Following a thrilling come-from-behind victory in their opener, Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears try to keep the momentum rolling this Sunday when they host a Giants squad that looked less than impressive on Monday night. Ostensibly, the Bears’ home opener presents a golden opportunity for Matt Nagy’s team to get out to a 2-0 start, but will they do it? Let’s try to answer that very question with our Bears vs. Giants betting preview with odds, picks and predictions for this Week 2 matchup.
Bears v. Giants Preview
It was a tale of two very different games last Sunday in Detroit for Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who flipped the switch to help erase a 17-point deficit with three fourth quarter touchdown passes.
For much of the game, however, Trubisky demonstrated the same flaws that have plagued him throughout his career – questionable decision making, errant throws, and a general lack of command and feel for Matt Nagy’s offensive concepts. It appeared Chicago was headed for a deflating loss, and perhaps a long week of quarterback talk, but then, well, Trubisky did this:
Mitchell Trubisky drops a DIME to Anthony Miller for the go-ahead 27-yard TD. Chicago has scored 21 unanswered and lead 27-23 with 1:54 remaining. pic.twitter.com/ugygtQwPXz
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 13, 2020
The throw, the eventual game-winner, proved to be his best of the day, and it came at exactly the right time.
Chicago’s defense would hold in the closing seconds (with the help of a brutal DeAndre Swift drop on a would-be touchdown), and now they appear primed to build on an improbable victory this Sunday against a Giants team that’s having quite the week following a rough opener against the Steelers:
Tiki Barber: “Saquon Barkley, he might not be an every down back. He cannot pass protect… If you’ve watched him… he doesn’t want to block… He doesn't want to hit anybody. He's a great back but he's frustrating to watch trying to pass protect" #Giants pic.twitter.com/fTRKJqly2C
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) September 16, 2020
It was an especially rough outing in particular for Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who rushed for just 6 yards on 15 carries. The one-dimensional Giants offense moved the ball through the air at points against a stingy Steelers defense, but the absence of a run game kept second-year quarterback Daniel Jones under pressure throughout the evening.
Still, as non-competitive as the game was by the fourth quarter, the Giants weren’t terrible on Monday night, and I’m left wondering if perhaps things aren’t quite as bad as some in New York are making it seem ahead of this game.
Ultimately, we are left with two primary questions ahead of this Week 2 matchup:
1. Which Trubisky will we see on Sunday afternoon?
2. Will Barkley and the Giants take the criticism personally and make a statement by pulling the upset?
Let’s take a look at the Bears vs. Giants odds and betting trends before moving onto some predictions and picks.
Bears vs. Giants Odds
The Bears have remained a 5.5-point favorite throughout the week leading up to kickoff, and that number feels about right. New York is coming off of a brutal season, the 2020 forecast wasn’t much brighter under first-year head coach Joe Judge, and nothing that happened on Monday night against Pittsburgh is going to create much excitement from the average bettor.
That said, the Bears were a bit of a mystery coming into the season, and while their fourth quarter comeback against the Lions was exciting, they also played poorly enough to dig themselves the hole. From this perspective, the number feels about right.
Here are the Bears vs. Giants odds as of Saturday morning:
|Giants||+5.5 (-110)||+200||O 42 (-110)|
|Bears||-5.5 (-110)||-235||U 42 (-110)|
|Giants||+5.5 (-115)||+205||O 42 (-110)|
|Bears||-5.5 (-105)||-245||U 42 (-110)|
As for the total, it was positioned at 43 points at some sportsbooks earlier in the week but has since crept down.
Let’t take a look at how the current market prices compare with FiveThirtyEight’s popular ELO model.
For the purposes of full disclosure, I actually expected the ELO model to show the Giants as a smaller underdog than priced on the betting market, but that’s not the case. In fact, ELO presents the Bears as a 7-point favorite.
In relation to the current market point spread, the projection model suggests bettors are actually getting 1.5 points of betting value (and below the key numbers of 6, 6.5, and 7). That’s no small thing.
In terms of moneyline value, ELO suggests the Bears have a 73% chance of beating the Giants. A 73% win probability equates to a -270 moneyline price, so with DraftKings -235 price, bettors are also getting moneyline value on Chicago.
Where Is the Money Going?
Let’s take a quick look at the Bears vs. Giants betting splits.
As of early Saturday afternoon, both the total number of point spread bets (72%) and money (66%) are on the Giants. As for the total, 60% of bets and 70% of the money are on the over.
