Expect Bears to Cover -6.5 for in Week 1 NFL Pick

Nikki Adams

Thursday, September 4, 2014 7:22 PM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 4, 2014 7:22 PM GMT

Chicago Bears host the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 NFL betting. Find out what NFL odds are currently trading and what value NFL picks you can’t afford to miss. 

Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears Preview 
Chicago Bears finished 2013 behind and 8-8 record, which included a 5-3 record at home and 3-5 record on the road. They finished second behind Green Bay Packers and missed the playoffs. The Bears lightning offense began the season on a promising note, winning their first two exhibition games – 34-28 over Eagles and 20-19 over Jaguars. They dropped the last two games of the season, including the “dress rehearsal” in week 3 34-6 to Seattle. To be fair, they did take on the defending champions, only the top defense last season that surrendered just 14.4 points per game to Chicago’s 30th ranked defense in the league that surrendered on average a29.9 points per game.

The Buffalo Bills meanwhile were bottom of the AFC East class with a 6-10 record (4-4 home, 2-6 away), a record that matched their 2012 output and lack of improvement over the last two seasons. Most concerning for Bills fans, their side’s offensive struggles over the past two seasons spilled into preseason, where they went 1-4 on the back of a 0-3 record at home and a 1-1 record away (includes Hall of Fame game that they lost 17-13 to New York Giants. Last season, defense was their only saving grace, ranked 10th in the league with 24.2 points per game surrendered.

 

Betting Odds and Relevant Trends
Bookmakers have issued a lopsided market on this game with the Bears heavily favoured at home for the straight up win at -290 while the Bills are matched at far flung +230 NFL odds to win straight up. On the spread the Bears are chalked as the 6.5-points favourites. So where should NFL bettors place their picks?

Chicago Bears performed well as the home favourites last season, going 5-1-0 in six games where they were expected to win for 83.3% winning ratio. Buffalo Bills by contrast went 1-6-0 as the road underdogs in 2013 for a discouraging 14.3% winning ratio. The most revealing aspect was the margin of victory, which was a -12.0 (negative in losses).

Against the spread, the Bears were one of the worst last season going 4-11-1 overall, which yields a 26.7 % winning ratio. As the home favourites on the spread, they were similarly disappointing, going 1-4-1 for a 20% winning ratio.

Buffalo Bills by contrast went 8-8 against the spread overall last season, which yields a 50% winning ratio. However, as the away underdogs on the spread, they were a disappointing 1-6-0 for a 14.3% winning ratio and included in that record as a -12.0 margin of victory (negative in losses).

 

Betting the Straight Up Win
Chicago Bears to win straight up would appear to be the smart NFL pick according to 2013 trends that had them go 5-1-0 SU as home favourites. Let’s also not forget, the Bills were unsuccessful at turning the NFL odds in their favour as the road underdogs last season, managing the feat just once (1-6-0).

The key here is going to be Jay Cutler leading the Bears’ air assault with big receivers Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett. As well as deploying Running back Matt Forte on the ground. Undoubtedly, the Bears are more potent on offense than the Bills, which gives them a decided edge on the scoreboard all while testing arguably a stout Bills defense.

 

Can the Bills Keep it Close to Cover?
Bills defense was decent last season and looks to be similarly so this season, but blocking all those weapons is going to be challenging. Where the Bills might have an edge is on the run, with a rushing attack that features C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown. Bears were abysmal against the run last season, allowing 161.4 yards per game. If the Bills can get up and running successfully from the start, they’ve a shot to keep this game close. That said 2013 trends show that despite their decent defensive stats, they only covered once last season as the road underdog (1-6-0) and, crucially, the average margin of victory/defeat was -12.0 (negative in losses) and the average team the points covered the spread by was -6.9. That’s a strong case against the Bills on the spread in our opinion; hence, we’re taking the Bears to cover the spread at -6.5.

Free NFL Picks: Bears to win straight up -290 and cover -6.5 at 5Dimes

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