Cowboys vs. Bears Betting the Total for our NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Monday, December 9, 2013 12:27 PM GMT

Sunday’s games showed us what a little snow – or a lot – can do to the NFL football lines. But it looks like Soldier Field will avoid those conditions when the Chicago Bears host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 7 inclusive:

33-28-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

7-12-1 Totals

Into everyone’s life, a little snow must fall. Everyone in the northern United States, that is. Weather conditions played a role in several Week 14 NFL games, most notably in Philadelphia, where Lincoln Financial Field was blanketed so heavily that the Eagles and Detroit Lions didn’t even bother attempting any field goals – and combined for just one PAT attempt in a 34-20 win for Philadelphia.

This contest was particularly notable, because just a few hours before game time, the weather report only called for a light snow beginning an hour after kick-off. The lesson: Hold the phone on those weather-based NFL betting plays as long as possible. That includes our latest episode of Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), where the Chicago Bears will host the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field.

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No Rain

Updating our Chicagoland weather reports from earlier in the week, we’re still looking at a very cold game, although the expected temperatures at game time have risen from the mid- to the high teens, and the chance of precipitation has virtually disappeared. Crosswinds of about 15mph are still on the menu. All in all, not a bad night for some football. Not for the Bears, at least. The warm-weather Cowboys might have other opinions.

If the latest report manages to hold up, the OVER becomes an even better value on the NFL odds board. The total has edged down to 48 points, with a small majority of bettors taking the OVER according to our consensus numbers. The online sportsbooks may be expecting the public to prefer the UNDER in this situation; casual punters tend to overbet the UNDER in cold weather.

No Cutler, Either

Chicago supporters got some bad news when QB Jay Cutler (63.0 CMP%, 88.4 passer rating) was ruled out for Monday night’s matchup despite getting in a limited practice on Thursday. Cutler has missed the last three Bears games with a high-ankle sprain; however, two of those three games went OVER with Josh McCown (65.2 CMP%, 103.6 passer rating) playing like a Pro Bowler in relief of Cutler. The OVER is 8-4 for Chicago this year.

Bears head coach Marc Trestman deserves some of the credit for keeping his team’s playoff hopes alive. This is his first year on the job, but Trestman is hardly a rookie when it comes to quarterbacks. He was the back-up behind Tony Dungy for the Minnesota Golden Gophers before spending several years in the NFL as a QB coach and an offensive co-ordinator. Then Trestman went north to the CFL, leading Anthony Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes to two Grey Cups in five seasons. His reputation as a quarterback whisperer is well-earned.

Sean of the Dead

The Cowboys have the OVER at 7-5 on the season and 4-2 in road games, combining the league’s No. 10-ranked offense with the No. 27-ranked defense. Again, that defense gets a significant boost this week with the return of LB Sean Lee, who missed three games (all three going OVER) with a hamstring injury. But Dallas also brings a nearly full complement of offensive players to Soldier Field, and the Cowboys need a win to keep pace with the Eagles in the NFC East.

I’ve already recommended the OVER in this matchup, so I’ll once again remind you of the virtue of patience. If Monday’s weather report turns to rain, don’t hesitate to switch sides with your NFL pick.

NFL Pick: Take OVER 48 at William Hill