How to Watch Bears vs. Giants
- Date: Sunday, September 20
- Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
- Location: Solider Field (Chicago, IL)
- Network: CBS
- Announcers: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst) & Evan Washburn (sideline)
- Radio: WBBM 780 and 105.9 FM (Chicago), WFAN 66 AM, 101.9 FM (New York)
How to Bet on Bears vs. Giants
Last Sunday marked the first time Illinois bettors could legally wager on an NFL football, and this Sunday marks the first time they can bet on a Bears home game. Meanwhile, established states such New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana continue to offer odds.
If you are in Illinois, the best Bears vs. Giants odds start and stop with the Bears +89 against the Giants this weekend at PointsBet. It is a no-brainer offer, and you can grab it here.
Meanwhile, William Hill became the fifth Illinois online sportsbook to hit the market, and it is offering bettors a $300 risk-free first bet that can be used on the Bears (or any other outcome). Get the offer here.
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering bettors in all of the aforementioned states (as well as in West Virginia and Iowa) up to $1,000 free, and following its extremely popular 100-1 odds on any NFL team in week 1, it’s bringing back the same offer this weekend. Get it by clicking here.
Bears vs. Giants Betting Trends
Note: All trends date back to the start of the 2003 season, unless otherwise indicated.
Why Backing the Bears Makes Sense
Home favorites off a win are 25-17-1 ATS against teams off a loss in Week 2. They’re 17-11 ATS when favored by at least five points.
Low Total = Covers
The Bears are 4-1 ATS when the total closes between 41.5 – 43.5 points under Nagy.
Big Spread Success
The Bears are 4-2-1 ATS under Nagy as a home favorite of at least 5 points.
Why Backing the Giants Makes Sense
Note: Bears fans, you may want to skip over this section because it’s pretty ugly.
The Bears are Bad as Favorites
The Bears are just 10-16-1 ATS as a favorite and 6-8-1 ATS as a favorite in home games under Matt Nagy.
Home favorites of 5-6 points that are coming off of a win are just 9-16 ATS in September and 6-12 ATS when facing an opponent coming off a loss. Rough.
Jones Better Bet on Road
The Giants are only 1-6 ATS in Daniel Jones’ home starts, but they are 4-2 ATS on the road. While he’s 3-6 ATS as an underdog overall, he is also 3-1 ATS as a road underdog.
Bad News for the Bears
Road underdogs of 6.5 or less points that are coming off bad seasons (6 wins or less) are 83-49-6 ATS in September and 55-27-4 ATS in Weeks 1 and 2.
And then there’s this:
The Bears had a big 4th Q comeback on Sunday. Teams off a 9+ point 4th Q comeback and are a Home Fav vs a team off a Loss (Giants), they are 1-14-1 ATS in their last 16 #SDQL pic.twitter.com/bzh31j8lx7
— Evwagers (@evwagers) September 16, 2020
A Word on the Total
Two quick notes to consider about this total:
The under is 7-3 in Nagy-coached games with a total between 41-43.
The under is 3-1 in Nagy home games in September and 10-6 in all Nagy home games.
Bears vs. Giants Prediction
Do I think the Bears are going to win this game? Yeah, I do. Do I think they are going to cover a 5.5-point spread against a pissed off Giants team that probably isn’t as bad as it showed a week ago? I don’t.
Contextually speaking, the Bears figure to be the better team, and they’re at home – though that advantage has been essentially neutralized by COVID-19 policy. Perhaps Trubisky and the Bears build off the momentum and run over the rebuilding Giants, but I’m not so sure that many of the flaws that were on display for the better part of three quarters last weekend won’t reemerge on Sunday.
If the Giants have any pride, this figures to be a bounce back week for Barkley, and the “feel” is that this should be a close game.
But what really sells me on New York are some pretty startling trends. I know I listed quite a bit of information above, but to summarize:
1. The Bears haven’t been a good cover team under Nagy at home.
2. Road underdogs coming off of a bad season are great bets early on.
3. The momentum we think we saw (big comeback, playing a team off a loss) typically doesn’t translate to covers early in the year.
I’m not telling you the Bears lose the game, but laying 5.5 points in this situation with an erratic Trubisky is insane. Maybe the Bears cover, and if you take them and they do, that’s awesome – congrats, but it’s just not a situationally sound bet.
Bets We Like
If you’re on the Bears, I’d grab them to win by 1-13 points at FanDuel Sportsbook at +135 odds (get it here).
Those of you located in Illinois, you have to grab the Bears at +89 with PointsBet. It’s a no brainer (get it here).
All new players at DraftKings Sportsbook: Get the Bears, or any other NFL team, to win in Week 2 at 100-1 odds (get it here).
Bears vs. Giants Pick
I’m rolling with Giants (+5.5) to cover against the Bears.