Can Bears Be Bulls in NFL Props Market This Season? Tru That

Dusty Streets

Monday, August 6, 2018 10:18 PM UTC

Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 10:18 PM UTC

Chicago has finished in the NFC North cellar the last four seasons, but a new coach and a slew of young talent might begin to change the team's fortunes -- and yours with your NFL prop bets.

The NFL is better when the Chicago Bears are relevant, just like the NHL is better when the Toronto Maple Leafs are contenders and MLB is better when the New York Yankees are among the elite. Pro football's most storied franchise, however, has been a floundering franchise of late.

The good news is, change is in the air in the Windy City.

Second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky, the backup when 2017 kicked off, ended last season as the starter and is expected to have that role for the next decade. Offensive guru Matt Nagy is embarking on his first season as an NFL head coach. And a top-10 defense is adding a player who could continue the franchise's linebacker legacy.

When you ponder how to bet in the NFL props market this season, consider how Trubisky, Nagy and rookie Roquan Smith might figure into your picks.

They're Not Saying 'Boo' ... They're Chanting 'Truuuuuu'

The Bears go through quarterbacks like fans go through turnstyles at Soldier Field: one after another after another. From 1993-2017 the franchise used 30 different starting QBs, including Moses (Moreno, that is, who was NOT the savior). The 30th of that bunch is Trubisky, who took over for Mike Glennon in Week 5 last season.

The Bears hope Trubisky, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2017, is the man to finally lock the revolving QB door. Last season he was restricted by conservative game plans (he attempted seven passes against Carolina -- and won) and subpar talent (injuries sidelined the team's top two wideouts). This season should be different because of offseason signings (tight end Trey Burton and receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel) and a new offensive philosophy.

Under Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, a more experienced Trubisky will direct a unit featuring a myriad of formations and personnel groupings, with players such as second-year back Tarik Cohen being used from various spots on the field. The Bears led the league last year in three-and-outs, but quick-strike passes should help increase Trubisky's completion percentage and keep drives alive.

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It has been 33 years since Chicago had a Pro Bowl quarterback (Jim McMahon, 1985), and although Trubisky is likely a few years from such accolades, the new coaching staff is putting him in the right direction. Don't waste your money on Trubisky's odds (+8,000 at 5Dimes, +10,000 at BetOnline) for most passing yards in the league. However, consider the trickle-down effect. Trubisky will be working with better weapons and in a better system, so opponents will be paying more attention to defending the pass, thus opening things up for the running game. In that regard, there could be better value with Jordan Howard (+1200 at 5Dimes, +1300 at BetOnline) for most rushing yards. Howard ranked second in the league in rushing in 2016 and sixth (but only 17 yards from fourth) in 2017 when defenses knew the Bears were basically a run-only team.

New Man In The Middle

Quarterback has always been the glamour position in the NFL. From Joe Namath to Tom Brady, QBs are the coolest dudes on and off the field. They get the biggest paychecks, date the hottest women and attract the most notoriety. Unless you play for the Bears.

Glamour in Chicago goes to the other side of the ball, specifically to the middle linebacker position where Bill George, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and most recently Brian Urlacher carved Hall of Fame careers. Next to man that spot will be Smith, last year's Butkus Award winner at Georgia and the eighth overall draft pick.

Last year the Bears ranked 10th in total defense (319 yards per game allowed) under coordinator Vic Fangio, who was retained by Nagy. Assuming Smith (the only unsigned draft pick as of this writing) gets his contract situation resolved sooner rather than later, he should benefit greatly from Fangio's presence, make an impact on an underrated defense and be in contention for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. 5Dimes gives Smith the second-best odds (+530) for the award behind Buffalo's Bradley Chubb, and he just might be worth the gamble to win it.

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And now a message from our guy...

We're waiting for you in Chicago, @RoquanSmith1! #NFLDraft #BearsDraft

— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 27, 2018

Does This Sound Familiar?

Some people are calling the 2018 Bears a version of the 2017 Los Angeles Rams. The Rams went 4-12 in 2016 but improved to 11-5 last year led by first-year head coach Sean McVay, second-year quarterback Jared Goff, and star running back Todd Gurley. First-year coach? Second-year QB? Top-notch running game? Hmmm.

Every team coming off a terrible season would love to improve their win total by seven games. In the Bears' case, improving by only two would mean a 7-9 record, so an "over" wager on Chicago's win total (6.5 at 5Dimes) makes sense. The Bears' non-division schedule includes games against the Jets, Giants, Cardinals, Dolphins, and Buccaneers.

McVay was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2017. Nagy isn't among the favorites to with the award this year (+2300 odds at 5Dimes), but it wouldn't be shocking if everything came together for Chicago just as it did for the Rams last season. The Bears are the longshots in the NFC North (+800 at BetOnline), but who would've figured the Rams would win the NFC West last year. Just saying.

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