NFL Picks: Bet Jets –2.5 vs. Bears on Monday Night Football

Jason Lake

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 3:12 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014 3:12 PM UTC

They play in the two largest football betting markets in the United States, but the Chicago Bears and New York Jets have drawn a tiny amount of early action for their Week 3 Monday Night Football date.

Jason’s Record After Week 2: 4-7 ATS, 1-2-1 Totals

Profit: minus-8.8 units

Television just ain’t what she used to be. There was a time, not all that long ago, when people really had the warm-and-fuzzies for their TV sets. Then the Internet came. Now the only thing TV is good for is live events, and even then, programming quality has been sacrificed for maximum advertising coverage. Howard Cosell isn’t walking through that door anytime soon.

Maybe that’s why the Chicago Bears and New York Jets are drawing such poor NFL odds for their Monday Night Football matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). As we go to press, the Bears have about 55 percent support as 2.5-point road dogs, although our expanded consensus numbers show the Jets with a slight edge in the money department at 53 percent. More tellingly, look at those average bet sizes: just $53 for the Jets and $40 for the Bears. Those are the kind of bets you see for early Sunday regional games, not national prime time features.


One Yard and a Cloud of Dust
Then again, it’s not like the Jets have been providing us much quality football. They haven’t had a winning season since 2010, and there isn’t much optimism for this year’s crew with Geno Smith (68.2 career passer rating) at quarterback. Smith was barely replacement level in last week’s 31-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers (–7 at home); Football Outsiders gave Smith plus-1 DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) for his performance.

There is some cause for hope, though. Smith is playing at a somewhat higher level now that he’s got his rookie season under his belt. The former West Virginia sensation also has a better supporting cast to work with this year. However, his new No. 1 wideout, Eric Decker, remains questionable for Week 3 after his touchy hamstring started barking again in Week 2. The Jets have yet to provide an update on Decker’s status as we go to press.


That’s the Chicago Way
We’re also waiting for updates on Chicago’s major defensive injuries from last week’s monster comeback against the San Francisco 49ers. CB Charles “Peanut” Tillman is definitely out for the year (and maybe forever) with a torn triceps, but the immediate future is less certain for DT Jay Ratliff (concussion) and safety Chris Conte (shoulder). On top of that, Chicago’s offensive line is in flux with LG Matt Slauson and center Roberto Garza both missing Week 2 with ankle injuries. Both are considered week-to-week at this point.

It’s the defensive injuries that are compelling us to side with the Jets this week. Tillman is a two-time Pro Bowler and the heart and soul of the Chicago secondary. Without him, the Bears turned to the future: Kyle Fuller, their first-round pick this year out of Virginia Tech. Fuller intercepted the Niners twice in the fourth quarter to give the Bears their comeback opportunity – very nice, but even if Fuller can maintain that level of play, depth has to be a concern.

We came very close to making this a “pool only” NFL pick, but we’re giving the Jets a small advantage in the coaching department despite our love for Marc Trestman, Quarterback Whisperer. Rex Ryan is a defensive wizard from a family of defensive wizards; his Jets managed to upset both the New England Patriots (–3.5) and the New Orleans Saints (–6) last year at the New Meadowlands. Chicago had better not bring a knife to this gunfight.


The Five Stars
Injuries/Suspensions/Travel/Rest: NYJ

Defense/Special Teams: NYJ

Coaching: NYJ

Market Bias: CHI

Betting Line Value: CHI

Verdict: 1-star pick on NYJ

Free NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Jets –2.5 at Sports Interaction

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