NFL Picks: Betting Value Found in Saints vs. Bears Total

Jason Lake

Thursday, December 11, 2014 7:58 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 7:58 PM UTC

The New Orleans Saints are one of the best NFL picks you could ever hope for – if you’re betting on the OVER when they play. The Chicago Bears aren’t likely to stop them Monday night at Solider Field.

Jason’s record after Week 14: 35-48-1 ATS, 18-22-1 Totals
There are so many reasons to bet the UNDER in Monday night’s matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears. There’s a hefty 54-point total on the NFL odds board. The Saints are playing outdoors at Solider Field. In December. At night. With the weather forecast calling for a 70 percent chance of rain. It’s a smorgasbord of betting angles.

Fuhgeddaboudit. The Saints have the OVER at 10-3 this year, and as for all that other stuff, we just saw the Dallas Cowboys march into Soldier Field and dump the Bears 41-28 (OVER 50.5) on Thursday Night Football. Why should Monday night be any different? Our consensus reports agree – they show 63 percent of bettors hammering the OVER at 53.5 points, a total that is still available at select locations as we go to press.

Windy City
Betting angles are nice and all, but look at what happened in our last very special episode of Monday Night Football: The Atlanta Falcons went to Lambeau and scored 37 points on the Green Bay Packers. The also gave up 43 points, blowing out the 54.5-point total in the process. It was unlike anything we’d seen from the Falcons in a decade of winter football.

It’s not like the Cowboys have a rich and storied tradition of playing well in December, either. But the Bears defense was more than accommodating in Week 14. What’s left of the Bears defense, that is. The fresh DVOA stats at Football Outsiders have Chicago ranked No. 27 in defensive efficiency (No. 29 pass, No. 16 rush), and that’s for the full 13 games up until now. During the second half of the season, we’ve seen the Bears (OVER 8-5) give up 51 points to the New England Patriots and 55 points to the Packers, not to mention last week’s debacle.

And yet the Saints defense is even worse. Despite some promising tweaks coming out of the Week 6 bye, New Orleans is No. 31 in defensive efficiency (No. 28 pass, No. 32 rush), ahead of only the Falcons. Season-ending injuries to safety Jairus Byrd (knee) and others have definitely played a role, but we’ve seen more blown coverage this year than Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.

The Beautiful South
The Saints can thank their lucky stars that they play in the NFC South – where they can still win the division. They can also take solace in their No. 8-ranked offense (No. 9 pass, No. 8 rush), even if it’s not quite as potent as the 2009 version that won the Super Bowl. QB Drew Brees (98.8 passer rating) leads the league in accuracy at 69.3 percent on his completions. And RB Mark Ingram (4.5 yards per carry, 24 catches) can’t be considered a draft bust anymore.

Will the No. 14-ranked Bears offense (No. 13 pass, No. 13 rush) even bother showing up? It’ll already be missing Brandon Marshall (61 catches, eight TDs), who’s out for the year with busted ribs – and a collapsed lung. Yikes. But QB Jay Cutler (91.7 passer rating) does have other targets to throw at, including RB Matt Forte (4.0 yards per carry, 86 catches), who leads the team in receptions. Maybe all this checking down is what really has Chicago’s unmentionables in a bunch.

As it stands for this game's NFL pick, it might not take much offense from the Bears to get this game OVER the posted total. And Chicago lost yet another defensive starter when LB D.J. Williams was put on injured reserve Thursday with a neck injury. Good gravy. Whoever thought playing football could be so bad for you?

Free NFL Pick: Take the OVER

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