Packers vs. Bears Betting Odds & Angles: What Our Projections Say About the Season Opener

Packers vs. Bears Betting Odds & Angles: What Our Projections Say About the Season Opener article feature image

Photo credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers vs. Bears

Packers vs. Bears Betting Odds

  • Odds: Bears -3
  • Total: 46.5
  • Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBC

All odds above are as of Wednesday evening and via PointsBet.

The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears open the 2019 NFL season with an NFC North showdown on Thursday Night Football.

The Bears have been bet down to 3-point favorites after opening at -4, while the total has risen one point. But do either offer value? Are Aaron Rodgers and the Packers being undervalued with Matt LaFleur taking over the helm? Or can the reigning division champion Bears cover this spread with ease?

Our experts break down the season opener from every angle, including game-defining matchups and how they’ll look to bet it.

Packers-Bears Injury Report

Given it’s the first week of the season, both teams enter this game quite healthy. The only true question mark is Bears tight end Trey Burton (groin). He’s been limited in practice, and head coach Matt Nagy called Burton a game-time decision earlier in the week.

If Burton is ruled out, Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker would be the next men up. Fantasy implications are minimal from an injury perspective for this game. Justin Bailey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Bears -3
  • Projected Total: 46

This line opened Bears -4 and has parked on a key number at -3.

The Packers earned an A in my preseason Buy/Sell Ratings while the Bears earned a D-minus. By default, this leads me to believe the public (and even myself) are letting luck-driven factors from last season to underrate the Packers and overrate the Bears.

If the line were to move at all, at this point, I would think it’s more likely to go back to -3.5 — I’m going to wait and see if that happens before pulling the trigger on the Packers here.

The total is just a tad higher than my projection. And while I wouldn’t say there are significant key numbers for totals — like we see with 3 and 7 for spreads — the gap from 46 to 47 is worth noting. If this total were to be bet up to 47.5, that would offer enough value on the under to trigger a bet.

The Bears defense should still be elite under new coordinator Chuck Pagano, but I expect the Packers to take a leap forward after bolstering their defense with high draft capital and via free agency. Sean Koerner

Biggest Mismatch

Packers WR Geronimo Allison vs. Bears CB Buster Skrine

Season-to-season regression in the parity-filled NFL is vicious and the Bears are one of my top candidates for negative regression in 2019. They benefited from extreme turnover splits (+12), health luck and one of the easiest schedules — all while going 6-4 in one-possession games.

Meanwhile, the Packers could be one of the most improved teams. They went 3-6 in one-score games, had a dead-even turnover differential and horrible injury luck on defense. (Rodgers was also not healthy.)

This is a passing league and the Chicago secondary was nothing short of elite in 2018 while Green Bay struggled. Well, the Packers secondary should be significantly better for a number of reasons.

1. Their corners are older and more experienced. Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson were thrown into the fire as rookies. The 2018 first-and second-round picks should benefit immensely from that experience. The same can be said about 2017 second-rounder Kevin King, who’s healthy after dealing with injuries the past two years.

2. The Packers added plus-edge rushers in Za’Darius and Preston Smith. The increased pressure should obviously aid the secondary.

3. Most importantly, the safety group should be dramatically better. Safeties are critical in every defense in today’s NFL and maybe even more so in coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme. And the Packers safeties were nothing short of a disaster in 2018. Per Pro Football Focus, of the 65 who played a minimum of 300 snaps, Tramon Williams and Kentrell Brice ranked 62nd and 65th in opposing QB rating, respectively. Williams allowed a staggering 150.1 QB rating — 18 points higher than the second-worst. Well, the Packers overhauled the position, bringing in one of the NFL’s best (Adrian Amos) and drafting first-rounder Darnell Savage, who should fit perfectly into Pettine’s robber position.

Now the Bears will still have an elite secondary, one of the NFL’s top five, but it will take a step back with the losses of Amos and Bryce Callahan in the slot.

That brings us to the most important matchup for Thursday night.

You could (rightfully) focus on Khalil Mack against one of the best offensive lines. You could also focus on Tarik Cohen receiving out of the backfield, a major weakness for the Packers defense last season.

But the slot matchup between Allison and Skrine could determine the outcome of this game.

Geronimo Allison
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Geronimo Allison, Kyle Fuller

The Bears have two outstanding corners in Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller on the outside to matchup with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Davante Adams. And even though he’s a downgrade from Amos, HaHa Clinton-Dix is still capable of taking care of an aged Jimmy Graham.

The luxury the Bears will not have is an outstanding slot corner. And not only did they lose Callahan, they replaced him with one of the NFL’s worst slot corners in Skrine.

Among 22 corners with a minimum of 250 snaps in the slot last season, Callahan ranked No. 1 in yards per snap at 0.69 (413 snaps). That’s more than half of how many Skrine allowed (1.52 in 354 snaps), making him the second-worst of the 22. Skrine was also the third-worst in coverage among 86 cornerbacks with a minimum of 300 snaps.

Callahan’s PFF grades the past two seasons were 81.3 and 77.7 compared to Skrine’s 65.9 and 57.3. This is clearly the weak link in the Bears’ secondary and a matchup the Packers must exploit. Stuckey

PRO System Match

Underdogs have historically performed well in division games as increased familiarity among opponents keeps games competitive, and it’s been profitable to bet small dogs in these matchups to win outright.

Even though teams matching this Pro System have a losing record (105-112-2), we’re still able to turn a profit because we’re making plus-money bets. A $100 gambler would have returned a profit of $4,172 following this strategy since 2003.

The Packers +3 are a match for this Pro System in the opening game of the season. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Packers +7 or Better Live

I like the Packers and might play them pregame, especially if a +3.5 or +4 pops up again. But I’m most interested in grabbing them live if the Bears get off to a hot start, which they did quite frequently last season.

Plus, it might take a few drives for the new Packers offense to get into a rhythm, especially since Rodgers didn’t play during the preseason. They might need to work out a few kinks, get the timing down and shake the rust over the first few drives.

The Bears offense enjoyed a ton of success in the first quarter as a result of Mitch Trubisky performing significantly better during the scripted plays portion of a game.

Also, the Packers allowed 6.5 points per 1Q (worst), while the Bears only allowed 2.4 (second-best). However, despite all of the Packers struggles and injuries on D, Green Bay actually performed better than the elite Bears defense in the third quarter (3.8 v 4.3), which speaks to solid Pettine adjustments. The same story holds by half.

Defensive Scoring By Half in 2018:

  • First half: Bears 5.8 (first); Packers 14.7 (29th)
  • Second half: Bears 11.4 (16th); Packers 10.3 (11th)

Dream pick: Packers +7 or better live, but I’d also jump at +4.5.

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