The Chicago Bears have been an afterthought for several weeks now as they look to next season and beyond. The one positive that has come out of this season is that they appear to have their quarterback of the future in Mitch Trubisky. He still needs to do a lot of developing but he has acquitted himself nicely in his 8 starts this season. The Bears currently sit at 3-9 and are buried deep in the NFC North cellar. Their 5-6-1 ATS mark hasn’t been profitable but Under bettors that have been wagering on Bears’ games have gone 8-4 so far. A weak offense and a pretty decent defense will do that. Speaking of defenses, Chicago held San Francisco to 0-5 in the red zone last week and 0-2 in goal to go opportunities.
The Cincinnati Bengals are in a very tough spot going into this game. At 5-7, the Bengals’ playoff hopes are on life support. A win might keep them breathing for another week but a loss here would surely be the end. They are coming off a demoralizing collapse against the Steelers in a game that was downright nasty. Not only did they blow a 17-point lead, they also racked up a whopping 173 yards in penalties on top of losing a couple key players to injury. The good news for Bengals backers is that they have covered their last 4 straight and 7 of their last 10. They’ve also done well against teams with losing records and Chicago definitely fits that billing.
Bears at Bengals
Spread: Chicago Bears +6 (-110), Cincinnati Bengals -6 (-110) at 5Dimes Sportsbook Moneyline: Chicago Bears +225, Cincinnati Bengals -265 Total: Over 37.5 (-110), Under 37.5 (-110)
The Chicago Bears continue to pay a little more attention to running the football. Trubisky threw just 15 passes in Week 13 and he completed 12 of them for 102 yards and a touchdown. Trubisky has exceeded 200 passing yards just once this year and has just 5 touchdowns. The good news is that he has been relatively smart with the ball and has thrown just 4 picks. Still, the Bears gain a league-low 160.2 passing yards per game at a rate of 6.4 yards per completion. The Bengals have averaged 210 passing yards against per game and 6.5 yards per completion so we shouldn’t expect the Bears to light it up through the air in this one. Rather, we can look for them to run the ball. They pick up about 115.5 rushing yards per game at 4.3 yards per carry. Cincinnati gives up the 5th-most rushing yards per game and 4 yards per carry. This is a good spot for Jordan Howard to add to his stats after a couple of disappointing outings.
M. Sanchez (Illness), B. Callahan (Knee), D. Houston-Carson (Ankle), A. Amos (Hamstring), D. Bush (Ankle), P. McPhee (Shoulder), and K. Long (Shoulder) are all listed as day-to-day.
These guys should be hungry and out for blood after last week’s performance. Andy Dalton did his best completing 21 of 36 passes for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Not surprisingly, both TD passes went to A.J. Green who hauled in 7 of his 16 targets for 77 yards. Brandon LaFell also topped the 50-yard mark by catching 4 of his 7 targets for 55 yards. With the exception of beating up on the Browns twice over their last 10 games, the Bengals have not been piling up points despite playing some very suspect defenses.
The Bengals’ running game had success in a limited role last week. Giovanni Bernard had 13 carries for 77 yards while Joe Mixon collected 34 yards on his 7 touches while also catching an 8-yard pass. Chicago is allowing 112 yards per game on the ground at a clip of 3.9 yards per carry. This makes for a pretty good matchup. Andy Dalton will need to step it up a notch if the Bengals are to come out of this one with a win. Cincinnati gains just 200 passing yards per game but the 7.2 yards per completion is respectable. They certainly have big play capability. With the Bears allowing 221 passing yards per game and 7.2 yards per completion, look for the Bengals to pay more attention to the passing game.
V. Rey (Hamstring), S. Williams (Hamstring), and N. Vigil (Ankle) are out while D. Dennard (Knee), A. Jones (Groin), and J. Mixon (Concussion) are listed as day-to-day. Backup quarterback J. Driskel is questionable.
Bears at Bengals Betting Lines
This one opened up with Cincinnati being a -283 moneyline favorite giving 6.5 points. The moneyline had dropped nearly 20 cents with early money coming in on the dog while the spread is now 6. It is actually down to 5.5 at a few sportsbooks where more Chicago money has come in.
The opening total of 39.5 has come down with early money on the Under. It is now hanging anywhere between 37.5 and 38 at most books with even juice on both sides. Both teams have been less than strong when it comes to putting up points. Chicago’s offense will struggle to eclipse the 20-point plateau while the Bengals should reach that mark. With the Bengals in a foul mood and playing for their playoff lives in front of a home crowd, I expect them to get the job done despite Chicago’s best efforts to deliver the knockout blow.
My Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -6 (-110) Total: Under 39.5 (-110)