Scoring three points and having wretched quarterback play unfold in front of a nationally televised audience has turned a betting favorite into an underdog in the span of a week.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 8, 2019
The Chicago Bears opened the week as 1-point underdogs against the Denver Broncos, according to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
It represents the first time the Bears have been underdogs this season and just the fifth time since the start of the 2018 season in which Chicago hasn’t been a betting favorite. And to be fair, this isn’t completely unwarranted. The Bears averaged 3.9 yards per play, gained just 254 total yards, were held to a field goal in their one trip into the red zone, and racked up 107 penalty yards in their Week 1 loss to the Packers. Sure, Chicago’s defense limited Green Bay’s offense to 166 yards, held the unit to just 3.7 yards per play, and allowed just one touchdown, but that offense … YIKES!
And then there is this to factor in:
Broncos are 51-8-2 at home in Weeks 1-2 since the 1970 merger.
38-4 (90.5%) over the last 35 years.
Bears at Broncos in Week 2 is a PK.
— Joe Ostrowski (@JoeO670) September 9, 2019
What happened in Denver against any number of teams in the past doesn’t factor in what will happen on Sunday between the 2019 Broncos and Bears. But that is a significant amount of data pointing toward the Broncos having a unique early-season home-field advantage. I’m sure a fair chunk of that early-season success can be credited to having someone like of John Elway under center for plenty of those games. However, I can’t ignore an X-factor like conditioning while playing at a mile-high altitude as being something that slows teams down. For what it’s worth, the Bears practiced and played a preseason game in Denver last summer. So this shouldn’t be too foreign to them when they land out west.
Also, this won’t be the first time Matt Nagy’s team will be tested by what could be adverse conditions. Though, I’d like to forget about how things were handled when the Bears lost to the Dolphins in Miami last year.
The Bears might have felt disrespected coming into the season with all the regression chatter, but Week 1 did nothing to silence those voices. Winning on the road where it has been nearly impossible to do so could go a long way toward changing an early-season narrative.