Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers MNF: Free NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Monday, November 4, 2013 12:52 PM GMT

The Chicago Bears will have to overcome the absence of two key players if they’re going to beat the NFL odds – and the Green Bay Packers - on Monday Night Football.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 2 inclusive:

21-19-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

4-5 Totals

Getting past the Green Bay Packers is difficult enough when you’ve got all your players lined up and ready to go. The Chicago Bears will try to get it done at Lambeau Field, on Monday Night Football, without starting QB Jay Cutler and seven-time Pro Bowl LB Lance Briggs. The NFL Odds aren’t too optimistic; Chicago is a 10.5-point dog as we go to press, although the consensus reports show that the public is only slightly on Green Bay’s side with a double-digit spread to cover.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":227000, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Sick Puppies

Just about any time I see a double-digit dog, I’m going to take it. I’ve only gone 1-2 ATS with those puppies this year (Jacksonville +27 over Denver was the winner), and as a whole, they fell to 8-9 ATS on the season after coming up short in all four of their Week 8 opportunities. That’s just not normal. Nor should it deter anyone from siding with the big dogs in general – just don’t pick them blindly. There should always be something in the matchup itself that supports your sports picks.

That’s what we have this Monday. Although the Bears (4-3 SU, 1-5-1 ATS) are a game behind the Packers (5-2 SU and ATS) in the NFC North, they’ve played well enough to rank sixth on the efficiency charts at Football Outsiders. The Packers were ninth heading into Week 9; in terms of Estimated Wins, the two teams are tied at 5.8. None of Chicago’s three losses (two of those were road games) were by more than eight points. The Bears have played some very good football this year.

Also read my NFL Picks: Bears vs. Packers Betting the Total.

Back-up Plan 

Of course, that was before QB Jay Cutler (91.7 passer rating) was knocked out of commission with a torn groin muscle. There’s a very real concern that the Bears, who have already lost three of their last four, will see their 2013 season crumble just like it did in 2011 when Cutler broke this thumb in Week 11.

There’s one important difference this time around: Josh McCown will be under center for Chicago, and not Caleb Hanie, who led the Bears to four straight losses and hasn’t played a down ever since. McCown isn’t going to keep Chicago fans from chewing on their fingernails – and maybe a kielbasa or two – but he might have enough game to keep the Bears within single digits Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Hanging with Chad

Let’s go straight to the most recent PSVAR (Point Spread Value Above Replacement) Rankings from ESPN’s Chad Millman. He’s got Cutler listed at plus-6.5 over McCown, which seems entirely reasonable. So if the Bears are playing slightly better than the Packers, and if they’re at Lambeau Field, let’s call that a 2.5-point advantage for Green Bay. Add 6.5 points for McCown, and presto, nine points. Single digits~!

Yes, but what about LB Lance Briggs? He’s out for the next 4-6 weeks with a broken shoulder, and was one of the last reliable men standing on an injury-plagued Bears defense that has slipped to No. 17 overall in defensive efficiency. Briggs wasn’t listed on the PSVAR charts, however, and Green Bay also has some injuries on offense, so might as well call it a wash for NFL betting purposes.

One last point of business: the weather report. We’re looking at a 20 percent chance of rain with temperatures in the high 40s Fahrenheit, and some gusts of wind toward the north end of Lambeau Field. We’ve seen worse. I’ll go ahead and take the Bears on the NFL betting lines; it could very well turn into a Packers blowout, but that’s football.

NFL Pick: Take the Bears +10.5 (–109) at Pinnacle