Packers vs. Bears NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Bet This NFC North Rivalry In Week 6
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Bears OLB Khalil Mack, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
- The Packers have dominated the Bears in recent seasons, but is Green Bay overvalued as a big road favorite this Sunday?
- Our betting analyst examines the Packers vs. Bears odds in order to make his picks on this NFL Week 6 matchup.
- (Spoiler: He sees an opportunity to middle by coupling a Bears spread bet with a Packers prop.)
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
One of the oldest rivalries in football renews Sunday when the Packers head a few hundred miles south to play the Bears for the 203rd time. These teams first met in Nov. 1921, a full 100 years ago, with the Chicago Staleys getting the home shutout to kick off the rivalry — and they’ve been division rivals for much of the time since.
The all-time rivalry count is close, with the Packers edging the Bears 101-95-6, but Green Bay has dominated this one in recent years. The Packers have won 19-of-22 against the Bears, 16 of those by a touchdown or more. Aaron Rodgers is 20-5 lifetime against the Monsters of the Midway. Rodgers wins so much in Chicago that they might have to build a statue of him in the Windy City too by the time his career has wrapped up.
Rodgers has never faced Justin Fields before, though. And these Bears are starting to feel different with Fields. They’re also playing their trademark defense, winning games ugly and are in position to steal the division lead if they can defend home turf.
This line has risen all week, with the public all over Green Bay like usual. Will Rodgers and the Pack do it again?
Just How Good Are the Packers Actually?
The Packers got blown out by the Saints in Week 1 but have relaxed and won four games since, and it’s starting to feel like the same old Packers. Rodgers is making just enough plays late, Mason Crosby occasionally makes a winning kick, and the Packers are winning with their same ol’ formula.
Or are they?
The Packers went 13-3 each of the last two seasons and seem well on their way again at 4-1, but Green Bay has been more good than great so far. The Packers rank just 15th overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, basically league average on the season. They have a negative point differential, even at 4-1, thanks to two last-second wins and that 35-point Week 1 loss. The offense ranks only 10th in DVOA, nowhere near as lethal as last season, and the defense ranks 20th and is especially bad against the run, an ugly 29th.
The underlying metrics are trying to tell us a story — they’re telling us to not just see Rodgers in green and gold, notice the 4-1 record, and assume these are the same old brilliant Packers. Green Bay has the talent to get there obviously, but so far the Packers have been mostly fine.
It makes sense, too. One of the reasons I felt so good about the Packers coming into the season was that they had a marquee player at the league’s five most important positions: Quarterback, receiver, tackle, edge rusher and corner. Well, LB Za’Darius Smith and CB Jaire Alexander are out for the foreseeable future, and LT David Bakhtiari has yet to play while replacement Elgton Jenkins continues to struggle through injuries.
If you take away three of your five marquee position players, it turns out life gets a lot harder.
Davante Adams is still awesome. Through five weeks, he has more catches (42 to 36), yards (579 to 524) and touchdowns (2 to 1) than the entire Bears receiving corps.
Rodgers though? He hasn’t been anywhere near as good as last season. That was always going to be the case with a huge outlier yards per attempt and TD rate that has regressed to his still-great career averages, but there are other worrying signs.
Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Rodgers has just a 61.7% expected completion percentage, lowest of any full-time starter and barely ahead of the man he’ll face on Sunday. That hints at Rodgers being over-aggressive as a passer and not taking good open throws, which could hint at some scheme issues, too. Rodgers also has a -3.6 air yard differential. He’s chucking it long but not finding his guys.
Rodgers certainly hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t measured up to the other elite QBs so far this season. Remember, as reliable as he is with the game on the line late, he’s also part of the reason the game was still close enough to need that late drive.
Still, Rodgers has been money in this spot. He’s 39-22 (64%) against the spread (ATS) as a division favorite and 55-29-1 (65%) ATS as a one-score favorite. There’s a reason the public has been hammering Rodgers all week. We’ve all seen this exact game script play out so many times.
Bears Need Just a Modicum of Offense
Seasons change, the world turns, and somehow the Bears remain the Bears — an awesome, possibly elite defense, but scrapping as always for any edge to find just enough offense to compete.
The defense is looking really terrific. Coordinator Sean Desai really has this unit playing well, flying all over the field and looking about as good as any defense over the last few weeks. Chicago ranks fifth in Defensive DVOA, and that number is rising each week as this unit hits its stride. Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn have 9.5 sacks combined already, Roquan Smith is a menace in the middle and there’s talent up and down the roster. Mack, Eddie Jackson and Akiem Hicks are all questionable but look likely to play in this big game.
