Bears in Hibernation Mode Make Patriots the Pick for Week 8

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 5:21 PM GMT

The Chicago Bears are falling apart at the seams and now travel to Foxboro to dance with the host Patriots this Sunday afternoon in an inter-conference Week 8 game from New England. So what’s the best play?

Odds Overview
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots (Patriots -6½, 51, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Sunday 17:00, (FOX, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT): Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) head east to Gillette Stadium Foxboro, Massachusetts for this interconference game against Tom Brady the New England Patriots (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS). A loss here would put the Bears at 3-5 start with a date with the rival Packers in Week 10 after an Open Date in Week 9. So, Chicago could be looking at a 3-6 start and likely no playoffs, so, to say this game is important for the Road team would be a vast understatement.

Oddsmakers have made the host Patriots healthy 6½-point favorites on the NFL odds board (Pinnacle) with the Total Points at 51. (Noteworthy, the Total at the SuperBook went from an opening 49½ to 51 on Monday.) The Money Line (Winner) odds have the Patriots -380 and the Bears at +295 (Paddy Power). The Bears Team Total Points is 21 (Over -125, Paddy Power) while the Patriots Team Total Points has been set at 28 (BetVictor).

 

Chicago Bears
Again, the Bears really need the win here and it will be on the shoulders of Chicago QB Jay Cutler (177/263, 1,866 yards, 14 TDs) and the offense to try to put some points up against what has suddenly turned into a sometimes staunch Patriots defensive unit. Helping Cutler out on offense will be his two main weapons, dual threat RB Matt Forte (99 rushes, 399 yards, 2 TDs, 54 receptions) and WR Brandon Marshall, although TE Martellus Bennett and WR Alshon Jeffery (33 receptions, 504 yards, 2 TDs) have also done their share of damage for Chicago and will need to contribute for the Bears to have a chance at the upset here against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. But Chicago has been fairly decent (4-2 SU L6) on the Road recently and spanked the Falcons 27-13 as 3-point Underdogs two weeks ago in its last away game.

On the Chicago injury front, CB Charles Tillman (tricep), WR Marquess Wilson (collarbone) and TE Zach Miller foot on the I-R while S Chris Conte (shoulder), LBs Lance Briggs (ribs) and Jon Bostic (back), DB Ahmad Dixon (hamstring), CB Kyle Fuller (hip) and S Chris Conte (shoulder) all listed as Day-To-Day for Sunday’s game.

 

New England Patriots
The Patriots and fearless leader Tom Brady (151/246, 1,705 yards, 13 TDs) looked like an elite team for a spell until the New England defense allowed 22 and 25 points respectively to AFC East foes the Bills and the Jets. So, maybe the defense still has some issues that will surface and which the Bears can exploit in their time of need. Brady (64-46-4 ATS Home) has some nice toys with which to work in TE Rob Gronkowski (37 receptions, 409 yards, 4 TDs, 13.2 ypc) and shifty WR Julian Edelman (44 receptions, 453 yards, TD, 10.3 ypc) and the Bears, once renowned for their fearsome defense, are now just another NFL team that really needs to work on its defense (#14 against the Run, #20 against the Pass).

Injury-wise for New England (5-0 SU L5 at Home), OL Cameron Fleming (finger), G Dan Connolly (head), C Bryan Stork (head) and DB Nate Ebner (finger) are all listed as Day-To-Day, so, the Patriots are pretty healthy although they do have some talented guys still on the I-R like RBs Stevan Ridley (knee) and Ty Gaffney (knee) and LB Jerod Mayo (knee). But the Bears and second-year coach Marc Trestman (7-15-1 ATS) have more health issues.

 

Best Betting Approaches
These two don’t play much, but the last time they did, New England pounded the Bears in Chicago 36-7 back in 2010 and the Patriots are an impressive 6-1 SU L7 vs. the Bears and the Bears are a hibernation-worthy 7-16-1 ATS in their L24. So, backing the host Patriots and laying up to 7 points is the call with our NFL picks in this AFC-NFC matchup. The Total (51) suggests a high-scoring affair and logic dictates that the breaks and the calls over four quarters will go the home team’s way and that New England should find a way to win by 7 or 8 points or more against a Jeckyll-and-Hyde team like Chicago, which has a QB (Cutler) good for at least a couple of senseless passes each game. Or something. If the host Patriots and 15-year head coach Bill Belichick (143-109-5 ATS) can get 7s and not 3s and play the kind of no-nonsense defense they did against non-divisional foes Oakland (9 points) and Cincinnati (17 points) earlier this season, then the favorite should find a way to cover here in Foxboro.

As far as potential Anytime TD Scorer prop bet candidates in this game (for when these odds are released later in the week), the Patriots Gronkowski and Edelman are always both excellent choices and the Chicago secondary is nothing special, as the Dolphins proved on Sunday, rolling to a 27-14 win as 3-point Underdogs in Soldier Field. And if Miami can win in Chicago by 13, then the Patriots should be able to beat the Bears by 7 or more on the FieldTurf in New England, right? But be aware of how desperate Chicago is and will be in this situation and that it can throw everything at this date as the Bears have a Bye in Week 9 while Brady and the Patriots will be hosting Peyton Manning and the AFC champion Denver Broncos (CBS, 4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT) and may have that in the back of their minds.

NFL Pick: Patriots -6½ at Bet365

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