Week 1 NFL Picks: Side With Rodgers & Packers ATS vs. Bears' Weak Offering

Nikki Adams

Sunday, September 6, 2015 6:31 PM GMT

An NFC North rivalry is on the books for week 1 NFL betting when the Packers descend on Soldier Field. Find out what NFL odds are trading and where the value NFL picks are.

Packers Look To Begin Strong
Four-time NFC North champions, the Green Bay Packers are looking towards a fifth straight divisional title in 2016. However, that’s not going to satisfy their full potential. Ranked amongst the best of the NFC class, the Packers are serious contenders for the NFC Championship title, if not the Super Bowl. As it is, they are the second favorites to win the NFC title at +350 behind the Seattle Seahawks at +225. On the Super Bowl 50 odds board they are matched at +650 NFL odds; once again, the second overall favorites but of the entire 32-team field.

If the preseason’s injury bug were a concern, it doesn’t come through in NFL betting markets. Despite losing Jordy Nelson and having Randall Cobb go down with a shoulder injury, the Packers are holding firm. That’s down to the undeniable quality of their shot caller Aaron Rodgers, who was last season’s MVP. As well, the team as a whole which is solid on both sides of the ball and has plenty of depth (not to mention time in the season) to adjust to these key injuries.

 

Bears Rebuilding Under John Fox
The Chicago Bears are rebuilding under new head coach John Fox and his staff and it remains to be seen how the experiment unfolds. It’s certainly not going to be a walk in the park with the inconsistent Jay Cutler calling the shots and a defense that had more holes than Swiss cheese last season and finished 28th in defensive DVOA standings.

John Fox, offensive coordinator Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio have their work cut out for them, despite a positive 3-1 SU record in the preseason. The performance belies the record and many questions were left unanswered. Then there is the small thing regarding the dreadful record Jay Cutler personally holds against the Packers as well as the Chicago Bears.

Overall, the Bears are 1-9 SU against the Packers in their last ten games and 1-8 ATS in their last nine games with the Packers. So lopsided were the last two meetings between these two sides, Bears fans probably would much rather forget but we have to bring them up: a 38-17 loss at Soldier Field on September 28, with the Packers coming through as the nominal 2-point road underdogs and the total going OVER 51. Then – the utter decimation of the Bears – in a 55-14 loss on November 9 at Lambeau, with the Packers easily covering as the staggering 9-point home faves and singlehandedly cracking the 53-point total.

Indeed, after the deflating loss to the Packers at Lambeau, the Bears won only two of their last seven games – a run of poor form highlighted by a five-game losing streak to close the season, which inevitably prompted all the wholesale changes.

 

NFL Betting Tips and Picks:
The Packers enter the game as the significant road favorites on the NFL odds board. They are matched as the 6.5-point road chalk and the total is skirting the 50-point mark.

Nobody that’s followed this particular NFC North rivalry can pretend to be surprised about the way odds makers are casting it. Granted they have a new coach in John Fox, but he essentially inherits the same team that finished an abysmal 5-12 SU last season, which included a pitiful 2-6 SU record down to wins over the Vikings and hapless Bucs. In fact, the Bears opened the season with a three-game losing streak at home. Their first home win was long overdue in week 11 NFL betting. Packers outscored the Bears last season 93-31. Maybe the Bears improve a bit, but not by much. Surely a 62-point differential is too big a gap to close in just seven months.

 

NFL Picks: Packers -6.5 (-107) at Heritage