NFL Picks: Bears vs. Eagles Betting the Spread

Darin Zank

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 4:15 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 4:15 PM UTC

The Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles hook up Sunday night for what should be a doozy, matching a couple of potent offenses against a couple of lousy defenses. So where does the best value lie? Our handicapper will give you hand with that!

Both teams are 8-6, both teams lead their divisions, and the home team is favored by a field goal.

Here's our take on this game, and our lean; we share it, hopefully with profitable results.

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The Set-Up

This is a big one, and it should be fun to watch. The Eagles lead the NFC East, the Bears lead the NFC North.

Chicago started 3-0 this season, then, while going through a change at quarterback due to an injury to Jay Cutler, went through a 3-6 stretch. But just when things looked a little bleak, after an overtime loss at Minnesota three weeks ago, the Bears beat Dallas and, last week, with Cutler back in in place of Josh McCown, rallied to win at Cleveland 38-31.

So in the span of about eight days Chicago, with help from Baltimore Monday night, went from a tough spot in the NFC North to the lead, and controller of its own destiny.

Offensively, the Bears have taken advantage of maybe the best set of receivers in the league, and the versatility of RB Matt Forte, who's rushed for 1,200 yards and caught balls for 500 more this season.

Defensively, though, Chicago has a problem. No team in the league has been worse against the run, and LB Lance Briggs, who's trying to come back from a shoulder injury, is still questionable for Sunday's game.

On the homey side of this match-up, Philly started 1-3 this year, and after scoring a total of 10 points in back-to-back losses to the Cowboys and Giants sat at 3-5. But the Eagles made a change at QB, inserting young Nick Foles in for the injured Michael Vick, and later went on a five-game winning streak to take the lead in the East.

Philly had its streak snapped last Sunday in a somewhat embarrassing 48-30 loss at Minnesota.

Still, the Eagles own a one-game lead over Dallas in the divisional race; Philly ends the season with a game against the Cowboys in Arlington.

The Eagles could win the division if Dallas loses at Washington earlier Sunday, and they win Sunday night.

Foles has been great since taking over the starting spot, compiling a 23/2 TD/INT ratio. WR DeSean Jackson has 75 catches for 1,275 yards and nine scores, and LeSean McCoy has run for 1,300 yards, at five yards a clip.

Defensively, Philly's numbers aren't very good, but a good portion of the damage has come in just a few games, or while opponents have tried to play catch-up. In fact, the Eagles have held nine of their last 10 opponents to 21 points or fewer. These days in the NFL you'll win a lot of games holding foes to 21 points.

Bears-Eagles By the Numbers

Chicago ranks seventh in the league in total offense, 13th in rushing; 27th in total defense, and dead last vs. the run, allowing 152 YPG on the ground. Add it up, the Bears have out-gained opponents this season by 14 YPG, but been out-rushed by 34 YPG.

Philly ranks second in total offense and, with help from both Vick and Foles, leads the league in rushing at 153 YPG. On the other side of the ball the Eagles rank 30th overall, 16th vs. the run.

On the whole Philly has out-gained opponents by 12 YPG, and out-rushed foes by 42 YPG.

So far this NFL season teams that out-rush their opponents have covered the spread 60 percent of games.

Bears-Eagles Betting Trends

Chicago has actually been one of the worst teams in the league to bet on this year, going 4-9-1 ATS, 3-4 ATS on the road, 2-4 ATS as underdogs.

Philly is 7-7 vs. the numbers, just 2-5 ATS at home, 5-6 ATS as favorites.

The Updated Line

As of Wednesday AM most NFL betting shops were chalking the Eagles at -3. A couple of outlets were offering Philly at -2.5, but with grease of -130 on the NFL odds.

Bears-Eagles Free Pick

This game could easily turn into a wide-open shootout, and those are tough games to pick. But a couple of items point us toward Philadelphia for Sunday's night NFL pick. First, this game matches the No. 1-ranked rushing offense against the worst rush defense in the league. Then, we've got our “reversal of fortunes” theory; Chicago exploded late to win a game in Cleveland last week, while the Eagles got toasted up in Minnesota. In the topsy-turvy world that is the NFL reversals of fortune happen every week. This looks like it might be one of those spots. So we'll go with Philly at the -3 points (+100) offered at Pinnacle.

NFL Picks: Eagles -3 (+100)

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