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Bears vs. Saints Pick, Score Prediction: Failing the Smell Test, Playing the Under

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The Bears will be desperately looking to jump-start a moribund offense on Sunday afternoon when they host the Saints at Soldier Field . They will also be looking for a much different result than the 36-25 beatdown the Saints delivered there last October.

Can the Bears get back on track and move to 6-2 at the midway point, or will the streaking Saints keep things rolling? Let’s get into it with our Bears vs. Saints odds, picks, and prediction for this Week 8 matchup.

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Saints vs. Bears Odds

It’s not too often that we have a matchup featuring a 5-2 team with this type of line at home. Here is a current look at the Bears-Saints odds, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:

Bears+10 (-110)+400O 47.5
Saints-10 (-110)-500U 47.5

Initially, advanced Week 8 lines priced the Bears as a 2.5-point underdog, but following their disappointing 24-10 loss on Monday night out west, the number crossed the key field goal number (+3) and moved to Saints +3.5, including at Illinois online sports betting apps. That same momentum has continued throughout the week as the Saints are now a five-point favorite. Is this a spread that’s foreshadowing events to come, or is it one that is simply getting out of hand and creating value?

Bears vs. Saints Betting Pick, Prediction

Let’s get into our Bears vs. Saints betting picks and score prediction for this week.

Life Comes at You Fast

The Bears are a tough team to figure out. They have been the underdog is seven of their eight games this season. They have one of the league’s worst offenses by several key metrics. And yet, they were playing for the best record in the NFC just a week ago.

This week, the 5-2 Bears, a team that knocked off NFC South leader Tampa Bay in early October, are almost a touchdown underdog at home. It’s crazy, right?

Well, oddsmakers don’t think so. That likely has to do with the aforementioned bottom-feeder offense and a belief that the Bears are simply an average team that has begun its decent back to earth.

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An Offensive Offense

You know how football analysis goes. Something that happens on the field, everybody goes nuts and gets carried away.

Overreactions occur weekly, and such overreactions are often quickly proven as foolish. That being said, I’d love to give Matt Nagy and Nick Foles the benefit of the doubt and take a more measured approach to my assessment of their last four games, but I can’t do it.

This offense flat-out stinks.

Chicago can’t run the ball, it can’t consistently protect the quarterback, and Nagy can’t seem to find a remedy for his team’s all too frequent breakdowns in assignments and execution. I mean, these numbers are just putrid:

  1. 19.7 points per game (No. 27)
  2. 308 yards per game (No. 29)
  3. 4.8 yards per play (No. 30)
  4. 35.1% third-down conversion percentage (No. 30)

But wait, there’s more!

This is also a team that is 29th in red zone touchdown percentage, 30th in yards per rush, and 29th in yards per pass. It’s almost amazing that Chicago ranks 26th in Football Outsiders DVOA rankings, but in a league with the likes of the Jets, Broncos, and Giants, it gets a bump.

As for this week, the question becomes whether or not this unit can do enough to stay with a Saints team that is No.7 in offensive DVOA and No. 10 in defensive DVOA.  Or, more practically,  can the Bears can keep up with a squad that is scoring 30 points per game and the league’s best in terms of converting on third down at 55%?

But That Defense

That being said, the Bears defense cannot be overlooked. This is a unit that is allowing just 20 points per game (No. 7), a 58.7% completion percentage (No. 2), a 31.7% third-down conversion percentage, and a 42.3% red zone touchdown percentage (No. 1).

Those numbers translate to the NFL’s sixth-best defense in terms of DVOA rankings.

Still, while the Saints are typically thought of as an offensively-driven team, the defense is top five both in terms of yards per rush and rushing yards per game. They have the ability to make opposing offenses one-dimensional, and speaking of one-dimensional, the Bears desperately need to find something in the run game to help balance an offense that has thrown the ball more regularly than all but one team this season.

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Bears vs. Saints Trends Don’t Bode Well For Chicago

I’ve been down on the Bears over the past few weeks, and it’s nothing personal, but the Bears odds and contextual betting trends just don’t provide much reason for options.

Note: betting trends date back to the 2003 season, unless otherwise noted.

Bears vs. Saints ATS Trends

Like last Monday when it smelled fishy that a 5-1 team was a six-point underdog at the end of October, the fact that the Bears are almost an equally large underdog at home this week seems revealing. Consider the following points:

  • Home underdogs of 4 to 5.5 points that have won at least 60% of its games are 4-11 ATS after the month of October. In fact, all teams with above .500 records are a dismal 6-17 ATS.
  • The Saints are 8-1 ATS over their last nine road games.
  • Since the start of the 2016 season, the Saints are an incredible 21-4-1 ATS in Sunday afternoon road games.
  • We like to talk about how the Saints aren’t as good on the road and about how Drew Brees struggles outdoors in chilly weather (game time temps are expected to be in the high 30s on Sunday). Well, Brees is actually 9-3 ATS in games played below 40 degrees.

Bears vs. Saints Total Trends

In terms of betting the Bears vs. Saints total, the Bears (5-2) are one of the NFL’s best under plays. Meanwhile, the Saints (6-0) are the NFL’s best bet on over plays. Something has to give this week, and I think it’s going to give in favor of the under. Here’s why:

  • The under has gone 12-3 in the Bears’ last 15 home games with Nagy at the helm. The under is also 8-2 in all Bears home games with a total set at 43.5 points or less.
  • Plays on the under are 28-16 when the road team has hit the over in all of its games with the total set between 42.5 – 44 points. The theory here is that good over teams with low totals tend to mean the under is the right side.
  • When the road team has gone over in 80-100% of its games and the home team hits the over at 30% or less of its games, the under is 12-6.
  • When road teams average at least 30 points and home teams average 20 or less, the under is 69-55-1 overall and 26-17 after October.

Bears vs. Saints Prediction

I briefly wondered if this line was simply getting out of hand, creating an opportunity to grab the value of a good defense at home getting way too many points. However, I’m not so sure that’s the case, but I do have some pause. I expect the Saints to win this game, and if I had bet it against the spread, I would lean with New Orleans -5.

Where I’m looking this week, though, is at the total of 42.5 points. The Saints have been a lights-out play on the over this season, while Chicago’s inept offense has led to the under cashing in four straight games.

I think the extraordinarily low total — the lowest of the week — is telling us something. Based on the trends I was able to unearth, I’m comfortable taking this one to stay under 42.5 points, though I’m considering buying it up to 43.5 just for added insurance.

Bears vs. Saints Pick

I’m leaning with New Orleans -5 and this one to stay under 42.5 points.

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Author: BN Staff

From the collective mind of the Bleacher Nation staff.