alvin Kamara (+0.50) was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list one week before the playoffs start. The Saints may be without him for the first round, but head coach Sean Payton is an offensive genius and can usually help soften the blow any time an individual skill player misses time.
- The Saints expect Michael Thomas (+1.11) to be “close to 100 percent” for the start of the postseason. His return will be even more urgent if they will be without Kamara (+0.50).
- DL David Onyemata (+0.28) is arguably the most underrated player on the team.
- The Bears are one of the few teams where the starting QB isn’t going to move the line much — if at all. Mitch Trubisky (+1.47) has led them to three straight wins, so maybe he would lower the Bears’ power rating by a half-point if Nick Foles (+1.18) had to replace Trubisky.
- David Montgomery (+0.33) is having a breakout season. He’s one of the most valuable RBs in the league right now, considering the Bears don’t have much depth at the position with Tarik Cohen (+0.04) on season-ending IR.
- Khalil Mack (+0.71) is still valuable enough to move the spread by a full point if he were ever to be ruled out.
Bears-Saints WR/CB Matchups
Wide receiver vs. cornerback matchups might be the most important individual matchups in football. Read senior NFL analyst Matthew Freedman’s breakdown of the expected matchups this Sunday.