Chicago Bears (2-2) at Minnesota Vikings (3-1)
Opening Spread: Vikings -7
Opening Game Total: 43
Opening Team Totals: Vikings (25), Bears (18)
The Line Report
- This line opened as Vikings -7.
- This line moved to Vikings -7.5 as of Thursday evening.
- DraftKings Pick’Em has the Vikings -7.5.
- Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Vikings -7.5.
- This total opened between 42.5 and 43.
- This total has settled at 42.5 as of Thursday evening.
Vikings: IR: S Lewis Cine; Questionable: Edge Za’Darius Smith, CB Cameron Dantzler Sr.
Bears: IR: OG Cody Whitehair; Questionable: RB David Montgomery, DT Justin Jones, CB Jaylon Johnson
The Vikings Offense vs. Bears Defense
Minnesota has a solid offensive line while the Bears have a slightly below-average front. Since the Vikings are at home, Minnesota has a mild advantage in the trenches in this matchup.
- The Vikings are 1-3 against the spread this season.
- The Vikings are 2-2 on overs this season.
- The Vikings are scoring 21.5 points per game, good for 15th in the league.
- Minnesota is 12th in the league in yards passing per game and 22nd in yards rushing.
- Per TruMedia, Dalvin Cook is 12th in the league in yards rushing (279) with an 8.8% target share.
- Justin Jefferson is sixth in the league in targets (42), receptions (28), and yards receiving (393), and he’s fourth in end zone targets (6). Jefferson has a 28.4% target share and a 36.5% air yards share. Jefferson has played 167 snaps on the perimeter and 72 snaps in the slot.
- The Bears have allowed 19.3 points per game, which is 12th in the league.
- Per The Edge, Chicago has allowed the third-most yards rushing and the 19th-most yards receiving to running backs.
- The Bears have allowed the third-fewest yards receiving on the fewest receptions to wide receivers this season.
- Keep in mind that Chicago has played San Francisco in a monsoon on opening day, Green Bay’s limited wide receiver corps, Houston, and the Giants’ band of replacement-level wide receivers. Minnesota’s wide receivers are Chicago’s biggest test to date, by far.
- Chicago has yielded the eighth-fewest yards receiving on the sixth-fewest receptions to tight ends.
The Bears Offense vs. Vikings Defense
I attended Giants vs. Bears last week, so I got to see Chicago’s offensive line in person. Justin Fields had to evade immediate pressure on a consistent basis, particularly from the interior. I wasn’t charting the game, but if he wasn’t able to set his feet once in that contest it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Chicago’s offensive line has been good in the run game, but it is a liability in pass protection. The Vikings’ front has an edge on Chicago in the passing game.
Something that I’ll be on the lookout for this week is that the Giants manufactured a number of completions for Daniel Jones against Chicago by moving him outside the pocket. Since the Bears saw that firsthand, and have many of the same problems that the Giants do on offense, it would be borderline malpractice for them to not try something similar with Justin Fields this week. If the Bears take a step forward on offense this week, I expect this to be a considerable part of that.
- The Bears are 1-2-1 against the spread this season.
- The Bears are 1-3 on overs this season.
- The Bears are scoring 16 points per game, which is 31st in the league.
- Chicago is last in the league in yards passing per game and third in yards rushing.
- Per TruMedia, Khalil Herbert is eighth in the league in yards rushing (317) while injured teammate David Montgomery is 32nd (159). Herbert is tied for fifth in the league in red zone carries with 13.
- To illustrate the direness of the Bears passing attack, Darnell Mooney is the only player on the team to have breached 100 yards receiving on the season. His 121 yards receiving mark is 91st in the league.
- The Vikings have allowed 20 points per game, which is 13th in the league.
- Per The Edge, Minnesota has allowed the 12th-most yards rushing and the 12th-most yards receiving to running backs this year.
- The Vikings have surrendered the eighth-most yards receiving on the 11th-most receptions to wide receivers this season.
- Minnesota has given up the tenth-most yards receiving on the 15th-most receptions to tight ends this season.
This Is What You’re Betting on in Vikings vs. Bears
A bet on the Vikings is a bet on a 3-1 team that has underwhelmed in a lot of ways so far this season. If the good version of Kirk Cousins shows up in this contest, Minnesota’s offense has a pretty high ceiling. I’d argue that good Kirk Cousins has not made an appearance yet this season. Minnesota has one of the better skill groups in the league, but they haven’t really met expectations yet, either. The Vikings entered the season with a new head coach in Kevin O’Connell, so there is a realistic path to all of those things improving in the near future. My favorite aspect of a Vikings bet is their pass rush could give a struggling Bears’ offensive line real problems. A bet on Minnesota is a direct bet against the Bears’ league-worst passing attack.
A bet on the Bears is a bet on a non-functioning offense. If Chicago can’t run the ball effectively, they are in a lot of trouble as their offensive line is a liability in pass protection. Chicago also has one of the thinnest groups of pass-catchers in the league. It’s hard to evaluate Justin Fields as a passer because of his supporting cast. A bet on the Bears is a bet on all of those problems getting fixed in time for Sunday. The most realistic path to a Bears cover is that their defense continues to overachieve against a Kirk Cousins-led offense. If that pairs with an effective Chicago running game, while Fields is moved around in an effort to manufacture some completions, that’s your path to a Bears cover in Minnesota.
Awards Market Ramifications: Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell is a Coach of the Year candidate. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson is an Offensive Player of the Year contender.
Winner/ Confidence Pool: I will be taking the Vikings in winner pools. I expect to have Minnesota ranked ahead of Jacksonville in confidence pools.
Spread Pool: After seeing the Bears’ passing attack in person last week, I cannot take the Bears in their present state. There are a number of paths to the Vikings winning decisively in this contest, but I’m not in love with the idea of taking them with the half-point hook against a division rival.
Survivor Pool: There are a number of strong survivor options this week. I’d rank Minnesota fourth among those. I have enough active pools remaining that I will likely take the Vikings in one of them.
Ryan’s recent betting record:
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 14-6
Props 2022: 13-7