Packers vs. Bears Odds & Picks: How To Bet the Sunday Night Football Total
Getty Images. Pictured: Khalil Mack, Aaron Rodgers
- The Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears as 8-point favorites on Sunday Night Football.
- With cold temperatures and winds forecasted for this divisional battle, where does the betting value lie?
- Our senior NFL analyst Chris Raybon breaks down the NFC North matchup before making his pick on the total.
Packers vs. Bears Odds
In the midst of a four-loss streak, the Bears will turn back to Mitch Trubisky at quarterback. Will it make a difference against the division-leading Packers?
Either way, the value doesn’t appear to be on either side of this Sunday Night Football spread.
Is there any difference between Trubisky and Nick Foles?
- Trubisky: 59.3% cmp, 6.5 YPA, 7.0% TD%, 3.5% INT%, 7.5% Sk%, 53.6 QBR, 5.24 ANYA
- Foles: 65.0% cmp%, 6.0 YPA, 3.2% TD%, 2.6% INT%, 5.5% Sk%, 44.4 QBR, 4.70 ANYA
Trubisky has slightly better efficiency numbers than Foles overall, but amassed them against a much easier schedule that included the Lions, Giants and Falcons. Foles, meanwhile, was better at avoiding negative plays, throwing fewer incompletions and interceptions while taking fewer sacks.
Trubisky’s mobility could help some, as the Packers gave up 38 yards on seven carries to Deshaun Watson — the only mobile quarterback they’ve faced — but overall, the quarterback change is largely a wash.
With near-freezing temps and double-digit winds, this game could be decided on the ground. The Packers run defense has been shaky all season, ranking 20th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The Bears run game has been nonexistent, but it is encouraging that the similarly-struggling Colts were able to pick up 113 yards on 32 attempts last week against the Packers (which could have been a lot more if not for a comical litany of holding penalties).
The Bears will get back running back David Montgomery, whose 3.6 yards per carry mark is pitiful, but still better than the 2.5 yards per carry Cordarrelle Patterson provided starting in place of Montgomery last week.
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s first game taking over playcalling duties for Matt Nagy was not promising: The Bears ran only 34% of the time and totaled a measly 149 total yards of offense. Perhaps Lazor will lean on the run more with Montgomery back, but there’s seemingly no quick fix for this offense, regardless of who the quarterback, running back or playcaller is.
It doesn’t help that left tackle Charles Leno is a game-time decision after injuring his toe in practice on Wednesday.
Green Bay Packers
The Bears mark the third top-five defense in DVOA that the Packers will have played since their Week 5 bye.
In the other two matchups, the Packers offense went AWOL for long stretches: In Week 5 against the Buccaneers, the Packers went scoreless over the final 45:48 after jumping out to a 10-0 lead, ultimately losing 38-10. And last week against the Colts, the Packers managed only three points over the final 33:06, blowing a 14-point lead to lost in overtime, 34-31.
Since Khalil Mack joined the Bears in 2018, the Packers have mustered point totals of 24, 17, 10 and 21 with Rodgers averaging 241.5 yards passing with 1.25 touchdowns in those meetings. Because of the drop-off in receiving talent after Davante Adams, Rodgers tends to struggle against defenses that are able to hold up long enough in coverage without sending extra rushers, and the Bears rank sixth in yards per pass attempt allowed (6.8) while blitzing at the sixth-lowest rate (21.4% per Pro Football Reference).
Packers running backs have struggled to run against the Bears over the last four meetings as well:
- Week 15, 2019: 21-77-2
- Week 1, 2019: 18-39-0
- Week 15, 2018: 16-63-1
- Week 1, 2018: 17-54-0
The Packers offense would get a boost if the Bears are without defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (hamstring), who is second on the team in total pressures (35 per Pro Football Focus) and is also one of the team’s best run defenders. Still, this is one of the toughest matchups the Packers offense will face all season.
Despite the Packers averaging only 18.0 points per game against the Bears since they acquired Mack, Green Bay has won three of those four games thanks to Chicago’s ineptitude of offense as the Bears averaged just 15.8 points per game across those four contests.
Trubisky vs. Foles is a wash, so Trubisky starting doesn’t create value on a spread that has jumped to -8. If forced to choose a side, I would still lean Packers, as Rodgers is 35-21-1 against the spread following a straight-up loss, according to our Bet Labs data.
However, given that the Bears match up well on defense and the weather forecast is shaping up as one not conducive to a huge passing day, I like the value on the total more.
Per our Bet Labs data, the under is 9-4 in Trubisky’s starts as a road underdog. These teams have combined for an average of 33.75 points per game over their last four meetings, which drops to 23.5 in the two matchups featuring Matt LaFleur vs. Matt Nagy.
Now facing each other for the third time, the familiarity between Nagy and LaFleur should only increase the likelihood of this being a low-scoring game, as divisional games played in November or later have gone under at a 56.5% clip since 2003:
PICK: Under 44.5 (down to 43)