Packers (0-0) at Bears (0-0)
Spread: Bears -1
Weather: Light winds
The line for this game has been all over the road, with a peak of Bears -3 down to its current mark of Bears -1.
The total for this game has been similarly all over the road. The total opened at 43.5 points while fluctuating up to 44 and dipping as low as 41 over the next few days. Overall, the peak has been 44.5 points, and it’s steadily slid down to its current mark of 42.
Bears Offense vs. Packers Defense
Every team’s offense ultimately boils down to their quarterback play, but this is a big year for Justin Fields. Last season, Fields finished second all-time in single-season rushing yards for a quarterback. Going forward, we have to treat Fields as a Lamar Jackson-level runner.
This offseason, the Chicago Bears went out of their way to provide Fields with more support in the passing game. They upgraded the offensive line. They traded for a true No. 1 receiver in D.J. Moore. Not only is Moore a major upgrade, but his presence also puts Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool in roles they are better suited for. Chicago went out of their way to improve Fields’ supporting cast, so we can reasonably expect they’ll throw more early this season.
Now, in this particular matchup, the Green Bay Packers have a quality pass defense, but they allowed the seventh-most rushing yards to running backs last season. We expect Khalil Herbert to open the year as the Bears’ primary runner. His 49.5 rushing yards line is very beatable in this matchup.
Packers Offense vs. Bears Defense
With Jordan Love at the helm, Green Bay’s passing attack will look much different this year. Love is a former first-round pick who has thrown 83 NFL passes over his three-year career. Who he’ll be as a starting quarterback is still very much in flux.
Christian Watson, the Packers’ top wide receiver, will miss this contest due to injury. Green Bay’s second-most reliable receiver, Romeo Doubs, is still listed as questionable as of this writing. If both players miss, Love will have rookies and replacement-level players to target at both wide receiver and tight end. Rookie wide receiver Jayden Reed and rookie tight end Luke Musgrave will be Love’s top options if Doubs sits.
Based on these injuries, along with the Bears allowing the fourth-most rushing yards to running backs last season, Green Bay’s offense likely runs through their running backs. Aaron Jones is a fluid athlete who’s a threat in the passing game, while A.J. Dillon is more of an old-school power runner. Both backs are in a plus matchup in this contest.
What You’re Betting On
The Packers’ depleted wide receiver group gives the Bears a significant advantage in this contest. Chicago has one of the weaker pass rushes in the league, and now Green Bay has fewer tools to exploit the Bears through the air. The Bears’ offense has more ceiling than the Packers when both teams are at full strength. In a nutshell, Chicago has more paths to victory in this contest as long as their offense can at least meet expectations.
If you’re betting on the Packers, you’re building that stance around two-core concepts. The first is that Love plays an efficient game while Green Bay successfully leans on its running back duo. The second is that the Packers’ defense plays to their capability against a talented but volatile Bears offense. The injuries to Watson and Doubs reduce Love’s ability to shred Chicago through the air. Before those injuries, we would have treated this as a coin-flip game between division rivals. Now, Green Bay has a narrower path to victory.
Score Prediction: Bears 23, Packers 20
Ryan’s Recent Betting Record
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 48-32
Props 2022: 60-40
Ryan Reynolds is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2014. Ryan has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow Ryan @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.