Vikings vs. Bears Odds, Picks, Predictions: An Expert’s Guide To Betting Monday Night Football Week 15
Getty Images. Pictured: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson & RB Dalvin Cook, Bears RB David Montgomery
- The Bears host the Vikings for the Week 15 edition of Monday Night Football — see how our expert is betting the matchup below.
Vikings vs. Bears Odds
|Time||8:15 p.m. ET|
The Minnesota Vikings are coming off long rest after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday night, while the Chicago Bears are on short rest after blowing a lead and losing to the Green Bay Packers last week on Monday Night Football.
The Vikings are 7-6 against the spread (ATS), while the Bears are 4-9 ATS on the season.
So, will the Vikings take care of business against a short-handed Bears squad that is dealing with plenty of COVID-19 issues?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Vikings vs. Bears Injury Report
- WR Adam Thielen (ankle): Questionable
- LT Jason Peters (ankle): Out
- CB Xavier Crawford (concussion): Out
- S Deandre Houston-Carson (forearm): Out
- WR Marquise Goodwin (foot): Doubtful
- DT Khyris Tonga (shoulder/illness): Doubtful
- DT Akheim Hicks (ankle): Questionable
- LB Roquan Smith (hamstring): Questionable
Vikings vs. Bears Matchup
|Vikings Offense||DVOA Rank||Bears Defense|
|Vikings Defense||DVOA Rank||Bears Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Vikings Riding High & Well Rested
In case you missed Dalvin Cook’s 28-touch, 222 yards and two-touchdown outburst last Thursday against the Steelers, the Vikings’ MO on offense is clear: Feed Cook. In two games against the Bears last season, he touched the ball 63 times, piling up 271 yards from scrimmage and a score.
Cook should have success in this spot, as the Bears defense has struggled against opposing backs, ranking 22nd in DVOA against the run and 20th in DVOA on passes to running backs.
When Kirk Cousins drops back to pass, he will likely do so from a clean pocket: Despite blitzing 23.2% of the time, according to Pro Football Reference, the Bears have generated pressure on the opposing passer just 20.3% of the time, which is fourth-worst in the league. Chicago plays man coverage at the fifth-highest rate in the NFL, per data from PFF, so the return of Adam Thielen would be huge, as along with Justin Jefferson, it would give Cousins two options who can win one-on-one.
Regardless, Jefferson should have his way, especially with Jaylon Johnson — who ranks 46th of 120 qualified cornerbacks in PFF’s grades — out of the matchup on the COVID list. The Bears have struggled to slow down opposing No. 1 wide receivers, ranking 31st in DVOA. The Vikings rank sixth in red-zone touchdown conversion rate (65.1%), and much of that is thanks to Thielen, who has scored on seven of his 12 red-zone targets this season.
If Thielen doesn’t suit up, the Bears’ 14th-ranked red-zone defense (57.4%) has a decent chance of holding up.
There’s also the issue of the Bears being decimated in the secondary: Cornerback Xavier Crawford and safety Deandre Houston-Carson has been ruled out, while safety Eddie Jackson, plus cornerbacks Duke Shelley, Artie Burns and Jaylon Johnson, as well as safety Tashaun Gipson have been placed on the COVID-19 list.
The question is will Minnesota be aggressive through the air, particularly if Thielen is out or is at less than 100%. Under Mike Zimmer, the answer to this question tends to be “no.”
Bears Fighting Uphill Battle
The Bears are a maddening team. Despite producing a number of explosive plays on offense and special teams last week against the Packers en route to 30 points in Lambeau Field, the Bears also turned the ball over three times and gave up 45 points to Green Bay.
The Vikings aren’t as explosive as the Packers and could be a bit one-dimensional if Thielen doesn’t suit up, but you have to figure they will need at least 27 points to win (the Vikings are averaging 26.5 points per game) and more than 20 to cover.
Can the Bears accomplish that feat?
Perhaps, but probably not. Including last week’s 30-point outburst, the Bears have cracked 27 points only twice all season, and topped 20 points just five times. Justin Fields has been scrambling more as of late, which does give the Bears offense a boost, as his average scramble goes for 8.1 yards while his average pass attempts goes for 6.9 this season.
The Vikings just released starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland after an altercation in practice with the coaching staff and teammates, but that shouldn’t hurt them much, as Breeland ranked 117th among corners in PFF’s grades. Chicago’s issue will be converting third downs: The Bears are 29th in third-down conversion rate on offense (34.6%), while the Vikings are sixth on defense (35.6%).
Allen Robinson II will likely miss this game after being placed on the COVID-19 list, but it’s debatable how much of a loss that truly is at this point — he’s averaging just 35.3 yards per game and has scored once all year.
Jakeem Grant has played well and given the Bears some extra explosion, while Darnell Mooney has emerged as the No. 1 wide receiver, Yet, either way, you can’t expect the Bears to do much through the air, especially against what has been an above-average pass defense. The absence of tackle Jason Peters will also hurt in pass protection.
The Bears should have success on the ground with David Montgomery, who carried 32 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns the last time these teams met. Feeding Montgomery will be crucial, as this will be the best way for the Bears to stay ahead of the chains against a Vikings defense that ranks 26th in DVOA against the run.
NFL Pick: Vikings vs. Bears
The Vikings should get it done, especially given the Bears’ myriad COVID-19 issues. Still, I feel you’re better off including Minnesota as a teaser play than betting the team outright.
Sitting on 6.5 points is a lot to lay in a divisional road game and the Vikings are just 3-4 straight up at Soldier Field under head coach Mike Zimmer, topping 21 points just once in the process. The Vikings are also just 4-11 (27%) against the spread as a favorite under Zimmer since the start of last season. I’d pair this with the Eagles or Rams this week or Green Bay in Week 16.
Pick: Vikings — Tease from -6.5 to -0.5 | Bet to: -8.5 to -2.5
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