Even though the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions both finished with non-winning records in 2019, their Week 1 matchup at Ford Field is one of the more anticipated NFL games on Sunday simply because the Bears surprisingly named Mitchell Trubisky as their starting quarterback over trade acquisition Nick Foles, the former Super Bowl MVP.
How long of a leash will Trubisky have? The Bears have lost six straight season openers overall (2-4 ATS). They are 3-point underdogs on the NFL odds and likely will be without top running back David Montgomery due to injury. Chicago is on a four-game winning streak SU vs. Detroit, though.
Of course, GM Ryan Pace made the historically bad decision to move up one spot to No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft to take Trubisky when he could have stayed put at third and landed either Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson.
Coach Matt Nagy and Pace are both on the hot seat entering 2020 and their jobs are riding on Trubisky. He is is 3-2 in his career against the Lions and has had some of his best NFL games against them. Trubisky is a +15000 long shot to stun everyone and win NFL MVP.
CHICAGO BEARS BETTING PROFILE
2019 record: 8-8 (third, NFC North)
2019 against the spread: 4-12 (worst in NFL)
2019 ATS margin: -2.6
2019 Over-Under: 6-10
2020 strength of schedule: Tied for 13th-toughest; Bears' opponents combined for a .509 winning percentage last year (129-125-2).
WILLIAM HILL 2020 CHICAGO BEARS FUTURES ODDS
Win total: 8 (Under -150 favorite)
To make playoffs: No -180, yes +155
Division: +400 to win NFC North
Conference: +2000 to win NFC
NFL MVP: Nick Foles +10000, Mitchell Trubisky +15000, Khalil Mack +15000
Defensive Player of the Year: Mack +1000 to win it for second time in career, Akiem Hicks +10000
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jaylon Johnson +3300
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Cole Kmet +5000
Comeback Player of the Year: Nick Foles +1500
Coach of the Year: Matt Nagy +3000
SportsLine Model's projection: 8.3 wins (Pick is Over)
Week 1 at Detroit, 1 p.m. ET: Chicago has won its past two in Motown (both on Thanksgiving) in close games (1-1 ATS).
Week 2 vs. New York Giants, 1 p.m. ET: The Bears have covered once in the past six meetings after failing last year as 6-point home faves in 19-14 win.
Week 3 at Atlanta, 1 p.m. ET: Under Nagy, the Bears are 8-13 ATS (38 percent) outside the NFC North.
Week 4 vs. Indianapolis, 1 p.m. ET: The Over has hit in just two of Chicago's past 10 October home games.
Week 5 vs. Tampa Bay, 8:20 PM ET (Thursday): These teams have split the past 10 meetings ATS, with the Bears winning the most recent, 48-10 at home in September 2018.
Week 6 at Carolina, 1 p.m. ET: The Bears haven't visited Carolina since 2014; they're 1-3 SU, 1-2-1 ATS all-time in Charlotte.
Week 7 at Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 PM (Monday): This is the third straight season these teams play and the home team won and covered first two in low-scoring games.
Week 8 vs. New Orleans, 4:25 p.m. ET: Chicago has lost the past five in this series (1-4 ATS), including 36-25 last year as 4-point home favorite.
Week 9 at Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET: Under Nagy, the Bears are 2-6 ATS vs. the AFC and failed to cover all four in 2019.
Week 10 vs. Minnesota, 8:15 PM ET (Monday): In the past 10 home meetings, the Bears are 8-2 ATS, failing to cover only in 2015 & '13.
Week 11: BYE. Much later in season than players prefer.
Week 12 at Green Bay, 8:20 p.m. ET: The Bears have dropped four straight at Lambeau (1-3 ATS), including 21-13 last year as 4.5-point dogs.
Week 13 vs Detroit, 1 p.m. ET: The Under is 8-1 in the Bears' last nine games after visiting Green Bay, the lone Over coming on an overtime touchdown.
Week 14 vs. Houston, 1 p.m. ET: The Bears have faced the Texans four times (but not Deshaun Watson -- see below) and are 0-4 SU and ATS.
Week 15 at Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET: Under Nagy, the Bears are 8-4 ATS (67 percent) in division games.
Week 16 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. ET: Chicago is 4-6 ATS in its past 10 December games as a road favorite (should be here).
Week 17 vs. Green Bay, 1 p.m. ET: The Bears are 2-6 ATS in their last eight home games vs. GB, with seven decided by single digits.
EXPERT PICK FROM SUPERCONTEST GURU R.J. WHITE: Over 8.5 (+140)
The Bears came back to earth in 2019, and now is the time to buy their stock. While they didn't make a bunch of key additions during the offseason, they've improved their depth measurably, particularly with another option at quarterback that improves their chances of landing league-average production or better at the position. The schedule sets up well, particularly early in the season where they open with winnable road games in Detroit and Atlanta sandwiching an easier home opponent in the Giants, then they play two tougher games against the Colts and Bucs, but with both coming at home, before a trip to Carolina. Considering where the juice is, I'd look to wait until you can get Over 8 flat and hop on it.
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