Even though the Chicago Bears appear to be an better team across the board compared to last year, oddsmakers throughout the land don’t seem to be buying the new-and-improved look.
ESPN’s Ben Fawkes offers up weekly NFL spreads via CG Technology for Weeks 1 through 16 (Week 17 was omitted because it is the ultimate high-variance crap-shoot) and it turns out the Bears are favored to win in just three of their 16 games. And it’s not like there’s a ton of confidence from the oddsmakers that the Bears will actually pull through.
Here are the three games the Bears are currently favored in:
- Week 4 vs. Buccaneers (-2.5)
- Week 8 vs. Jets (-4.5)
- Week 10 vs. Lions (-1)
Home teams usually get three points just for playing in their own building, and the oddsmakers don’t even give the Bears that in two of the three games they are favored to win. That’s quite telling and a bitter pill to swallow, especially if you’re a believer in the Bears bouncing back under a new coach and offensive system. And while we can express all the optimism in the world regarding Chicago’s hope, the oddsmakers aren’t necessarily in our corner.
ESPN’s Rob Nelson shared futures odds from the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas from June 25, and they’re not all that encouraging from a Bears perspective:
- Over/under wins: 6.5
- Super Bowl: 80-1
- NFC: 40-1
- Division: 12-1
I suppose if the Bears’ over/under is 6.5 and they’re only favored in three games, the safe money is on the “under.” HOWEVER, there are three games (at Arizona, -1; at Miami, -1.5; at Buffalo, -1.5) in which the Bears are underdogs with a fighting chance to steal a road win and a fourth game (vs. Seattle) at home that has the Bears as a pick ’em. It’s not inconceivable that the Bears find a way to steal some road games against some less-than-fearsome foes.
As for the big-picture future odds, you can take these odds one of two ways. You can either see it as Vegas showing no confidence in a team that has won just 14 games in the last three seasons and hasn’t won more than six games since 2013. Or you could see it as a buy low opportunity that could cash in with some big bucks if the improbable happens.
For example, a $25 bet on the Bears winning the division would win $300 and pay out $325. Winning the conference title while wagering $25 would pay out $1,025. And a Super Bowl winner in Chicago would pay $2,025 on a $25 investment. That’s certainly one way to roll the dice if you have $75 you weren’t planning on spending elsewhere.