It doesn’t matter how you do it, it just matters that you do it – and that’s pretty much what the Bears should be telling themselves after hanging on for dear life in the second half against the Giants last Sunday. The alternative, of course, is letting slip away a huge second half lead on the way to an improbable, embarrassing loss. For instance, imagine losing a 15-point fourth-quarter lead with five minutes remaining after lighting up the scoreboard for 39 points. Imagine losing that game. Just imagine.
Actually, come to think of it – that is the exact setup for this week’s Bears-Falcons betting preview.
The Bears (2-0) travel to Atlanta in Week 3 to play the Falcons (0-2), who, yes, just came off one of the biggest choke-job regular season losses in recent memory (nothing will ever touch blowing a 28-3 fourth-quarter lead in the Super Bowl). Despite averaging 32.5 points per game through two weeks, the Falcons find themselves in a must-win situation following losses to Seattle and Dallas. The Bears, meanwhile, have seen their playoff outlook change for the better over the first two weeks after opening with a pair of wins.
Will the Bears and Falcons experience a reversal of fortunes this week, or will it be more of the same? Let’s get into it with our Bears vs. Falcons betting preview with odds, picks and predictions for this Week 3 matchup.
Bears vs. Falcons Preview
Sometimes the most-hyped storylines are lazy and trite, but there’s just no way that Atlanta’s epic collapse against Dallas which featured a 20-point blown lead can be overstated ahead of this football game. Like, what even this?
The onside kick by Greg that set up his game winning FG! pic.twitter.com/QrIlBJ7LRG
— Cowboys Videos (@Cowboys_Videos) September 20, 2020
Do you know how hard it is for the receiving team not to recover an onside kick in 2020? The rules make it almost impossible.
That’s because instead of picking up the “watermelon” kick, the Falcons simply backed away in awe that a football can spin sideways.
As for the Bears, it’s hard to know what to make of this team through two weeks. Mitch Trubisky carried the momentum of a huge fourth-quarter comeback at Detroit into the first half of last week’s win over the Giants, but his play comes with some glaring red flags. Trubisky is still completing less than 60% of his passes, and he ranks in the bottom half of the league in both yards and quarterback rating. In fact, he’s been downright bad for prolonged stretches in both of his team’s first two wins.
This week, he will look to put some of those encouraging flashes together against a Falcons squad that has surrendered 78 points (39 ppg) through two weeks. Specifically, the Falcons’ red zone defense has been abysmal, yielding 9 touchdowns in 10 opponent trips inside the 20-yard line.
Given that setup, the Bears should be able to move the ball against this suspect Falcons defense. The key, however, will be doing it with more consistency and finishing drives when the opportunities arise.
Bears vs. Falcons Odds
The Falcons have been favored in this contest throughout the week, but the line has bounced back-and-forth between -3 and -3.5. Currently, the hook is once again attached as enough action is behind an Atlanta rebound following an embarrassing defeat.
Ultimately, bettors like offensive firepower, and they are likely more in love with the concept of backing an explosive Atlanta offensive attack than the grind-it-out brand of football Chicago has played thus far.
Meanwhile, the total, which opened at 48 earlier in the week, is now down to 47 points.
Here are the Bears vs. Falcons odds as of Saturday morning:
|Bears||+3.5 (-110)||+160||O 47 (-110)|
|Falcons||-3.5 (-110)||-182||U 47 (-110)|
|Bears||+3.5 (-115)||+160||O 47 (-110)|
|Falcons||-3.5 (-105)||-180||U 47 (-110)|
Let’t take a look at how the current market prices compare with FiveThirtyEight’s popular ELO model.
Pretty interesting stuff this week, as the ELO model strongly disagrees with the oddsmakers’ assessment. ELO suggests the Bears should be a one-point favorite and have a 54% chance to win the game. That greatly differs from the current market prices, so by the ELO measure, there’s a substantial 4.5 points of betting value on the Bears.
Meanwhile, a 54% chance of winning the game equates to a -117 moneyline price, so the ability to bet the Bears at +160 in legal states such as Illinois presents a fantastic opportunity for moneyline value as well.
Where Is the Money Going?
