What can NFL bettors expect from the Chicago Bears in the 2015-2016 season, now that they are under the guidance of John Fox? If the NFL odds were any indication, not much. We look at some of those and serve up NOT so bold predictions.
Chicago Bears Look To Bounce Back
The Chicago Bears look to bounce back from a disappointing 2014 season in which they finished 5-11 SU to prop up the NFC North. Heck, even rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Peterson-less Vikings did better behind a 7-9 SU record in 2014. Indeed, it wasn't a great season to be a Bears fan. At least, the windy city has the Chicago Blackhawks....hockey anyone?
So palpable was the humiliation in Chicago by season end it was unbearable. The organisation couldn't go on in its current form, obviously. So pink slips were summarily handed out. Exit door blown wide open for various scapegoats as the powers that be cleaned house.
Bring on Former Denver Broncos coach John Fox. The highly respected tactician and strategist has a massive challenge before him: to coax the Bears out from the NFC North basement and into the NFL playoff hunt, if not eventually all the way to the top of the division. That's a tough ask considering the depth and quality contained within their NFC North; namely, neighbouring Green Bay where Aaron Rodgers and the Packers look to clinch a fifth straight divisional title this season and are amongst the top favorites trading across sports betting platforms for Super Bowl 50.
Appropriately, odds makers have set a modest season win total line of 7 for the Bears. John Fox is a respected coach, but even for him it's going to be tough to lift the Bears to .500 or above. Hence, the OVER is trading at +120 while the UNDER is trading at -150.
Underscoring these NFL odds is a tough NFL schedule that ranks 13th in the league with a 0.531 winning percentage. Consider the Bears had the 15th toughest schedule last season but with a lowly 0.496 winning percentage, and were only able to muster up a 5-11 record. How are they supposed to improve this season with a tougher record? All while led by the very same quarterback Jay Cutler, who left a lot to be desired on the stat sheets. Not unless the shot-caller has experienced some kind of miraculous reinvention during the offseason and comes out playing like an elite quarterback do the Bears have a shot of cracking the 7-win total mark. If there's one NFL bet that practically leaps off the page it's the Bears To Not Make The Playoffs at -1000. They are amongst the runaway favorites and that's telling.
So with that in mind, we make some NOT so bold predictions for the Chicago Bears for the 2015-2016 season.
1. Chicago Open Season Against Green Bay
Right out of the gates, the Bears are set to face their stiffest challenge: Green Bay. Early season lines are currently available on the game with the Bears matched as the 5.0-point home underdogs and the total trading at 50, with the OVER highly fancied at -225 NFL odds. It would be a huge achievement by the Bears to keep this game close and cover the 5-point spread, if last season were any indication. However, it's a long shot NFL pick. The smart bet here is to take the 5-point spread with the Packers to cover at -110 NFL odds. The spread is sure to get bigger before the season gets underway, so get in on the action while you can.
2. Regular Season Points Scored
The lack of defense has been a main talking point where the Bears are concerned over the last few seasons. However, the stuttering offense must also take some responsibility particularly last year as the Bears were outscored by 319 to 442 (123 points in total). Over the last five years, the Bears have scored (descending order 2014-2010): 319, 445, 375, 353 and 334, which yields and average of 365.2 over this span. Odds makers have rolled out regular season totals of: UNDER 321 at +170, 321-370 Inclusive at +175 and OVER 370 at +180. We expect the Bears to improve slightly on both sides of the ball, but not so much that they'd put up eye-popping stats. So our choice NFL pick here is to back the Bears to score between 321-370 at +175 NFL odds.
3. Matt Forte To Push Envelope in Rushing Race
Matt Forte has rushed over 1,000 yards for three seasons in a row. He's well poised to do so for a fourth straight season in John Fox's run-first approach offense. What's more, he's entering the final year of his contract and that could inspire him to post some heady numbers in anticipation of a better deal at the end of 2015-2016 season. Matt Forte is a dark horse on the NFL odds board at +1600 at Bet365 to win the Rushing Race, behind favorite Adrian Peterson (+500), Marshawn Lynch (+600) and DeMarco Murray (+650). It's more likely that one of the above triplet will win this category, which is what makes an NFL pick on Matt Forte bold. If you so dare.