The Bears defense is really good — and there’s a decent case to be made that it may actually be better right now than Green Bay’s offense. The secondary isn’t the strongest point, and Adams has been almost un-coverable lately, but the Bears have typically held Adams mostly in check. If this unit can limit Adams, the Packers probably won’t score enough to run away and hide here.
That means it’s up to this Bears offense to find a way. And unfortunately, it still hasn’t been any good.
Chicago’s offense ranks 31st in DVOA on the season, ahead of only the lowly Jets, and Fields has struggled to make his mark. He’s yet to complete more than 12 passes in a game. He’s not really running, either, with just three attempts in each of his three starts for 25 yards combined.
Fields has flashed a big arm and ability to get it downfield occasionally, but the Bears have been the run-heaviest team in the NFL over the last three weeks with him starting. They’re clearly trying to protect their young QB, especially with this shaky offensive line, by handing the ball off often and limiting Fields’ exposure.
That could work out really well against this porous Green Bay run defense. Chicago is missing David Montgomery, and it looks like Damien Williams will likely miss in COVID protocol, so that could mean a big day for Khalil Herbert. He looks like a great DFS play and a strong over bet for carries and yards — our Chris Raybon has Herbert going over on both of those.
Fields has completed only 51% of his passes thus far, and he has a miserable -7.8 rate in completion percentage over expectation, per Next Gen Stats. He’s throwing it aggressively when he does drop back, but the Bears receivers aren’t helping him much, either — Allen Robinson has the worst separation rating in the entire NFL right now, and he’s questionable with an ankle injury.
Fields is an excellent prospect and should get better each week, but it’s pretty obvious that the Bears won’t want this to end up as a Rodgers vs. Fields showdown. There’s only one way that one ends.
NFL Picks: Packers vs. Bears
If the Bears are going to hang around this game, they’ll have to do it the same way we’ve seen Chicago do it so many times in recent decades — with mean defense in front of a raucous home crowd, a strong run game that keeps the opposing QB on the sidelines, and just enough Chicago magic to find a way.
Early in the week, I loved the Packers here. They were my lookahead pick on the podcast a week ago as I expected a big Green Bay win and that the Bears might lose ugly in Las Vegas. Well, that didn’t happen. The Packers were lucky to escape with a win after missing three game-winning kicks late, and the Bears dominated the 3-1 Raiders on the road.
I’m starting to wonder if we’re just blindly trusting the green and gold jerseys a little too much. Green Bay has not been as dominant as the 4-1 record looks, and Chicago has the exact sort of formula you’d want from an underdog against this team. The Bears have been running the ball really well and should attack this struggling Packers front seven while the defense will give Rodgers all he can handle.
The Packers are 4-1 ATS, too, and that’s pretty surprising for a team with a negative point differential. Historically, it has been very profitable to fade great ATS teams in Weeks 6 and 7, right about that mark of the season when the public gets a little overconfident in what they’ve seen. Per our data at Action Labs, teams facing opponents with 80-99% ATS records in their sixth or seventh game are an impressive 63-34-3 ATS (64.9%), covering by 3.3 points.
Now that this line is nearly a touchdown — with the Packers looking a bit overvalued and the Bears defense playing so well and at home in a division rivalry — this just feels like too many points. I’m still confident the Packers are the better team, but I have to play the number and take the Bears here.
If you really believe in the Bears, you can play the moneyline at +205 at FanDuel, but I don’t think you’re going far enough. If the Bears do win here, Chicago takes the division lead in the NFC North. The Bears are +750 to win the division at DraftKings. If you think Chicago wins this, you should probably bet its division future.
I think Rodgers finds a way in the end, like he always does, breaking Chicago hearts. I’ll take the Bears +6, but I’m also going to look for an opportunity to live bet Rodgers during the game at even odds or any plus number. Give me the Packers down a score at the half, or give me Rodgers down a score late in the fourth with a chance to drive for the win.
Alternatively, you could also play the Packers to win by six or fewer points at +310 at BetMGM. That’s my favorite angle since I get a Bears cover but a Packers win, and it’s a great middle opportunity if you want to risk playing both sides.
I still trust Rodgers to find a way late, but this won’t be too easy.
Pick: Bears + 6; Packers to win by 1-6 (+310) at BetMGM