Peyton Manning is out & Brock Osweiler is in for the Broncos Week 11 against Jay Cutler and the Bears in a huge inter-divisional NFL date for both teams who are heading in different directions.
Odds Overview: Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears Sunday
This inter-conference showdown between the host Chicago Bears (4-5 SU, 5-4 ATS, W2) and the Denver Broncos (7-2 SU, 5-3-1 ATS, L2) at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday has taken on a different feel with 39-year-old Denver QB Peyton Manning (Torn Plantar Fascia Left Foot) having been benched in favor of backup Brock Osweiler after news of Manning’s Injury surfaced early Monday combined with his horrible performance on Sunday in the Broncos 29-13 Loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Denver. Oddsmakers have mixed favorites and even several Pick ‘Em’s this morning (Tuesday) as news Osweiler will be starting settles in at sportsbooks here in Las Vegas, Offshore and Online. The game is currently a Pick ‘em at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and Pinnacle while the Broncos are 1½-point favorites at BetOnline and 2-point chalks at The Greek. at Bookmaker, the Bears are 1½-point favorites, while Chicago are 1-point chalks at William Hill, Wynn Las Vegas and Youwager.
The Advanced Line here from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook was actually Denver -6½ before Week 10 play, so you can see the combined effect of what Denver’s embarrassing setback to the Chiefs combined with the Bears upset of the Rams in St. Louis and Manning’s Injury did to perceptions of the Point Spread and favorite (if there really is one) here. The Total (Points) in this game ranges from 41 (Stratosphere) to 43 (The Greek) while in the Money Line (Winner) marketplace, both the Bears and Broncos are lined at -110 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). The Denver Broncos Total Team Points has been set at 19½ (Ladbrokes) while the Chicago Bears Total Team Points is presently set at 21 (Ladbrokes) for this game. Oh how an Injury can affect a Point Spread in virtually no Time and kudos to anyone who got a piece of Chicago +6½ on the Advanced Line before all of this went down from Sunday-Monday.
The Denver Broncos (205 PF-168 PA) may finally be realizing that veteran and future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning (74-59-5 ATS on Road) may be way more of a liability to the team’s Offense, so after revealing on Monday morning the Tennessee product has a torn Plantar Fascia in his Left Foot, the AFC West leaders will be going with backup Brock Osweiler (14/24, 146 yards, TD, Interception vs. Chiefs on Sunday) here against the Bears on Sunday afternoon. Denver marched undefeated through the first six weeks of their Regular Season schedule, beating the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, the Detroit Lions in Week 3, the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4, the Oakland Raiders in Week 5 and the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 before enjoying their Bye Week and then coming back to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the Mile High City in Week 8. Then wicked Gravity and Age seemingly caught up with the team boasting the best Defense in the NFL in Week 9 as the Colts downed the Broncos in Indianapolis, followed by last weekend’s 39-13 Loss to the Chiefs in Week 10 in which Manning—though setting the NFL record for Total Passing Yards in the game—threw for just 35 yards (5/20) with no TDs and 4 Interceptions, giving Manning an NFL-high 17 for the season. Yes, those were Peyton Manning’s real numbers. So, enter Brock Osweiler and possibly the start of the Osweiler Era. Besides Manning, Denver (14/1 to win Super Bowl, bet365) has some other Injury concerns heading in here with LB DeMarcus Ware (Back), WR Emmanuel Sanders (Head) and WR Jordan Norwood (Hamstring) are all listed as Questionable while T Ty Sambrailo (Shoulder) and T Ryan Clady (Knee) both sit on the Broncos Injured-Reserve List with T Jeff Heuerman (Knee) out for the season.
The Chicago Bears (199 PF-234 PA) have been playing some really good football of late. After almost knocking off the Vikings in Week 8, the Bears had a nice 22-19 win in Week 9 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego followed by last week’s nice upset over the Rams in St. Louis, a NFL pick offered up here both ATS and on the Moneyline. Why are the Bears playing so good now? Well, they got QB Jay Cutler back and slinging and Rookie (Michigan State) RB Jeremy Langford has been absolutely brilliant (Fantasy players take note) as both a RB out of the backfield as well as a receiver for the Chicago (250/1 to win Super Bowl, Coral) Offense. With the pleasant emergence of Langford, other skill Position players like WR Alshon Jeffery, TE Martellus Bennett, and now TE Zach Miller have been able get even more yardage with the field spread out. And with WR Marquess Wilson, WR Eddie Royal (Injured), RB Matt Forte (Injured), RB Ka’Deem Carey (7 rushes, 28 yards), speedy WR Jacquizz Rodgers (Arm, Injured-Reserve List) and Rookie WR Kevin White (West Virginia), this team’s Roster is now loaded and keep your eye on Chicago the rest of this season and next, especially after first-year Head Coach John Fox gets some traction with the franchise and Chicagoland area itself. And with the Bears Defense playing so well, it’s no surprise this game is even now in many places. On the Injury front for Chicago, aforementioned skill guys Forte (Knee) and WR Royal (Knee) are listed as Questionable as are C Hroniss Grasu (Neck) and LB Pernell McPhee (Neck). T Tabu Fabuluje (Suspension) will be eligible in Week 15 while promising Rookie WR White (Shin) is Out Indefinitely and still hasn’t played a down for Da Bears. Chicago has six guys stuck on the Injured-Reserve List in S Ryan Mundy (Hip), RB Senorise Perry (Hip), DL Cornelius Washington (Undisclosed), C Will Montgomery (Leg), DL Ego Ferguson (Knee) and speedy WR and Oregon State product Rodgers (Arm).
Recent Series Trends and Best Betting Approaches
Although the best time to bet the Bears was getting the 6½ points on the Advanced Line, the majority of sports gamblers don’t have access to that niche market and that was Then and this Now anyway. We can talk and write about old numbers, but can’t wager on them. But the chance to get the Bears with a point or 2 still exists for now (The Greek), and that may matter, but this is now essentially an exercise in picking the winner in a game that’s seen as Even by the NFL odds market. And with Chicago having the Momentum, being at Home, having its Defense playing the best it has all season and Osweiler getting the start, backing the hosts for a modest amount is the only call it seems as the linemakers and General Public are now onto Chicago which may make a run at a Playoff spot in the watered-down NFC if it can win here on Sunday at Soldier Field against the Broncos and get to .500 (5-5).
The last time these two teams played, the Broncos won 13-10 in Denver in 2011, pushing the 3-point spread playing then under current Bears Head Coach John Fox, while the last time these two met here in the Windy City where the Deep Dish Pizza is so thick they use it as manhole covers if need be, Chicago won 37-34 in 2007 as 1½-point underdogs. The Bears are 6-1-2 ATS the L9 in this series overall and Chicago is 4-1 ATS the L5 here in Chitown, although Denver’s Defenses weren’t as strong as this current unit. Denver (1st Quarter Unders 8-1) will look to run RBs Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson and try to get the football to WR Demaryius Thomas, TE Owen Daniels and WR Sanders if he’s healthy enough to go. But again, watch this versatile Rookie (Michigan State, 5th Round) Langford here who has helped lead the Bears from the depths of despair this Regular Season and may who again may help lead Chicago to a surprise Win here on Sunday.
PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Bears 23 Broncos 20
NFL FREE PICKS WEEK 11: Bears +2 (The Greek), First Quarter Under 7½