New Orleans has actually been better away from Home lately and on Monday night, the Saints travel to Chicago to play the struggling Bears in a primetime TV game in which points should flow, making the Over the bet.
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears (Saints -3, 54½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Tuesday 01:30 (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT): The Chicago Bears (5-8 SU, 5-8 ATS) and the QB who plays like the Windy City weather—Jay Cutler—welcome Drew Brees (51-44-4 ATS Away) and the New Orleans Saints (5-8 SU, 6-7 ATS) to Soldier Field for this final game of Week 15 which strangely enough still has meaning despite the teams’ combined 10-16 SU record. The SuperBook’s NFL 2014 Games of the Year opened this game at the Saints -1½ this summer, while the same sports book’s Advanced Line last week had the Saints as 3½-point Favorites. So, the -3 it’s at pretty much everywhere late Monday night on Oddschecker screens seems like the perfect number for this game.
The Total Points here has been set at 54½, (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) while the Money Line (Winner) odds see the Saints priced at -150 with the host Bears lined at +130 (BetVictor). The Saints Team Total Points is at 28½ (Stan James) while the Bears Team Total Points is at 25½ (BetVictor). A random prop bet for your holiday consumption: Overtime? (No -2500, Yes +1000; Coral).
New Orleans Saints
The Saints (3-3 ATS Road) come in off of a nasty divisional loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 14 and are now tied with the Falcons atop the anemic NFC South which could have a 6-10 division winner hosting a playoff game while a team with a potential winning record like the 49ers or Cowboys could be watching from home eating cheese dip and cursing at their 72-inch HDTVs. Should New Orleans (5-3-2 ATS L10 vs. Bears) end up with the same record as these Bears, the Saints would win the tiebreaker over Chicago based on winning percentage in common games.
New Orleans (3-8 SU L11, 1-4 SU L5) is led by QB Drew Brees (373 Completions, 3,983 yards, 28 TDs), who is having a somewhat Brees-like year although the Saints skill position players aren’t as deep as past years and injuries to guys like invaluable TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) and WR Robert Meachem (ankle)—who is listed as Day-to-Day for this contest—have hurt this team. RB Mark Ingram (82 rushes, 810 yards, 6 TDs) has been a pleasant surprise and New Orleans ranks 9th in the NFL in Rushing, but it’s the constant Arena Football-like Passing attack (4th, 297.3 ypg) the Saints employ which provides hope for Who Dat Nation with a plethora of receivers being the beneficiary including WR Kenny Stills (47 receptions, 714 yards, 7 TDs, 14.3 ypc).
Where the Saints are lacking, and probably the best handicapping angle in this one, is their horrific defense which is 29th against both the opponents’ Rush (133.5 ypg) and Pass (265.2 ypg) and is 31st in Total Yards allowed (398.7 ypg). New Orleans is also 30th in Points Allowed (27.6 ppg) and 31st in FG Percentage Allowed (96.3%). There are 32 teams in the NFL. And all of these things point toward the Over as our NFL pick, especially with the primetime TV trend still hitting at an insane percentage this season and the Bears own porous defense.
The Bears (2-5 SU L7 Home) have lost their edge and a fair number of dedicated fans who drove out to Soldier Field to watch their team play on Sundays will probably elect not to renew their season tickets for next season after seeing the product the organization has put on the field this year. And either head coach Marc Trestman (9-19-1 ATS) or QB Jay Cutler (22-39 ATS Home)—or maybe both—has to go in the offseason and it will probably take years to get this team even close to being back to the semblance of the team for which Red Grange, Sid Luckman, Gayle Sayers, Dick Butkus, Walter Payton and Mike Ditka played and George Halas coached for. And that’s what Chicago (2-4 ATS Home this season) probably needs right about now: Ditka returning. And new ownership.
RB Matt Forte has done all he can for Chicago, as usual, rushing for 854 yards and 6 TDs and catching 86 passes for 724 yards and 3 TDs. WRs Alshon Jeffery (73 receptions, 949 yards, 8 TDs, 13.0 ypc) and TE Martellus Bennett (77 receptions, 821 yards, 6 TDs), along with the aforementioned Forte, have been the consistently inconsistent Cutler’s main targets this season, but like the Saints, the Bears are pathetic against the Pass and rank 30th in the NFL (265.5 ypg) defending it—more support for a goofy, high-scoring shootout on the banks of Lake Michigan.
Injury-wise, Chicago is a bit banged up heading in here with LB Darryl Sharpton (hamstring), G Eben Britton (illness), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (knee), S Chris Conte, DE Cornelius Washington (chest) and ctar K Robbie Gould (quadricep) all listed as Day-to-Day early in the week for this NFC interdivisional meeting at Soldier Field where the weather forecast in Chicago calls for Fog and a 95% chance of Precipitation with a Low of 41° F/12° C on the last Monday night of fall in the Northern Hemisphere.
Best Betting Approaches and Trends
Primetime Overs have been hitting easily this season and with gunslingers Brees and Cutler dueling in the Windy City for two angst-ridden teams with losing records still clinging to Life, it’s probably best to keep riding the horse in the direction he’s going, bubba. The Over is 4-1 in the Saints L4 games and 5-1 in their L6 on the Road and is also 4-1 in their L5 against the Bears and the Over is 5-1 in the L5 meetings here in Chicago and is 12-5 in the Bears L17 games. Also, New Orleans is 10-3 Over so far this season while Chicago is 8-5 Over (18-8 cumulative), so, absolutely everything trend-wise points to the Over.
As far as a side, with this NFL odds line sitting on (Saints minus) 3 and both teams so schizophrenic, the idea of laying off seems safe. New Orleans was 0-3 ATS on the Road before going 3-0 ATS in their next 3 and the Saints are just 1-4 ATS in their L5, 2-4 SU L4 against Chicago and 2-2-2 ATS in the L6 in this series. Not much to grab onto and with the Graham and Meachem injury questions, it’s too hard to recommend backing the visitors here. And Chicago (2-5 ATS and SU L7) is just as confusing, and like New Orleans, may deserve no Christmas this year because they’ve also been bad boys. Santa Claus sees everything Jay. And Old Saint Nick doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you were born in Santa Claus (Indiana) either and he’s a Saint anyway. No playing favorites during the holidays, Cutty. Good luck with the Jets or Rams or wherever next season. The Bears are 4-2 SU in the L6 against the Saints but Chicago is a pathetic 3-12-1 ATS in its L15 at Home and the Saints are 5-2-2 ATS L9 vs. the Bears so Brees and New Orleans should be the Favorites here are likely to be a little bit more motivated than the hosts with a chance to win the NFC South and host a playoff game.
Free NFL Pick: Over 54½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)