NFL Picks: Trust in Cutler & Bears +1.5 at Home vs. Vikings

Jason Lake

Saturday, October 31, 2015 7:18 PM UTC

Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 7:18 PM UTC

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the worst 4-2 teams in history. But they're still better than the 2-4 Chicago Bears, who are on the wrong side of the NFL odds this Sunday.

Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 31: 22-17-1 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-26 Total

Which is the scarier Halloween costume: a Minnesota Vikings player, or an actual Viking? Probably the latter. The football Vikings may be 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS, but there isn't anything particularly scary about this team. Minnesota got this far by playing the softest schedule of anyone in the NFL through Week 7, as per Football Outsiders.

The Chicago Bears (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS), on the other hand, have played the second-toughest schedule in the league. That still doesn't make up for the difference in quality between the two teams, but it does make the Bears a plausible NFL pick for Sunday's matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) at sunny Solider Field. Bettors aren't convinced; even though Minnesota has moved from –2.5 to –1 at press time, the Vikings are still pulling in 57-percent consensus with nearly 62 percent of the monies wagered.


My Man Adam
We'd like to say it was sharp money on the Bears pulling that spread down, and perhaps it was, but our expanded consensus surveys also show five $1000+ bets on Minnesota, compared to three for Chicago. Big money is sharp money, as they say. Let's not get ourselves lost in parsing these numbers too closely, though. The wiseguys know about the Vikings and their magic act. They know Minnesota is ranked No. 28 overall (No. 28 offense, No. 24 defense, No. 15 special teams) on the DVOA charts.

They also know Chicago is another two spots back at No. 30 overall (No. 22 offense, No. 29 defense, No. 25 special teams). And the smart ones will remind you (or keep it to themselves) that these numbers are based on the entire season up until now. They include nearly two full games from backup QB Jimmy Clausen. Top starter Jay Cutler has traditionally performed well against the Vikings, and he's having something of a renaissance this year under hotshot offensive co-ordinator Adam Gase.


Just Like Hroniss Sang
Cutler's job will be a lot easier Sunday if rookie center Hroniss Grasu (neck) is able to suit up. Grsau was limited in Friday's practice and is considered questionable to face the Vikings. Uh-oh. If Grsau can't play, Matt Slauson will shift over from left guard and Patrick Omameh will move into the starting lineup. Slauson (knee, shoulder) and Omameh (ankle) are both listed as probable.

Technically, LT Jermon Bushrod (shoulder/concussion) is also questionable for Sunday, but he's expected to play after returning from a three-game absence in Chicago's 37-34 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions (–3.5 at home) in Week 6. The Bears beat the NFL odds for the third straight game, and they're coming into Week 8 off the bye. We'll buy that for a dollar.

NFL Picks: Take the Bears +1.5 at Bovada

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