Let’s take a quick look at the Bears vs. Falcons betting splits.
As of early Saturday afternoon, an overwhelming amount of point spread bets (75%) back the Falcons, but only 51% of the handle is on the same side.
As for the total, 66% of all bets at reporting markets are on the over, but more than 80% of the money is on the opposite side, so the big money is against the public this week.
How to Watch Bears vs. Falcons
- Date: Sunday, September 27
- Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
- Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)
- Network: FOX
- Announcers: Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Jonathan Vilma (color analyst), Shannon Spake (sideline reporter)
- Radio: WBBM 780 and 105.9 FM (Chicago), Sports Radio ESPN 1420 (Atlanta)
How to Bet on Bears vs. Falcons
Illinois bettors who have backed the Bears to win over the first two weeks have been rewarded for their faith, and there are once again plenty of excellent deals on the board to take advantage of this week.
If you are in the state of Illinois, PointsBet continues to offer outstanding Bears bet boosts and a $250 first deposit match, which you can grab here.
Meanwhile, William Hill became the latest 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.
Bears vs. Falcons Betting Trends
Note: All trends date back to the start of the 2003 season, unless otherwise indicated.
Why Backing the Bears Makes Sense
Listen, no trend here — but the Bears have played better football than the Falcons. Quite simply, Atlanta has done nothing in recent seasons to indicate they are worthy of the trust it requires to lay 3.5 points against a solid opponent.
Atlanta is a brutal 2-9 ATS over their last 11 games when it scored at least 30 points in its previous game.
The Falcons have five starters that are listed as questionable, highlighted by Julio Jones and Takk McKinley, both of whom missed three practices this week.
Why Backing the Falcons Makes Sense
Don’t Trust Your Eyes
The working thesis here is that teams off to slow starts, particularly ones playing teams out to fast starts, present value. There are some notable trends that support this idea:
- Teams that are 0-2 home favorites are 19-13-2 ATS overall in Week 3.
- Teams that start the season 0-2 are 78-63-4 ATS in Week 3.
- Winless home favorites of 3.5 to 5 points playing an undefeated team are 10-4 ATS (all of these games have been played in September).
- They are 22-10-1 ATS in any game in which they’re favored by at least 3.5 points. For what it’s worth, this seems to be a key number as they are just 5-11-1 ATS when favored by three points or less.
- Home favorites of 3.5 to 5 points that are winless heading into games 3-5 are 8-4 ATS.
A Word on the Total
The Falcons defense alone has yielded 39 points per game through two weeks. If that trend continues on Sunday, the Bears alone would produce more than 75% of the current total set at 47. That being said, Chicago’s offense is not nearly of the same caliber as teams like the Seahawks or Cowboys.
In fact, there are some interesting trends that point to an under in this one:
- The under is 10-1 in Chicago’s previous 11 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous contest.
- The under has also been a good play with the Bears as a road underdog, going 9-2 in the last 11 games.
- Finally, the under is a perfect 7-0 in Atlanta’s last seven home games against teams with a record over .500.
Bears vs. Falcons Prediction
If this were any other team, I would be quick to pound a 3.5-point winless favorite against a 2-0 squad. Historically, it’s a fantastic betting situation. However, we’re talking about the Falcons here, a team that is perhaps the most untrustworthy in all of football. They’re also an extremely banged up team with Jones, and perhaps more importantly, McKinley potentially sidelined.
That being said, the Bears have been a bit lucky to survive erratic quarterback play against two teams in the Lions and Giants who look, quite frankly, bad. Therefore, I’m reluctantly going to put my faith in the big picture betting trends and roll with Atlanta to win and cover –though I would consider buying this spread down to -3, if it doesn’t get there on its own.
As for the total, I would put a slight lean toward the under.
Bets We Like
Give us David Montgomery to score a touchdown at +120 odds with FanDuel Sportsbook (get it here).
All new players at DraftKings Sportsbook: Get the Bears, Falcons, or any other NFL team to win in Week 3 at 100-1 odds (get it here).
Bears vs. Falcons Pick
I’m rolling with the Falcons (-3.5) to cover against the Bears. I’ll also lean with under 47.